Science & Tech

Here's why you should be adding salt to your morning cup of coffee

Here's why you should be adding salt to your morning cup of coffee
TikToker reviews Emma Chamberlain's coffee in a can

People commonly like to add milk, sugar, syrup or cream to their coffee to get their desired taste of sweetness and curb the bitterness - but how about adding a pinch of salt?

This is a new "hack" that is going around on social media and people claim the addition helps to get rid of the bitter flavour of coffee and instead highlights other flavours.

So how does this work? Well, sodium chloride (that chemical name for salt) has a great ability to suppress bitterness, not just in coffee but in different foods too.

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It's why salt is often added to the majority of recipes.

The actual bitterness from the coffee comes from roasting part just before it is brewed, with the compound chlorogenic acid lactones and, in darker roasts, phenylindanes being formed in this process due to chlorogenic acid getting broken down.

Different receptors respond to specific flavours, and there's a salt receptor epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), and bitter taste receptors are part of the TAS2Rs group.

Sweet and bitter compounds were mixed together with salt added as part of research from 1995, where the salt managed to make the mixture taste sweeter and less bitter, while the bitter flavour did not suppress the flavour of salt.

Just exactly how this taste suppression works remains to be a question without full answers, but the salt receptor tastes low levels of sodium chloride, at high concentrations, according to Science Alert.

While salt can also trigger our sour and bitter receptors too as a result of the combination creating a disagreeable taste, and also consuming excessive amounts of salt is harmful too.

Though adding salt to coffee isn't a new phenomenon as countries such as Vietnam do this to enhance the condensed milk for caramel flavoring.

While Swedish Arctic coffee sees salted meat or cheese being added as part of tradition.

So next time if your coffee tastes bitter, it might be worth adding a pinch of salt - though sugar and milk traditionally can also help the bitterness too.

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