Cut the Sweetness: Simple Solutions When Coffee Is Too Sweet

You just spent some time making your cup of coffee. You eagerly take a sip, only to be shocked that your coffee is either surprisingly sweet or too sweet you become disgusted by it. 

Do you brew another batch, or can you still save your coffee? What to do when coffee is too sweet?

You can fix an overly sweet cup of coffee by adding some acids, such as citrus juices. You can also add some dairy or ice to mellow the sweetness. If you still prefer hot and black coffee, you can add more black coffee to your cup.

This article explores what you can do when your coffee is too sweet. We first consider why coffee can become too sweet (sometimes not your own fault) and the next steps you can take. 

Why Does Your Coffee Turn Out Sweet?

Your coffee may become too sweet for many reasons. You could have added too much sweetener or the coffee itself has sweeteners added to it already. Some naturally processed coffee may also contain more sugars than usual, which may cause your coffee to taste sweet.

Sometimes, your coffee may turn out much sweeter than you expected, not at your own fault. This is because, aside from adding too much sweetener, your coffee may also be sweetened. 

You Added Too Much Sweetener

This is probably the most straightforward reason. You added too much sweetener, to the point that the coffee becomes too sweet. 

This may happen in some ways. You may be distracted while adding sugars and add one teaspoon too many. You may also be experimenting with replacement sugars such as stevia, and you miscalculated the sweetness. 

The Coffee Itself Has Sweeteners

Do not be surprised by this, but some types of coffee have sugars added to them. This means the coffee already comes to you pre-sweetened. 

This type of coffee may be roasted and made during the holiday season. These beans are first roasted and then soaked in flavored syrup, such as vanilla, allspice, or gingerbread. 

To avoid this, verify on the coffee packaging that they are not flavored and unsweetened. 

The Coffee Is Naturally Processed

There are two major types of coffee processing methods, washed and natural. Washed processing involves the beans being washed and removing their fruits before drying. Natural processing instead dries the beans with the fruits intact. 

Naturally processed coffee may be sweeter, as the beans may have fermented and interacted with the sugars inside the coffee fruit during drying. As a result, even if you made your brew without adding a single drop of sweetener, the coffee may still taste sweet.

Regions that do natural processing include Brazil and Ethiopia. If you dislike sweetness, you may skip coffees from these regions. You could also drink only washed beans.  

What To Do When Coffee Is Too Sweet?

To save your sweet coffee, you can use acids such as citrus juice to remove the sweetness. You can also add milk, and ice to mellow the sweetness, although it may change the coffee’s style. If you still want black and hot coffee, add more black coffee to reduce the sweetness.

Add Some Citrus Juice

You may even hear your grandparents talk about this, that sour goes very well with sweet. This means you can consider adding some acids to your coffee to help balance out the sweetness. 

This does not mean anything acidic will work. Adding a little orange, lemon, or lime juice to the coffee may be a good idea. Stir well, and see if the sweetness has lessened. You may think about using vinegar here, but avoid this since they tend to ruin the coffee instead.  

Add Some Milk

If you do not mind turning your coffee into lattes, flat whites, or a cortado, you can add some milk. The milk may naturally help to mellow down the sweetness of the coffee. 

Milk achieves this in two ways. The first is diluting the sweetness by adding more volume to your coffee. The second is to ‘distract’ your brain by introducing another flavor into your drink, fat.

If you do not have milk, you can also consider other dairy or non-dairy creamers, such as soy milk, creamer, or cream. 

Add Some Ice

This strategy may also work if you do not mind turning your coffee into iced coffee. The strategy is simple, as the ice melts, it gets diluted and will make your coffee less sweet.

By cooling down the temperature of the coffee, you also may reduce the impact of its sweetness. Have you ever noticed how Coke tastes less sweet when served cold than if served at room temperature? It’s the same concept here.

Add Some Black Coffee

Suppose you want to reduce the sweetness yet do not want to make the coffee acidic. You also do not want to add dairy or ice to the coffee. What can you do then?

Perhaps this is the most straightforward answer but add more black coffee. This will work if your coffee has become too sweet because you added too much sweetener. 

However, if the sweetness comes from the beans, you may need to add black coffee from other coffee roasts to reduce the sweetness.

No Salt, Please

You may hear some old sayings that you can neutralize sweetness with some salt. It may work on other food but does not work well with coffee. In many cases, it may be able to reduce sweetness, but your coffee may taste awful overall. 

Final Thoughts

If your coffee is too sweet, there are a few things you can do to adjust the flavor. Adding citrus juice, milk, ice, and even more black coffee can help reduce the sweetness and create a flavor that is more to your liking.

Remember, salt is not an option — it will only make the coffee taste even worse.

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