How do you use simple syrup in coffee?

What is simple syrup?

Simple syrup is a liquid sweetener made from equal parts sugar and water. It is an easy way to sweeten beverages like coffee, cocktails, and more. Simple syrup is made by combining 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. The mixture is heated over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar fully dissolves. Once cooled, the syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

The thickness and sweetness of simple syrup can be customized to taste by using different sugar to water ratios. For example, a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water will produce a thicker, sweeter syrup. Simple syrup is clear in color and adds sweetness without altering the color or flavor of the beverage.

Why use simple syrup in coffee?

There are a few reasons why simple syrup is commonly used to sweeten coffee drinks:

It dissolves easily: Granulated sugar can be difficult to dissolve fully when stirred into hot coffee. The hot liquid causes the sugar to clump up. Simple syrup eliminates this issue since the sugar is already dissolved into the water. Just a splash of simple syrup blends right into the coffee.

Customizable sweetness: With simple syrup, it’s easy to control the exact amount of sweetness in each cup of coffee. Add a little syrup for a hint of sweetness or more syrup for an extra sweet treat. Granulated sugar is trickier to portion.

Enhances flavor: The liquid form of simple syrup allows the sweetener to coat the coffee beans more evenly. This helps bring out the natural flavors of the coffee. Granulated sugar doesn’t necessarily enhance the existing coffee flavors.

Convenient: Simple syrup can be easily dispensed from a pump bottle or measuring spoon. It’s quicker than dealing with granulated sugar packets or teaspoons. The syrup can be kept near brewing equipment for fast, convenient use.

Versatile: In addition to coffee, simple syrup has many uses. It’s commonly added to teas, lemonades, cocktails and more. Having simple syrup on hand is an easy way to sweeten a wide variety of beverages.

How much simple syrup should be used in coffee?

The amount of simple syrup added to coffee depends on a few factors:

  • Personal taste preferences – Some people prefer a lightly sweetened coffee while others enjoy an extra sugar boost.
  • Coffee bean type – Darker, richer roasts may need less added sweetness than lighter roasts.
  • Coffee serving size – A regular 8 oz coffee requires less syrup than a 16 oz serving.
  • Other ingredients – Additions like milk, flavored syrups or whipped cream may make the drink sweeter overall.

As a general guideline, a pump or two of simple syrup (about 1-2 teaspoons) is usually sufficient to lightly sweeten an average 8-12 oz coffee. But feel free to tweak the amount to best suit your preferences. Start with just a small amount of syrup first, taste, and add more as desired.

Here are some more specific simple syrup coffee measurements:

  • For a lightly sweetened 12 oz coffee: 1 teaspoon (5ml) simple syrup
  • For a moderately sweetened 16 oz coffee: 2 teaspoons (10ml) simple syrup
  • For an extra sweet 16 oz iced coffee: 1 tablespoon (15ml) simple syrup
  • For a large 20 oz sweet coffee treat: 2-3 tablespoons (30-45ml) simple syrup

When in doubt, add syrup slowly and incrementally until the coffee is as sweet as you enjoy. The great thing about simple syrup is that you can easily add a little more, but you can’t take it out once it’s been stirred in.

What types of coffee drinks use simple syrup?

Simple syrup is used in many popular coffeehouse beverages to provide an extra hint of sweetness. Some coffee drinks commonly made with simple syrup include:

Iced coffee: A splash of simple syrup is an easy way to sweeten up an iced coffee on a hot day. The syrup blends smoothly into cold brewed or chilled coffee.

Lattes: Simple syrup is an ideal sweetener for latte-style milk coffees, adding sweetness that complements the milkiness of the espresso drink.

Flavored coffee: Simple syrup draws out coffee’s flavor notes. Adding both flavored syrups and simple syrup enhances tasted in flavored coffee drinks.

Mochas: The bittersweet combo of coffee and chocolate in mochas is nicely rounded out by a drizzle or pump of simple syrup to balance the flavors.

Macchiatos: Just a touch of simple syrup accentuates the rich intensity of espresso in macchiatos.

Frosted coffee: Simple syrup blended with ice and coffee makes a tasty frosted coffee beverage.

Affogatos: Drizzling simple syrup over affogatos (espresso poured over ice cream) brings together the coffee and sweet cream flavors.

Coffee cocktails: Simple syrup sweetens up after-dinner coffee cocktails like espresso martinis or Irish coffees.

Is simple syrup healthier than other coffee sweeteners?

When comparing common coffee sweeteners, simple syrup made from just sugar and water is healthier than flavor-enhanced syrups or creamers that contain extra ingredients, but it has a similar sugar content to plain granulated sugar. Here’s how it stacks up:

Against sugar: Simple syrup and granulated sugar have the same calorie and carbohydrate content. The difference is just the liquid form of the simple syrup.

Against flavored syrups: Simple syrup has fewer overall ingredients and additives than bottled flavored syrups, which may contain preservatives, natural flavors, salt and thickening agents. So simple syrup would be considered healthier.

Against creamers: Non-dairy powdered creamers and liquid creamers have extra fat, calories, and a range of stabilizers, emulsifiers and thickening agents compared to straight simple syrup.

