Coffee – one of the world’s most commonly consumed beverages – comes in many different forms. While some people will opt for a traditional black coffee, or an americano, others prefer more elaborate choices such as lattes or macchiatos. Caffeinated beverages can come hot, cold, or even blended. The possibilities have become endless, and each consumer can personalize their beverage based on their individual preferences. This is thanks to the wide range of milk and milk alternatives, varieties of coffee roasts, and coffee sweeteners available on the market. This article will specifically examine various kinds of natural and artificial sweeteners that can be used in caffeinated beverages, as well as a few pros and cons to each option. Hopefully you will learn something new, and perhaps end up trying a new drink the next time you visit a coffee shop!
Types of Sweeteners
Arguably the most commonly used artificial sweeteners can be categorized into a few basic divisions: syrups and sauces, or creamers and powders. Due to the fact that flavored syrups and sauces are generally found in cafes and restaurants, the average person may be more familiar with powder or creamer sweeteners. That being said, each type of sweetener has its own advantages and disadvantages. No matter what your preference, a sweetener is sure to enhance your coffee drinking experience.
Creamers & Powders
Both creamer and powdered options can be purchased at most grocery stores, and can be a quick and inexpensive way to level up your morning brews. The creamers act as a 2-in-1, adding cream as well as sweetener or flavoring. They do however require refrigeration, which isn’t as convenient for some individuals. Creamers can come in a variety of flavors, such as vanilla, caramel, or chocolate. Many brands also offer milk-alternative creamers (almond, soy, or oat milk) – which are becoming increasingly popular in recent times. Powder packets of sweetener, on the other hand, are also inexpensive and require little space to store. These are often seen as sugar substitutes such as Stevia or Xylitol, however, regular white or brown sugar packets can be used to sweeten coffees just as well.
Syrups & Sauces
These options undoubtedly feel more like the real deal – and can help curb your coffee shop spending. By purchasing your own flavored syrups to use at home, you can make Starbucks-style beverages from the comfort of your own kitchen. Many of these syrups can also be added to a variety of beverages – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Brands like Torani offer hundreds of different flavors, ranging from chocolate or caramel to Irish cream or strawberry. These brands also offer seasonal flavors such as gingerbread or shortbread! As a former barista myself, I have had the opportunity to sample a variety of tastes, and would highly recommend hazelnut, salted caramel, and peppermint as my top three favorites. There are also sauces available – a thicker sweetener that comes in fewer flavors but still makes an excellent addition to hot beverages. Sauces generally come in a few classic flavors such as caramel and chocolate, as well as seasonal selections like peppermint and pumpkin. Torani also offers sugar-free versions of some of their syrups and sauces alike, for those individuals monitoring their calories or sugar intake. However, it is important to note that some of these artificial sweeteners may have a negative impact on one’s overall health.
Sugar Alternatives – How Healthy Are They?
There are many sugar alternatives out there, for those who want to cut back on sugar or have been advised to by their doctors. A few common examples are natural syrups such as agave or maple syrup, honey, or artificial sugars such as Stevia or Xylitol. Professionals suggest that as often as possible, we should use natural sweeteners in our beverages, the healthiest being honey. Honey is a great choice because it has naturally occurring antioxidants, however some people may feel that the taste of their coffee is quite unconventional when honey is used as a sweetener. Agave syrup is another good choice, but is high in fructose (a type of sugar), so it should be avoided by people with naturally high blood sugars. While some alternative sugar substances are said to be worse for your body than naturally occurring sugars, others have some interesting benefits. For example, Xylitol is often recommended to individuals who suffer from dry mouth. This is because Xylitol both inhibits bacterial formation and stimulates salivary production, thereby reducing the risk of cavities. Stevia is also a common choice due to having fewer calories and a lower carb content than conventional sugars. It can also help control blood sugar levels, and research suggests it may positively impact a person’s cholesterol as well. However, research on the long term effects of artificial sweeteners is still limited, so it is recommended that people opt for natural options when possible, or even have their drinks without sweetener all together.
I hope that this article has increased your knowledge of the wide variety of coffee sweeteners available on the market today. It can be an overwhelming experience to see how many diverse options there are, but hopefully, this article has made the decision a bit easier. Ultimately, the best sweetener for you will depend on your budget and flavor preferences, as well as what’s available near you. Whether you prefer the cheapest, most hassle-free option of powdered sweeteners or creamers, or you want to feel as though you’re getting the authentic cafe experience with syrups and sauces, you can rest assured that there are products out there to suit your needs. I encourage each and every person who reads this post to step out of their comfort zones and try new drinks – as it’s all too easy to fall back on the drinks we know that we like. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that simply by trying something different, you just might find your new favorite beverage!