Why Alton Brown Adds Salt To His Coffee

If you're a morning java drinker, you probably have your coffee to cream and sugar ratios down to a caffeinated science. After all, that cup of joe is what fuels your morning, right? Whether you enjoy a light, medium, or dark roasted blend, we're sure you probably haven't tried coffee Alton's way.

According to the Food Network, the famous chef Alton Brown has a unique method for brewing a pot of java that cuts the acidity and gives the warm beverage a smoother taste. A smoother cup of joe may require less sugar and cream, leading to a lower-calorie caffeinated jolt, too. After all, Insider says that black coffee is a good drink for weight loss because it contains five calories per serving. They also say that milk and coffee flavorings can heighten the calorie count of your morning brew.

So why exactly does Brown add salt to his coffee? Brown tells us, "Not only does salt cut the bitterness of coffee, but it also smooths out the 'stale' taste of tank-stored water. I've taken to adding a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt to every six tablespoons of grounds. That isn't really enough to taste, but it'll do the trick." Brown adds, "And by the way, research has proven that salt is actually better at neutralizing bitterness than sugar."

The science behind salt and coffee

According to a study published in Oxford Academic, sodium has a neutralizing effect on bitterness. So, it only makes sense that adding a little salt (sodium) to a pot of coffee would reduce its acrid flavor. The Perfect Daily Grind says that sodium ions bind to the tongue's salty taste receptors that sense bitter flavors. Science proves that when these receptors are stimulated simultaneously, it suppresses bitter taste. Thus, a smoother cup of joe.

Adding salt to a pot of coffee sounds like a great idea, but consider your sodium intake when doing so. The CDC Dietary Guidelines For Americans recommends less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium be consumed each day to maintain a healthy diet. Excess sodium consumption may lead to high blood pressure, which can cause stroke and heart disease, sites the FDA. Fortunately, Brown recommends only a quarter teaspoon of salt per six tablespoons of coffee grounds, which isn't much.

Home Grounds notes that higher-quality coffee isn't as bitter as the lower-end brands, requiring less if any salt addition when brewing. However, if your coffee is acidic and bitter, enjoy your cup of joe sans sugar and cream, Alton Brown style.