Do you like to sweeten your cup of coffee? We all know that cutting our sugar intake is a good thing, but if you can’t face drinking your favourite cup without it consider raw honey.
Riath, Balqees founder, makes his coffee drinking moments mindful, “My advice is to use the best organic coffee beans you can find, whether you prefer mocha, cappuccino, flat white or straight black. I recommend using the best organic coffee beans you can get your hands on and grind them fresh to order. Add a touch of sweetness with a nice drop of raw honey. Wait until your coffee has cooled a little to retain the healthy enzymes of the raw honey and give it a good stir to combine. Take time to really concentrate on the flavour of your drink, which will stop you from craving so many cups throughout the day and really recharge your energy levels.”
At Balqees, we all use raw honey in our coffee for sweetness, and this is why:
Raw honey is the only natural sweetener that contains a huge amount of health-promoting benefits. Proceessed table sugar provides empty calories while raw honey delivers vitamins, minerals, enzymes and anti-inflammatory flavanoids which are beneficial to the well-being of your body. If you take a sweetener as an alternative to sugar you are taking a chemical additive (some studies suggest they are neuro-toxic) that doesn’t carry any nutritional value either. A teaspoon of raw honey increases your antioxidant intake naturally while delivering that enjoyable sweetness.
There are so many varieties of amazing raw honey and the combination takes coffee to a whole new level of taste experience. Imagine adding natural hints of flavours like caramel, spice, fruit or nutty undertones, and that’s just a dash of what’s possible. For something really sweet and creamy try white mountain honey from Kyrgyzstan or for rich, smooth caramel tones go for delicious raw Yemeni Sidr, these are perfect to complement the bright, faintly bitter flavour of the coffee. If you think the taste of raw honey doesn’t marry well with coffee, keep exploring. Raw honey, like good quality speciality coffee, is a gourmet taste adventure to find the one that’s right for you.
Both raw honey and caffeine help boost metabolism. This can help to burn calories because fat, an unused resource in the body, can be activated by these ingredients. Raw honey may have a few more calories than sugar (1tsp = 21 calories in honey and 16 calories in sugar) but the way that the energy from raw honey is released into the body takes longer. It doesn’t lead to the cravings that processed sugar can or give you elevated spikes in blood sugar that can make you want to eat more or reach for unhealthy snacks.
Because raw honey is sweeter in taste than sugar, you can use less in your coffee, also reducing calories. Coffee can suppress the appetite too (even decaf), another way to keep the temptation to overeat at bay.
The glucose and fructose in sugar is broken down very easily by the body, leading to a surge of glucose and what isn’t used right away is stored as fat. Raw honey is much more complex and as well as glucose and sucrose in lower quantities, contains about 20 other sugars and other elements which means the body works much harder and expends more energy breaking it down so less glucose is absorbed.
Caffeine in coffee is known to boost energy which is fine if you are reasonably healthy. You may drink coffee to get through a busy day or before heading to the gym. That may work for some but we do need to be careful how much coffee we are consuming and to not become over reliant, ‘wired’ not able to sleep or even addicted. Some people talk of feeling anxious after consuming a lot of coffee. So how do you get the benefits of that coffee hit without the negatives? By sweetening with raw honey you give your body slow-release energy which could mean you are not reaching for another caffeine hit to sustain you. Always go for a high grade coffee so you know you are getting the best nutritional value combined with a raw honey energy boost through the B vitamins it carries.
Raw honey is known to inhibit the microbes that cause infection and studies have shown a raw honey coffee combo can help get rid of certain lingering coughs. One study showed a significant reduction in the amount of coughing in the honey/coffee group and more than the group using prescribed steroid medications. This is because caffeine is a bronchodilator (which stimulates breathing) and is anti-inflammatory. Raw honey contains antibacterial properties and it can help boost your immune system and fight those evil bugs. In order to retain its healing properties raw honey needs to stay below 35c so don’t mix it into a boiling hot cup of coffee, let it cool a little first.
So if you don’t already use raw honey in your coffee, let us know if you try it.
Have you discovered cold brew coffee? It’s not like iced coffee which is cooled after heating but it’s made from cold and takes away any bitterness. Riath, Balqees founder, thinks it gives a luxurious taste. It's simple to make at home.
Mix very coarsely ground single origin Arabica coffee beans and water in a large bowl, jug or mason jar with a 1:8 coffee to water ratio. Place the covered container in the fridge for 16-24 hours. Give it an occasional stir and, once steeped, strain through a fine-mesh sieve or similar to get rid of the grounds.
Add the raw honey and vanilla, blend together well and store in an airtight container until you want to serve it. If you are looking for a super boost add a small amount of ground turmeric and stir well.
Serve at room temperature, poured over ice or even warm if you like. The perfect drink, especially during the summer months, to remain refreshed, revitalised and ready for action.
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