How to sweeten coffee without sugar

The average coffee drinker consumes about 3 cups of coffee every day. If you add one or two teaspoons of sugar to every cup this quickly adds up to 1.5 pounds of sugar per month in coffee alone. Also if you indulge yourself regularly with hot flavored drinks from coffee stores like Starbucks the sugar content increases up to 25 teaspoons of sugar per coffee as research of  Action for Sugar shows. If you care about your health it’s definitively worth to cut back on sugar in your everyday coffee. But how to sweeten coffee without sugar and still get the satisfaction out of a cup? Find out how you can replace sugar in coffee without losing the flavor.

Coconut cream


Coconut cream has a natural sweet taste. You can add it to your coffee to make it creamier and sweeter. In addition to making your coffee sweeter it will also make your coffee taste a little bit like coconut. To make this cup of coffee taste best pay attention which brand of coffee you’re using. The coconut gives a fine sweet taste that goes well with milder, sweeter and nuttier varieties of coffee. Try out what works best for you.

Using coconut cream for more sweetness is a good choice to avoid adding sugar or dairy to your coffee. That way you’re killing two birds at once- you’re going down with your sugar intake as well as with your dairy intake. It’s also an option worth trying for people who are lactose intolerant.

There are two ways you can add coconut cream to your coffee:

  • Add a spoon of whipped coconut cream to your warm coffee
  • Use liquid coconut creamer, like you would use half-and half.

You can even make your own coconut cream in just minutes. Try this recipe for homemade whipped coconut cream or this coconut milk coffee creamer.

A word of caution about excessive coconut use in your diet though. Coconut is extremely high in saturated fat. One tablespoon of coconut cream has 5g of saturated fat. Excessive intake of saturated fats have been linked to higher LDL cholesterol levels and heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of about 13 g of saturated fats in total. That’s why it’s best not to overdo with coconut cream and use it only once or twice a week.

Vanilla essence

vanilla essence for flavoring coffee

The best ways to make your coffee taste sweeter without sugar is adding strong flavors to it. Vanilla is such a flavor that complements the taste and overpowers the bitter note of sugarless coffee. The best option to flavor coffee with vanilla is to use the seeds out of a vanilla bean directly and add it to your coffee. Unfortunately vanilla beans are expensive and if you’re drinking three coffees or more a day this is not really an option.

A good choice is to add vanilla essence instead. Vanilla essence is a mixture of alcohol and vanilla pods that have been left to infuse in the alcohol. You can buy it at stores or make your own vanilla essence if you have the patience to wait for it.


cinnamon with coffee

Cinnamon is another strong flavor you can add to your coffee instead of sugar. It will give a strong taste that will overpower the bitter note of coffee. There are several options how to add cinnamon flavor to your coffee:

  • Add ground cinnamon to a finished cup of coffee and sir it in. This will give you a strong flavor but the cinnamon will not resolve and will be floating on top of the cup. If you don’t mind the visual mess this is a quick option for a lot of flavor. I find this to be the easiest way that gives you the strongest flavor.
  • Add ground cinnamon to your ground coffee beans before filtering. Put about a generous teaspoon of cinnamon to your beans. This method will give you a smooth cup of coffee but a more subtle taste of cinnamon.
  • Put whole cinnamon sticks into your hot coffee and let it infuse for several minutes. This will give you a mild to strong flavor depending on how long you leave the sticks inside. You can use the cinnamon sticks several times for flavor infusions

Nut milk- Almond milk, Hazelnut milk, Coconut milk

Nut milk to sweeten coffee without sugar

Nut milk has a natural sweet flavor so when you add it to coffee it will sweeten it and add a nutty aroma. It will also make you coffee creamier. You could use any nut milk but almond milk is one of the most popular as well as coconut milk, which you should use in moderation because of its high saturated fat content. You could also use hazelnut milk or cashew milk.

Commercial nut milks usually contain added sugar, additives and preservatives. To be sure that your nut milk is free of additives and is made with a fair amount of nuts, it’s best to make your own. It’s very easy and the only thing you need is a blender. Try to make homemade almond milk to get the best tasting coffee.


Cardamon pods

One flavor frequently used in the Middle East to flavor coffee, milk or tea is cardamon. You can buy dried cardamon pods, crush them and put the seed directly into your coffee. If you like a stronger taste crush the seeds a little bit with mortar and pestle and add them crushed to the coffee. Instead of adding sugar to your coffee start by putting one cardamon pod into your coffee, add more if you like the taste.

Another way to flavor coffee with cardamon is to ground the seeds with the coffee beans and make your cup of coffee as usual. This way you’ll get a fine note of cardamon in your coffee that wont overpower the coffee taste. Cardamon is an ancient spice frequently used in the Middle East and India and has been linked to many health benefits. So when adding cardamon to your coffee you’re not only skipping sugar but you’re doing something beneficial for your health as well.

Cocoa powder

Cocoa in coffee

If you’re a chocolate lover try adding unsweetened cocoa powder to your coffee. It will give you a nice chocolate taste. Unsweetened cocoa powder doesn’t really resolve in water and can float on top of your coffee. If you don’t like to have a mess in you cup try adding it this way:

  • If you’re using instant coffee, put the cocoa and the coffee in a mug. Add just two or three drops of hot water. Mix this mixture with a spoon or milk frother until you get a paste. Now add your milk of choice and/or water as you wish. The cocoa will be evenly distributed in the whole coffee giving you a full flavor and won’t only float on top.
  • If you’re making coffee from whole beans just add the cocoa to your beans before grinding them and cook your coffee as usual. If you’re buying already ground beans simply mix the cocoa powder into the coffee powder before using them.
  • Use your blender to make your own mocha frappe without sugar. Check out this recipe for a sugar and dairy free version of an iced mocha.

Butter, yes butter in your coffee

butter coffee

It might seem odd to add a tablespoon of butter to coffee but it will give it a creamy full texture. You can add a teaspoon of coconut oil to the butter to give it a little bit more flavor. Adding butter to your coffee is obviously going to make it high in calories and fat, so this is an option that you shouldn’t drink that often.

Don’t just add the butter and coconut oil on top of your coffee as this will give you an oily pond swimming on top of your coffee. To make this taste right you have to blend the butter. Take one tablespoon of unsalted butter and one teaspoon of coconut oil and blend it in your blender until smooth. You can use a hand blender for this too. Add the coffee and blend it together with the butter mixture. It’s important to use unsalted butter and blend it well to get a smooth full texture that will make you forget that this coffee is sugar-free.


Peppermint for flavoring coffee

Flavoring your coffee with peppermint is another way to make it easier to get rid of excess sugar. Just add a teaspoon of peppermint extract to your brewed coffee. Don’t overdo it with the extract since it contains alcohol. If you want to make your own alcohol free mint extract check out this recipe here. Adding peppermint extract to hot chocolate is a great way to skip the sugar in hot chocolate as well.

I find that combinations of the above flavor suggestions also work really well. Almond milk with vanilla essence or coconut cream with cocoa powder are my favorites. Your imagination is the limit here. Once you start flavoring and sweetening your coffee without sugar you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll get used to the new flavors without really missing the sugar. The goal should be to cut back on sugar in a healthy way.

Photo credit: vanilla extract, DIY Blended coffee – recipes with almond milk, Recipes with almond milk, Cardamon, butter coffee, Benefits of Coconut Milk