Coffee is enjoyed by millions of people around the world every day. Many coffee drinkers like to add a little something extra to their daily cup, whether it’s milk, cream, or sugar. One unique sweetener that some people add to their coffee is maple syrup. But is maple syrup actually a tasty and healthy addition to coffee? There are pros and cons to consider.
The quick answer is that using a small amount of pure maple syrup can be a delicious way to sweeten coffee in moderation. Maple syrup contains minerals like calcium and zinc, which can provide some health benefits. However, it is still a form of added sugar, so it should be used sparingly. Drizzling in a teaspoon or two of maple syrup allows you to cut back on regular white sugar while adding a rich, distinctive flavor. But more than that may overpower the coffee.
The Potential Benefits of Maple Syrup in Coffee
There are a few reasons why adding a bit of maple syrup to your morning coffee could be beneficial:
Maple Syrup Has a Lower Glycemic Index Than Regular Sugar
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food raises your blood sugar levels. Pure maple syrup has a glycemic index of about 54 while regular table sugar has a glycemic index of 65. This means maple syrup impacts blood sugar slightly less drastically than regular refined sugar. For people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, maple syrup may be a better sweetening option when used carefully.
It Provides Some Micronutrients
Maple syrup contains small amounts of minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese. It also has antioxidants called polyphenols. Table sugar contains no vitamins or minerals. So while maple syrup still counts as added sugar, it does add a bit more nutritional value than plain white sugar.
Maple Flavor Can Complement Coffee
The rich, warm flavor of maple goes well with the taste of coffee. Maple syrup can accentuate the intrinsic sweetness in coffee in a more nuanced way than plain sugar. The flavor pairing can be quite pleasant.
You Can Use Less of It
Maple syrup is sweeter than regular sugar, so you typically need less of it to achieve the same level of sweetness. Using maple syrup lets you cut back on sugar without sacrificing taste.
Potential Downsides of Maple Syrup in Coffee
However, there are also some potential cons to consider when adding maple syrup to coffee:
While maple syrup has a lower glycemic index, it is still high in sugar and calories. Maple syrup has about 60 calories and 16 grams of sugar per tablespoon. If you overdo it, the calories and carbs can add up fast. Those with diabetes need to count the carbohydrates.
Can Overpower Coffee Flavor
The strong, distinctive maple taste can overtake the flavor of the coffee if you use more than a small drizzle. Some coffee purists warn that maple syrup risks obscuring the subtle notes in gourmet coffee blends.
Not as Readily Available
Maple syrup might be less convenient than plain sugar packets. You’ll need to have it on hand and measure it out specifically for your coffee rather than just using what’s provided at a cafe or office.
Pure maple syrup tends to cost more than plain white sugar. The expense may not make it practical for everyday use for some consumers.
To get a better sense of the nutritional value of maple syrup compared to white sugar, here is a nutrition facts table contrasting a teaspoon of each:
|Nutrient||Maple syrup (1 tsp)||White sugar (1 tsp)|
As you can see, while maple syrup and white sugar are very close in calories and sugar content, maple syrup does provide trace amounts of important minerals like calcium, potassium and iron that table sugar lacks.
How Much Maple Syrup Should You Use in Coffee?
Moderation is key when adding maple syrup to coffee. Here are some general guidelines on how much to use:
– For a 12 oz coffee, use no more than 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup. This provides subtle sweetness without overpowering flavor.
– In a 16 oz coffee, use around 1 tablespoon maximum.
– For lattes, cappuccinos or other milk-based coffee drinks, use a teaspoon or less since the dairy already adds sweetness.
– For iced coffee, start with 1 teaspoon maple syrup and adjust to taste.
– If you have diabetes or weight loss goals, limit maple syrup to 1 teaspoon or less per cup of coffee.
Maple syrup has a very potent flavor, so a little goes a long way in coffee. You want it to gently enhance the existing notes rather than take over. Too much will make your brew taste artificial.
What Kind of Maple Syrup Should You Use?
Not all maple syrups are created equal when it comes to flavor. The grade of syrup can impact the taste experience:
– **Grade A Light or Amber:** This is the most common grocery store variety. It has a light color and milder maple flavor that works well in coffee.
– **Grade A Dark or Grade B:** Dark maple syrup has a more pronounced maple flavor. Use sparingly in coffee or it will overpower. Better for baking.
– **Maple sugar:** Dried and granulated maple syrup that dissolves easily in drinks. Easy to use instead of sugar packets.
– **Maple extract:** Concentrated flavor. Use only a drop or two.
– **Artificial syrups:** Contain no real maple. Lack depth of flavor. Best to avoid.
Always check the ingredients and choose real pure maple, not pancake syrup, which is mostly corn syrup with maple flavoring.
Should You Mix Maple Syrup with Other Sweeteners?