Against honey or agave: While honey and agave nectar are considered “natural” sweeteners, they actually contain slightly more calories and carbohydrates per teaspoon than basic simple syrup.

Overall, simple syrup made with just sugar and water is a healthier choice compared to highly-processed coffee additives. But it does not have fewer calories, sugar, or carbs than plain granulated sugar. The main health benefits come from using just a small amount of simple syrup to lightly sweeten coffee rather than heavily sweetening it.

What are the best practices for using simple syrup in coffees?

Here are some tips for getting the best results when adding simple syrup to coffee drinks:

  • Stir it in well – Give the coffee a good stir after adding syrup so it fully incorporates.
  • Use small amounts – Start with just a splash of syrup and add more if needed. It’s easy to over-sweeten with too much.
  • Add syrup to hot coffee – Stirring syrup into hot coffee helps it blend smoothly.
  • Sweeten to taste – The needed amount of syrup varies based on coffee type, serving size, and personal preferences.
  • Flavor it – For more flavor depth, use vanilla, caramel, or other flavored syrups along with simple syrup.
  • Store properly – Keep unused syrup covered in the fridge for up to a month.
  • Make it fresh – For best taste, remake simple syrup every 2-4 weeks.

Following these tips will help you get the ideal sweetness level and flavor enhancement when adding simple syrup to your morning coffee or favorite cafe-style coffee drinks.

What types of simple syrup can be used in coffee?

There are a few varieties of simple syrup that work well added to coffee:

Classic simple syrup – The basic 1:1 sugar/water ratio. It has a neutral flavor that sweetens without altering the coffee taste.

Rich simple syrup – A 2:1 ratio with twice as much sugar dissolved into the water. Provides extra sweetness for flavorful coffee drinks.

Vanilla simple syrup – Infusing heated simple syrup with vanilla bean gives it a sweet, aromatic flavor perfect for blending into coffee.

Spiced simple syrup – Cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, and other spices can be steeped in simple syrup for a warm, subtly spiced flavor.

Brown sugar simple syrup – The distinctive molasses note of brown sugar makes a delicious variation for nutty, caramel-y coffee drinks.

Maple simple syrup – Made with reduced maple syrup dissolved in water, this has the familiar maple flavor but thinner consistency better for coffee.

Honey simple syrup – Combining honey with water in a 2:1 ratio makes a simple syrup with the irresistible flavor of honey coming through.

The versatility of infused simple syrups means you can easily change up the flavors in your daily coffee routine. Simple additions like vanilla, maple, or spice simple syrups keep coffee interesting.

What are some recipe ideas using simple syrup in coffee?

Simple syrup is endlessly adaptable in coffee recipes. Here are some tasty ways to put simple syrup to work in homemade coffee drinks:

Iced Vanilla Latte
– Brew strong coffee and chill
– Fill a glass with ice
– Add 1-2 shots espresso
– Pour in chilled coffee
– Top with cold milk
– Drizzle with vanilla simple syrup

Caramel Macchiato
– Make caramel simple syrup from brown sugar and water
– Pull a shot of espresso and pour into a glass
– Top with foamed milk
– Drizzle with caramel simple syrup

Mexican Coffee
– Brew coffee with cinnamon
– Stir in a teaspoon of brown sugar simple syrup
– Top with whipped cream
– Dust with cinnamon

Mocha Frappe
– In a blender, combine strong chilled coffee, milk, chocolate syrup, and simple syrup
– Blend until frothy
– Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings

Spiced Iced Latte
– Make spiced simple syrup with cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon
– Brew espresso shots over ice
– Add spiced simple syrup and milk
– Shake or stir to blend

The options are endless! Simple syrup is an easy way to add customized sweetness to hot, iced, blended, and specialty coffee drinks.

Where can you buy simple syrup for coffee?

Simple syrup is widely available at grocery stores and online:

  • Grocery store aisles – Simple syrup can be found with other cocktail mixers and drink syrups near liquor sections in the baking aisle.
  • Coffee shops – Many cafes sell their homemade simple syrups onsite or bottled to take home.
  • Online – Simple syrup is sold through online retailers like Amazon. Specialty flavors like vanilla or maple can be ordered online.
  • Specialty food stores – Look for simple syrups at gourmet food shops, bakeries, and kitchen supply stores.
  • Farmers markets – Local vendors at farmers markets often sell seasonal fruit, spice, and herb-infused simple syrups.

Major brands like DaVinci, Torani, and Monin make reliable simple syrups. But small-batch artisanal simple syrups offer fun flavor options too. You can also easily make your own simple syrup at home using sugar and water.


Adding a splash of simple syrup is a easy way to make coffee more crave-worthy. The liquid sweetener blends in smoothly, enhances coffee’s natural flavor, and allows you to customize the exact sweetness level. Simple syrup brings out the best in classic coffee drinks like lattes, mochas, and macchiatos. Infusing the syrup with vanilla, spices, or other flavors creates even more options for sweetening coffee creatively. With just granulated sugar, water, and a saucepan, you can quickly make simple syrup at home. Or look for both basic and unique artisanal syrups in stores and online for all your coffee sweetening needs.

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