How to sweeten coffee with, or without sugar

“Cream and sugar?” It’s a classic question, one that’s surely resounding at this very moment in cafes across the globe. And it’s true—when the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee beckons, countless coffee enthusiasts can’t help but give in to the sugary siren call.

Yet for home baristas, the question of how to make coffee sweet without added sugar can feel like an elusive endeavor.

Whether you’re searching for how to sweeten coffee without sugar as part of your wellness goals, or simply seeking natural alternatives for your daily coffee ritual, join us as we explore nature’s bounty and discover the secret of how to sweeten coffee without sugar.

Natural sweeteners: A healthier path to sweetened coffee

White sugar no longer rules the shelf. There are numerous options that replace natural sugars for the chemical processing of traditional refined sugars.

Here are just a few natural alternatives that make for tasty, healthier coffee sweeteners: 

● Agave syrup – Known for its low glycemic index, agave syrup offers a subtle sweetness without high fructose sugars. Its mild, neutral sweetness beautifully complements any brew, allowing you to indulge in a slightly sweet, all-natural brew.

● Honey – Nature's own golden elixir, honey infuses coffee with a delicate sweetness and hints of floral and fruity notes, making it a great pair with medium or lighter roasts. Consider choosing raw or local honey for a fuller flavor profile.

● Maple syrup – Rich and robust, maple syrup adds a delightful complexity to your coffee. This natural sweetener is a fantastic choice for those seeking a touch of caramel-like sweetness without refined sugar. Just be mindful to choose an organic syrup free of processed sugars, like high fructose corn syrup.

● Stevia – Derived from the stevia plant, this calorie-free sweetener offers intense sweetness with a mere fraction of the calories in sugar. Available in liquid or powdered form, stevia is an option for those aiming to reduce their sugar intake.

● Sugar alcohols – These include sweeteners such as erythritol, sorbitol, and xylitol, to name a few. They are naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables, often with a similar taste and texture to sugar with half the calories.

In addition to these natural sweeteners, consider pairing your coffee with unsweetened plant milks, such as almond or oat milk, further cutting the bitterness and adding a creamy texture.

See related: How to use a coffee maker

Spices and extracts: Bring out your coffee’s sweeter side

One secret on how to sweeten coffee without sugar? Just as a baking recipe sometimes calls for a dash of salt to complement a pastry’s sweetness, contrasting your coffee’s taste with certain natural flavors can bring out its sweeter tones. Here are a few examples:

● Cocoa powder – Elevate your coffee to a luscious mocha delight by adding a sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa powder. Rich in natural antioxidants, cocoa powder imparts a subtly bittersweet note, transforming your morning brew into a sophisticated treat.

● Vanilla extract – A classic addition, a few drops of vanilla extract can infuse your unsweetened coffee with a warm and comforting aroma. Vanilla's smooth and sweet profile creates a harmonious blend, and pairs particularly well with floral plant milks like almond milk.

● Cinnamon – Sprinkling a dash of cinnamon into your unsweetened coffee brings a touch of warmth and depth. This aromatic spice adds complexity and a gentle sweetness, complementing the natural intensity of your medium or dark roasts.

Each natural sweetener carries its own unique flavor profile, and is an excellent example of how to make coffee sweeter without sugar. As a home barista, experiment and find what matches your unique coffee taste.

Unexpected delights: Unconventional coffee sweeteners

If the alternative sweeteners we’ve covered so far aren’t exactly for you, here are a couple of tried-and-true barista tricks that may just become your secret ingredient for how to sweeten coffee without sugar:

● Salt – Just like with baking, a pinch of salt can balance the complex notes in coffee, enhancing its inherent sweetness. Added into the grounds before brewing, or as a salt and water mix straight into the brew, this method smooths the flavor profile in most types of coffee to promote a more rounded flavor.

● Butter – For a rich and creamy cup of coffee, consider adding half a teaspoon of unsalted butter to your coffee. This unconventional method creates a velvety texture and imparts a subtle sweetness, reminiscent of a decadent cafe-style beverage.

These unexpected additions add new dimensions of sweetness to your coffee experience without relying on sugar.

Savor sweet and flavorful brews with Breville

Another way to cut back on sugar in your coffee is to ensure you have the tools to craft a sweeter cup from the ground(s) up. 

Breville coffee gear, such as our Precision Brewer drip coffee machine, empowers you, the home barista, to brew the perfect cup to match your favorite coffee taste. With your choice of brewing baskets built to boost floral, fruity, cocoa, and earthy notes, you have full control over the sweetness and flavor of your cup, every time. 



1. WebMD. What Are Sugar Alcohols?

2. Coffee Affection. How to Sweeten Coffee Without Sugar: 7 Healthy Ideas.

3. Food Insight. What is Agave Syrup?

4. Coffee Affection. Can You Use Honey to Sweeten Your Coffee? The Tasty Answer!

5. Coffee Affection. Maple Syrup in Coffee: A Healthy Sweetener? Recipe & Tips.

6. Food Insight. What is Stevia?

7. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease.

8. Chemical Senses. Suppression of Bitterness by Sodium: Variation Among Bitter Taste Stimuli.

9. Homegrounds. Butter In Coffee? Here’s The Right Way To Do It + A Simple Butter Coffee Recipe.

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