Is there such as thing as naturally sweet coffee?
Hmmm...tempting to grind the beans and the chocolate together!
I’m on a diet and am struggling with my coffee. I always add some sugar to my coffee – but that’s not part of the diet! And I just don’t like the taste without sugar. Is there such a thing as naturally sweet coffee? I’m not talking about adding a naturally sweetener, I’m just wondering if some types of coffee are sweeter than others.
I’d appreciate your help.
Great question, but a tough one to answer!
First off – no choice of beans or roasting tweaks will ever fully replace a spoonful of sugar. So you are going to have to make an adjustment there. As you alluded to, maybe you can try a natural, sugar-free sweetener, like stevia.
As for whether some coffee beans are naturally sweeter, I can’t find a definitive answer to that. If you go through what top roasters say about this, the opinions are conflicting.
But I think it is safe to say that pretty much all coffee beans, in their green state, regardless of where in the world they come from, start out with pretty much the same amount of sugar, in the form of sucrose.
However, the sense of sweetness you feel in your mouth can be impacted significantly by the way in which the beans are roasted.
With a light to medium roast you get a fruity sweetness. Maybe citrus, maybe berry, and so on. It’s a light and bright sweetness.
Once you get up into darker roasts, a lot of the simple sugars in the bean break down and become caramelized. This is where you get that fuller, caramel and chocolaty sweetness.
Go too dark, beyond the “second crack” in roasting, and that sweetness is replaced by a more ashy taste. The bean it literally turning to ash.
For myself, I prefer the chocolaty sweetness of a slightly darker roast, but not too dark. Others prefer the fruity sweetness you get with a lighter roast.
One other thing you can do is try some different roasters.
For example, Intelligensia Coffee has a thing about bringing out the sweetness in their coffees. It’s a cultural thing for the company. So maybe try some of their coffees and see if they suit you.
That’s it. Sorry I don’t have an answer that completely replaces a spoonful of sugar in your coffee!
I’m still working on finding the definitive answer here. As part of my quest I reached out to a friend of mine, Basil Jones of http://www.coffeesolute.com/. Basil is arguably the best and most experienced roaster of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. He knows his stuff.
In his response to my question he raised a factor that I hadn’t even included in my text above: How the processing of the green coffee beans impacts sweetness.
Here is what he says…
“There are three things that contribute to sweetness in coffee.
The first one is the region where the coffee is grown.
Coffees that are harsh or have high astringency like a Kenyan or some Coaster Rican tends to be less sweet while milder coffee like the Guatemalan or the Panama geisha which have a more floral or chocolatey taste tends to be sweeter.
The second thing that contributes to sweetness in how the coffee was processed. By allowing the coffee to ferment, after de-pulping and not washing or semi washing the coffee before drying will also enhance the sweetness. There are different schools of thought, some believe sugars from the mucilage will seep into the beans, other believe that certain chemical change will take place within the beans to make it sweeter. But what is certain is unwashed and ferment coffees are sweeter.
Thirdly to answer your first question, lighter roasted coffee taste sweeter. The darker roast will caramelize the sugars, while the higher acidity will mask the sweetness. It important not to roast your coffee to light because it will taste like cereal.
Finally, to get perfectly sweet cup of Coffee, try a light medium roasted Jamaica Blue Mountain that was fermented and not fully washed.”
Also...check out the comment from Jolly Roger below.