There are many reasons someone might want to make the switch from sweetened to unsweetened coffee. Some of them are health related, some of them are not. How one takes one’s coffee is a very personal matter which should not be subjected to snobbery or judgmental comments. I’m not here to make judgements regarding motivations, but if someone wants to quit sweetening their coffee, I have some tips.
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Increase the fat
Sugar, fat, and salt make things taste good, and it is very hard to decrease all three in the same food. This is why the mass-produced, low-fat snacks of the 90s were either heavily salted or heavily sweetened (often artificially). Your scale of production is smaller, but the same principle can be applied to your cup of coffee—if you’re trying to cut back on sugar (or Splenda) add a little more creamer than you usually would. Like sugar, the extra creaminess will temper bitterness and smooth out harsher flavours.
Switch up your roast
Liking the actual flavour of the coffee itself is an important part of this particular equation. Knowing you prefer the bright citrusy flavour of a lighter roast over the deep, rich flavour of something darker means you won’t have to obscure unwanted tastes with added sweetness. Most coffee shops offer drip coffee in a variety of roasts (blonde, medium, and dark), and most will let you taste them if you ask nicely. Try them black first, so you can actually taste the coffee; you may find a new favourite that doesn’t need many modifications.
Try it cold
If you really don’t like the taste of coffee that much, try dropping the temperature. Cold things are harder to taste, so adding ice can make the often bitter drink more palatable. (Personally, I can drink iced coffee black, no problem. I cannot say the same for hot.)
Cinnamon is not sweet, but it does suggest sweetness due to association. That suggestion can distract your mouth and brain from the decrease in sweetness. You can sprinkle some on top of your morning (or afternoon) drink, our you can add it to your ground coffee to infuse the whole beverage with the spice.
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