Salt in Coffee© Pexels

Why Are People Adding A Pinch Of Salt To Their Coffee?

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

Remember how we told you that people have now started adding olive oil to their coffee? The newest viral hack involving adding stuff to your morning brew is salt.

Yes. The same salt that’s sitting in a shaker on your dining table at the moment is threatening to replace milk and sugar as the go-to coffee additive and it might not be as crazy as you first thought.

The hack of adding a pinch of salt to coffee went viral online after it was suggested that it could do a better job of reducing the bitterness of coffee. It was also suggested that the addition of salt not only reduced the bitterness but brought out other flavours in the coffee that usually get lost in the sweetness of milk and sugar.

But is it really a new hack?

Turns out, this has been around for ages and scientists have already done their research proving that the hack could have merit. Research conducted in 1995 found that when salt was added to a mixture of sweet and bitter compounds, the mixture began tasting more sweet than bitter. Before the bitterness was bred out of eggplants, people used to heavily salt them to make them more palatable.


Salting is also used to reduce the bitterness in Brussels Sprouts. During World War 2, US Navy members learnt the amazing bitterness-reducing properties of salt in coffee because of ineffective desalination equipment onboard.

Not only this but there are many places in the world where salted coffee is preferred. In Vietnam, salty coffee is enhanced with condensed milk, resulting in a caramel-like concoction and in Taiwan, sea salt-blended coffees are common. Swedish Arctic Coffee tradition also calls for the addition of salted meat or cheese to coffee.

Should you try adding salt to your next cup of coffee?

If you’re looking to replace milk and sugar in your coffee, then you can start by adding a pinch of salt and gradually add more depending on your bitterness tolerability. But if you’re trying to control your sodium intake, it’s best to stick with milk and sugar to suppress the bitter flavour.