Sugar makes life sweeter, but too much of a good thing can turn bad. So what are your options for replacing sugar in your morning coffee when you’ve either had enough or need to look for something healthier? We’ve compiled a list of a couple alternatives:
1. Stevia – An “all natural” alternative, it tends to be overly sweet on first taste and leaves a chemical after taste. Less is really more with this one, use just enough to get a tinge of sweetness.
2. Sucralose – An artificial sweetener, it’s very sweet (600x as strong as sugar) and has the potential for a bad after-taste as well, but is generally more forgiving than Stevia. It’s typically used in sugar-free flavourings like Torani’s Sugar Free Syrups because it’s stable at hot temperatures, perfect for coffee. Following the recommended serving size guarantees sweetness without that chemical taste in all but very sensitive people. Also used in Monin Sugar Free syrups, along with Acesulfame.
3. Erythitol – A natural sweetener, it’s about 70% as sweet as sugar and is rarely ever used on it’s own. Typically, it’s used in conjunction with Stevia to add-back some of the mouth-feel that disappears when using an artificial sweetener.
4. Maple Syrup – Not an artificial sweetener at all, made by distilling maple sap from trees. In Quebec, it’s actually against the law to sell anything as “maple syrup” that isn’t 100% pure maple syrup. Torani has a “Maple Flavoured” syrup that mimics the taste using natural and artificial flavours, but isn’t pure maple syrup. There are a number of health benefits starting to come to light about this delicious sugar, and is actually delicious in coffee.
5. Agave – The same plant that tequila comes from, makes a great sugar. It has its own flavour and nuances that don’t make it ideal for coffee unless that’s the flavour you’re going for and can be overpowering. Delicious to try, but not the most versatile for adding sweetness without imparting its own flavour.
6. Honey – Honey is one of the more popular sugars for sweetening coffee and tea, and with good cause. It’s adds a very unique sweetness that is enjoyable but like the Agave, not the most versatile flavour.
The 7 alternatives listed above are the most popular, but by no means an exhaustive list. Xylitol, Malitol, Acesulfame and any number of other food-grade ingredients add sweetness and have hundreds of studies backing their use in moderate amounts. While anything is better than HFCs, everything has to be enjoyed in moderation and can be just as bad if abused.