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Is Honey in Coffee Healthy? Benefits + Drawbacks

Is Honey in Coffee Healthy? Benefits + Drawbacks

Clark Clark
9 minute read

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Honey is a popular addition to tea for both the health benefits and the added sweetness. Consumers seeking a healthier cup of coffee have started adding honey to their morning coffee, too. 

Honey in place of refined sugars can start your day off just a little bit better.

Looking for a healthy cup of joe that tastes great without sweetener? Check out our gold roast coffee, now available in a yummy spiced cookie blend.

Benefits of Honey in Coffee

Honey is made up mostly of two sugars: fructose and glucose. As with any sugar, it’s best enjoyed in moderation. 

That said, honey’s added properties make it the better choice if you’re trying to kick white sugar. It’s also a fun flavor boost if you’re seeking more unique coffee recipes.

1. Honey is high in antioxidants.

Honey is rich in antioxidants like phenolic acids and flavonoids that can reduce oxidative stress and improve cell health. All of that adds up to impressive anti-inflammatory effects and protection against a variety of chronic conditions, including heart health.

One study showed that consuming buckwheat honey, in particular, could boost overall antioxidant activity in the body. That means a teaspoonful of honey doesn’t just contain healthy antioxidants, but it can also increase the benefits of antioxidants coming from other sources.

2. Honey is full of vitamins and minerals.

That antioxidant boost is on top of vitamins and minerals naturally occurring in honey, like calcium, B vitamins like riboflavin and niacin, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. 

That’s the shortlist, too. Honey is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrients. 

The amount of honey you’re likely adding to your morning espresso won’t replace the need for a healthy diet overall, but it’s a little nutrient boost you won’t get with white sugar.

3. Honey has antibacterial properties.

Honey is a known antimicrobial that promotes fast wound healing. (But we’re not asking you to pour hot honeyed coffee on your body here.) 

Luckily, the natural sweetener also boasts antibacterial properties when you consume it in your coffee instead of sugar.

Honey has been used to soothe sore throats and suppress coughs. It’s been linked to improved gut health, which is a big deal for those looking for alternatives like low-acid coffee that are gentle on digestion.

High-quality honey can even shorten the length of your illness. That’s why that cup of tea with honey tastes so good when you’re under the weather. It could do the same for you when you drink coffee, too.

Possible Side Effects of Honey in Coffee

Honey is an excellent alternative to refined or processed sugars, but there are a few things to be aware of if you’re looking to make the switch. 

Honey impacts blood sugar.

Addinghoney to coffee can spike your blood sugar. It’s still sugar, even though it’s much healthier than more processed sugar options.

If you watch your blood sugar due to diabetes or are on a ketogenic diet, honey may not be the best choice for your coffee.

Heated honey may release a problematic compound.

Some studies also urge caution if you add honey to hot coffee, due to an organic compound that appears when the honey is heated through.

Is honey toxic in hot coffee? When honey is heated above ​​104°F, some researchers say it releases a toxic compound called 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). However, whether honey is toxic in hot coffee is a little more complicated. 

It’s important to note that HMF shows up in various foods that many include in their daily diet. Breakfast cereals, dairy products, fruit juices, and many of our favorite sugary sweets include the compound to some extent. 

There’s also research that suggests some level of HMF in your diet has a positive effect, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health. 

If you’re worried about HMF in your diet, you can still add honey to your hot drinks. Allow your coffee to cool below 104°F before stirring a teaspoon into your cup and letting it dissolve. Adding honey to your iced coffee is an option, too, or try it in your cold brew coffee

You need to buy high-quality honey to get the health benefits.

The types of honey you’re buying matter, too. In general, you’ll need to buy more expensive honey, preferably from a local source. You may need to spend extra money and effort getting the best honey.

Honey can come pasteurized or raw. Choose raw, unpasteurized honey for the biggest health boost over the regular honey you’ll find in some squeeze bottles.

Also, there’s some evidence that local honey can improve seasonal allergy symptoms. You won’t get the same bonus from most store-bought honey.

Check out your local farmer’s market or a grocery store that stocks products from local providers.

Compared to Other Sweeteners

If you’re trying to choose a better sweetener for your coffee or coffee alternatives, the health benefits of honey in coffee outweigh refined sugars.

Can we add honey in black coffee for weight loss? Adding a little bit of honey in black coffee won’t lead to weight gain, but it likely won’t lead to weight loss, either.

A teaspoon of honey will add a few calories to your coffee compared to white sugar. (There are about 21 calories in honey vs. 16 in traditional sugars.) That said, honey tastes sweeter to some than sugar, so you may need less honey than you think.

If you’re a coffee lover seeking healthier coffee sweeteners, you’ll want to look at more than calories alone anyway when comparing honey to sugar. 

You’re more likely to get that sugar crash after drinking something sweet with white sugar rather than honey. Raw honey has a lower glycemic index than table sugars. While it’ll still raise your blood sugar just like all carbohydrates, it won’t do so as quickly. 

Is honey good with coffee? Honey is good with coffee if you're seeking a healthier alternative to refined sugars and enjoy the flavor of honey.

Flavor Altering

Any additive, whether that’s protein powders or a natural sweetener like honey, will alter the flavor of what you’re drinking. 

Do honey and coffee taste good together? Honey and coffee can taste good together if you like the taste of honey. The natural sweetener has a strong flavor that will come through in most roasts, but it can also cut through some of the acidity in coffee.

Fans of honey in coffee don’t believe honey cancels out the flavor of coffee, but rather enhances it. Your local baristas may even offer their own versions of honey coffee and honey lattes on the menu at your favorite coffee shop.

If you’re looking to stock up on honey at home, you have several options to choose from based on your taste preferences. Wildflower honey boasts bold floral notes. Fireweed is a little buttery. 

Acacia honey is often preferred as an all-purpose option and is the honey of choice for many coffee drinkers.

To create more variety in your honey-sweetened coffee, consider adding one or more of these healthy extras to your mug:

  • Almond milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Vanilla
  • Sea salt

The coffee you stir it in matters, too.

Best Coffee with Honey

The type of coffee you’re drinking matters just as much — if not more — as what you add to it when it comes to your health. The best coffee with honey is a low-acid coffee like Golden Ratio.

Golden Ratio’s coffee is better for your stomach and as gentle as tea. The coffee pouches even resemble tea bags, making the transition from honey in tea to honey in coffee that much simpler.

Try the Spiced Cookie Gold Coffee for a side of cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla or our variety pack to decide on the perfect flavor to pair with a drizzle of honey.


  1. Honey as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Its Molecular Mechanisms of Action
  2. Buckwheat honey increases serum antioxidant capacity in humans
  3. Nutraceutical values of natural honey and its contribution to human health and wealth
  4. Effect of dietary honey on intestinal microflora and toxicity of mycotoxins in mice
  5. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity
  6. 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) levels in honey and other food products: effects on bees
  7. Cardioprotective effects of 5‐hydroxymethylfurfural mediated by inhibition of L‐type Ca2+ currents
  8. Ingestion of honey improves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis: evidence from a randomized placebo-controlled trial in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia 

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