Salt in Coffee: Why You Should and Why Others Do It

salt in coffee

We got coconut oil, eggs, butter, and nitrogen in our coffee. Now salt may be the mildest thing we encounter people adding to their coffee besides sugar. Now, don’t go to your favorite Denny’s and pour salt in your coffee. Putting salt in coffee is a deliberate habit with some people and we are here to educate you what these reasons are.

The science

You might be wondering how this works or is it worth trying? Well, let start with some information about your tongue. That’s right, the salt does not do anything for your coffee. However, it tricks your brain to ignore the bitterness. Want to understand how?

You have thousands of tastebuds on your tongue that are responsible for managing the five basic tastes like bitter, sour, sweet, salty, and umami. Every one of these tastes apart from bitter is signaled by similar biological mechanisms and salt is capable of amplifying them.

Bitterness is signaled differently. Your taste buds release a calcium ion to signal that particular taste but salt rather than amplifying this reaction, in fact, overrides it, masking the bitterness.

The beginning

salt and coffee

Adding salt to coffee is not a new trend which may sound surprising. It has been a long and relatively common practice in Hungary, Northern Scandinavia, Siberia, and Turkey. Coastal regions include salt and coffee in the form of brackish water which has been a long-standing practice within the coffee culture of these regions.

The brackish water probably created a foamier, intensified end product. Who knows!

Why add salt in coffee?

Adding salt to a cup of coffee could cut the bitterness of the beverage. Also, it helps to negate any staleness. So, if you’re trying to make sure you are getting most of the grounds this may be the perfect option for you. You can either drink lot of coffee per day, or use salt to preserve your grounds, or throw it away (NO, NO!)

Grounds or brew?

The problem begins on whether you want to taste the salt or not. We’re betting most people would rather prefer not to do so.

Coffee and cooking experts such as Alton Brown, the cookbook author, television host recommends including salt to your grounds before the brewing process.

Proponents of this theory recommend adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt to every 6 tablespoons of grounds.

Adding the salt to the grounds helps to ensure you do not taste the saltiness while still assisting to reduce the bitterness or staleness.

However, you may not be able to add the salt to the grounds because someone else is brewing the coffee for you. Will it still work if you add the salt after the brewing? The answer is yes. The salt will address the bitterness leaving you with the problem of tasting the saltiness in the coffee.

With that said, should you be adding the salt?

Our experience tells us, in the best circumstances… in which you can try adding some salt to your coffee.

Here are as those circumstances:

You’re not a sugar and cream fan but have been served an average Joe :).

Especially when you’re on a plane, the coffee is just crap. And if you’re looking for the caffeine fix but cannot get to a better cup of coffee, why not try it and get that nasty taste out of your mouth. You might add sugar and cream instead, but you have a stronger alternative to remove that nasty taste from your mouth.

Your beans/grounds look too dark or are over-roasted.

Picking the right coffee, or knowing how to make the perfect coffee takes time. You might end up with coffee beans that suitable for your liking.

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Your coffee is going stale

You can be combated stale coffee by adding salt. So, if you are not prepared to toss out the coffee left in your stash adding a bit of salt will prove helpful.

You are a salty individual

If you’re someone that just adores the taste of salt rest assured we’re not going to be anywhere close to you when you do add salt to your coffee. To everyone and their vices. 🙂 Although at 85 Celcius they do offer black coffee with sea salt which is phenomenal.


Our take away

There are many more ways to be sure you are brewing good coffee without the need to add additional sodium to the brew. If you’re looking forward to improving your at-home brew the following tips if borne in mind will help you to improve the quality.

Purchase quality beans. If your coffee beans aren’t good enough, to begin with, the salt will not make it better. For example, If you are using a Robusta blend consider switching to something with a complex flavor profile. Or if the beans are too bitter, try something little mild or fruity.

Only purchase fresh beans. If you cannot go through your coffee bag before it goes bad, purchase a smaller bag because they tend to remain fresher longer. If you want help with the freshness we recommend buying whole beans and grinding them yourself.

Check your equipment. Is your equipment dirty, old, or simply being used incorrectly? Do not use bad equipment if you want to have a good cup of coffee anytime during the day. If you are grinding garlic and using the same grinder for your coffee, chances are, you might taste a little garlic in your coffee.

Check the water. If you’re brewing coffee with water you may as well check to see if your water is the reason why your coffee is tasting bad. See if you need to replace your water filter.

If salt doesn’t help, you got sugar and cream to help you. However, if you prefer black coffee and cannot get over the bitterness of average joe, try the salt trick to and see if both caffeine and sodium intake can help you with your day.

Happy saltiness!