Some people enjoy using maple syrup in combination with other sweeteners like sugar or honey to sweeten their coffee. Here are the pros and cons of mixing maple and other sugars:
– Allows you to use less of each sweetener for fewer calories/carbs
– Achieves a more complex sweetness profile
– Balances maple flavor with other notes
– Defeats purpose of using maple for its nutrients
– Makes the sweetness less controlled
– Risks clashing flavors
In general, it’s best to stick to just maple syrup or just regular sugar in a given cup of coffee for optimal flavor. But if experimenting with a blend, use a 1:1 ratio of maple syrup to your other sweetener of choice.
How to Add Maple Syrup to Your Coffee
If you want to give maple syrup coffee a try, here are some tips for incorporating it:
– For hot coffee, add room temperature or warmed maple syrup to prevent cooling.
– Stir maple syrup in thoroughly before drinking to distribute flavor.
– For iced coffee, syrup blends in easily – simply drizzle and stir.
– To make maple simple syrup, heat equal parts maple syrup and water until dissolved.
– Use maple syrup to sweeten coffee creamers or milk before adding to coffee.
– Try substituting maple syrup for vanilla or other syrups in coffee flavor recipes.
– Use maple syrup to enhance seasonal coffee drinks like pumpkin spice latte or egg nog latte.
– Opt for maple doughnut or pastry flavors to complement maple coffee.
– For lattes, ask your barista to add a touch of maple syrup or maple extract.
Be creative and have fun coming up with your own signature maple coffee drinks!
Which Coffees Go Best with Maple Syrup?
The maple flavor pairs best with certain coffee styles. Consider using maple syrup in:
– Nutty coffees like Brazilian or Colombian
– Earthy Medium roasts
– Rich French roast or Espresso
– Coffee with chocolate or caramel notes
– Spiced coffees such as pecan, hazelnut or cinnamon
– Vanilla, almond or coconut flavored beans
– Bold dark roasts like Italian or Turkish coffee
– Mild breakfast blends and roasts
Maple tends to overpower light, fruity coffees like Ethiopian. The intensity of maple is best matched with coffees that have robust flavor profiles of their own.
Recipes for Maple Coffee Drinks
Once you have the basics down, try out these delicious coffee recipes featuring maple syrup:
– 1 shot espresso
– 3/4 cup steamed milk
– 1-2 tsp maple syrup
Combine hot espresso and maple syrup in mug. Add steamed milk and stir. Dust with cinnamon or nutmeg.
Iced Maple Mocha
– 1 shot espresso, chilled
– 1/4 cup cold milk
– 2 tsp cocoa powder
– 1 tsp maple syrup
Mix together espresso, milk and cocoa powder until smooth. Sweeten with maple syrup. Pour over ice.
Maple Caramel Macchiato
– 1 shot espresso
– 1/4 cup foamed milk
– 1 tbsp caramel sauce
– 1 tsp maple syrup
Make caramel sauce by simmering maple syrup and cream. Pour espresso over maple syrup in glass, then spoon foam and drizzle caramel.
Pumpkin Maple Latte
– 1 shot espresso
– 1/4 cup steamed milk
– 3 tbsp pumpkin puree
– 1 tsp maple syrup
Combine hot espresso and pumpkin. Sweeten with maple syrup. Top with steamed milk.
Maple Mocha Frappe
– 1 cup cold brew concentrate
– 1/4 cup milk
– 2 tbsp chocolate sauce
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
Blend together coffee concentrate, chocolate sauce and maple syrup with ice until smooth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about sweetening coffee with maple syrup:
Is maple syrup Keto friendly?
Pure maple syrup can be enjoyed in moderation on a Keto diet. Compared to regular sugar, it has about half the amount of net carbs per teaspoon. Just account for the carbs when tracking your daily intake.
Is maple syrup healthier than regular sugar?
Maple syrup is very slightly healthier given its trace minerals and antioxidants. But both should be consumed sparingly due to their high sugar content.
Does maple syrup have caffeine?
No, maple syrup does not contain any caffeine. The caffeine in your coffee will come solely from the beans themselves.
Is maple syrup coffee gluten free?
Yes, pure maple syrup on its own is naturally gluten free. As long as your coffee beans and brewing method are gluten-free, maple syrup may be safely added.
Does maple syrup dissolve in hot coffee?
Yes, maple syrup readily dissolves and blends smoothly into hot coffee once stirred. For iced coffee, use simple syrup to help it incorporate.
Is maple syrup better for you than honey in coffee?
Maple syrup and honey have similar nutrition profiles. Maple syrup has a slightly lower glycemic index, making it theoretically a better choice for diabetes management. But both should be used sparingly.
The Bottom Line
Drizzling a small amount of pure maple syrup into your morning coffee can add flavor, sweetness, and a touch of nutrients. However, moderation is key given the high sugar and calorie content. Limit maple syrup to 1-2 teaspoons per cup of coffee. Be mindful of the carb count if you have diabetes. While maple syrup does contain some minerals and antioxidants, it should not be treated as a health food. Both maple syrup and regular refined sugar should be enjoyed carefully as part of an overall balanced diet. Adding a dash of maple to your coffee can be a tasty indulgence, but don’t overdo the pour.