The Weird Science Behind Adding Salt to Your Coffee

Want to amp up your cup of cheap java? Just add salt. No, seriously.

Recently, coffee lovers have become privy to a “hack” that makes cheap coffee more palatable by adding a pinch of salt. But should you actually add salt to your coffee routine? According to a YouTube video on the topic by coffee expert James Hoffman , the answer is “hopefully not, but maybe.” Let’s explain.

Salt is considered one of five basic tastes, along with sour, sweet, bitter and umami. These five tastes can interact, meaning saltiness can amplify sweetness and also mitigate bitterness, according to Hoffmann.If you […]

If you are drinking coffee that is brewed properly and is of a good quality, then you probably don’t need to add salt to your cup.

“One of the pleasures of coffee is that when it’s good, it has the right kind of bitterness, much like beer or chocolate,” Hoffmann says in the video. “Some bitterness is very pleasant when it’s balanced out properly by sweetness and some acidity. Overall, it’s a complex and enjoyable thing.”

But if you find yourself with a bitter cup of coffee, either extracted improperly or created from a cheap ground, then salt might be the solution to making your cup more palatable.

“We should consider salt to be an addition, like milk or cream or sugar,” Hoffmann says. “It might make the drink more palatable, but it will change it. It will obscure the truth of it, in a way.”