Roast! West Coast
Coffee Smarter
Sweet and Sweeter.

Sweet and Sweeter.

Coffee Smarter Season 2: Episode 9

Topic: Adding Sugars And Sweeteners
Chris O’Brien, Coffee Cycle Roasting
Title: Founder & Head Roaster
Connect: Coffee Cycle • @coffeecycleroasting


  • All coffees contain bitterness, but that bitterness comes in a range of flavors and intensities.

  • Sugar and/or other sweeteners can be added to coffee to offset the natural bitter tastes.

  • Chris and I are not medical professionals, but sugar is addictive-ish. There are varying levels of medical professional commitment to the term addictive, but according to an unedited manuscript published by the National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine when sugar is ingested our bodies release opioids and dopamine, both of which are our natural internal rewards activated by addictive drugs. Their words, not mine.

The experimental question is whether or not sugar can be a substance of abuse and lead to a natural form of addiction. “Food addiction” seems plausible because brain pathways that evolved to respond to natural rewards are also activated by addictive drugs. Sugar is noteworthy as a substance that releases opioids and dopamine and thus might be expected
to have addictive potential.

From: Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Authored by: Nicole M. Avena, Pedro Rada, and Bartley G. Hoebel

  • It isn’t only straight up sugar that can help create a pleasant mix of bitter and sweet in your cup. Any sweet additive including cinnamon, honey, agave, chocolate, or sugar alternative can be used used as a counterbalance to the bitterness.

  • Coffee has naturally occurring sugars which are likely enhanced in a lighter roast.



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Roast! West Coast
Coffee Smarter
Coffee Smarter is a podcast and newsletter geared towards enabling you to brew a better cup of coffee at home. We ask coffee experts questions ranging from beginner to advanced covering topics involving brewing, drinking, and producing coffee. Learn more about the history, economics, and social impact of coffee. Plus additional advice on products, tips on home roasting, and a hands-on examination of your favorite coffee gear.
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