The year was 2006 and I’d just read multiple books and articles about the detrimental effects sugar has on our body. I decided I was cutting it out of my diet, cold turkey. My biggest fear was the coffee. At that time I drank my coffee with copious amounts of CoffeeMate French Vanilla creamer (I was still another year away from really learning about nutrition, thus didn’t know how terrible that stuff is for me even beyond the sugar) and drinking coffee without it sounded awful.
I was a determined gal, though, and once I decide I’m going to do something, I usually do it. So one day, I threw out the creamer and didn’t look back. Tim and I both switched to black coffee, cold turkey, and now I can’t even imagine drinking such a sweet drink first thing in the morning. Black coffee tastes delicious to me now. It’s one of my favorite flavors in the world.
But. I know that many of you want and need ways to sweeten your coffee without sugar. I’ve talked to a few friends who are doing the Cut the Sugar Challenge for January and they say this is their biggest struggle. They want to enjoy their sweetened cup of coffee in the morning! So even though I personally prefer black coffee, I went to work experimenting with how to sweeten coffee without sugar.
I’m going to be straight with you. None of these ideas will replicate your favorite cup of sweetened coffee. If you are committed to cutting sugar from your life, though, these are some great ways to sweeten your coffee without sugar.
1. Add cinnamon to your coffee grounds.
Before you brew your coffee, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon for every 4 tablespoons of coffee grounds. This is essentially going to give you unsweetened flavored coffee, but it tastes incredible and may be just the touch you need to ditch the sugar.
2. Use stevia.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the stevia plant. It is 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar, so you only need a small amount to sweeten a cup of coffee. You just need to be careful what kind of stevia you are buying. Some stevia products are highly processed. Look for a kind that is made with 100% pure stevia extract and nothing else. I recommend this kind. The great thing about stevia is that it has 0 calories and a low glycemic index. A con is that it can have a bitter taste. I can handle it in small amounts, though, and sometimes use it to sweeten my green tea.
3. Use xylitol.
I love Xylitol. It’s a natural sweetener that is derived from either birch trees or corn stalks, depending which brand you buy. It’s got 1/3 the calories of sugar and has a low glycemic index. You can use it 1-for-1 in substitution for regular sugar. This is the kind of Xylitol I use and it’s made from non-GMO corn stalks. The downside is that it’s more expensive than sugar and not as easy to find. This is why I don’t publish too many recipes with it. I used it recently to sweeten a cup of hot cocoa for Meghan and she loved it. If you are hooked on a very sweet cup of coffee, this might be your best bet. Please know that xylitol is toxic for dogs and use caution if you use this and have a furry friend at your house.
4. Add coconut cream.
When I was experimenting with ideas for this post, I added some coconut cream to my cinnamon spiked coffee and it was heavenly. No other sweetener was needed for my taste buds. The coconut cream (from a can of full-fat coconut milk) added a touch of sweetness, coupled with the cinnamon flavor made a fantastic drink. Add a touch of stevia or xylitol to this combination if you want more sweetness.
5. Use dates.
Dates are one of my favorite natural sweeteners. I use them to make this Vegan Hot Fudge and it rivals any sugar-sweetened fudge sauce. You can use date paste to sweeten your coffee, too! To make a date paste, cover about 2 cups of pitted dates with water. Allow them to soak for an hour, then drain the dates and reserve the soaking liquid. Blend the dates and add in some soaking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a smooth paste. You can stir this into your coffee for a sweet cup that also has extra fiber, iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B-6!
I know that coffee can be a major roadblock for many people who would otherwise be able to go sugar-free. I hope if that’s you, these ideas will help you cut the sugar and still enjoy your morning cup of jo!
How do you sweeten your coffee? If you have more ideas or something that’s worked great for you, please share them in the comments!