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Oct 13, 2010 06:53 AM

Salt in coffee? Anybody do this?

I was flipping through the boards yesterday and came across a posting where someone mentioned it - maybe one of the "Weird things your family does" threads. Then coincidentally last night there was a Good Eats episode about using salt with desserts to make them taste better. As AB always does he explains the scientific reasoning and low and behold, to me at least, salt reacts with your tongue to eliminate or greatly reduces the ability of your tongue to "taste" bitterness.

So this morning I add a pinch to my coffee and sure enough it is nice & smooth.

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  1. Just curious: did you put sugar in with the salt or was it just the salt alone and nothing else?

    Also, did it get rid of that horrible after-taste/sockmouth that I can't stand whenever I do drink coffee (which admittedly, is not often at all)?

    1 Reply
    1. re: yfunk3

      my cappuchinos don't have aftertaste. or bitterness. yay, fresh coffee--the cheapest gourmet food ever.

    2. The salt with desserts is a commonly known tradition. Just think - chocolate with pretzels, nuts, etc. Someone once gave me these chocolate/peanut clusters with sea salt on them. Maybe the best tasting candy I've ever had.

      1. Well two things.

        Yes i put salt in my coffee, but i put it in the filter, with the ground coffee. It's a known and old trick to reduce the bitterness.

        And i took pastry classes, salt is common in all doughs, pie crusts etc... Nowadays, sweet and salty candies or chocolates are "IN" too. A nice recipe I made was dark chocolate bars with different flavoured sea salts, corse grind so you have little crystals in the chocolate.

        11 Replies
        1. re: SourberryLily

          How much salt do you put in? Say you make 4 "cups" of coffee, using 4 rounded TBS of ground coffee - how much salt would you add to the ground coffee in the filter? Do you spread it around the top? Mix it with the ground coffee? Does the coffee actually taste salty?

          Sorry for all the questions, but I hold my coffee sacred in the morning, and tend to be a purist, so adding anything to it marks a major change for me, and I just want/need to get it right at 6:30 AM.

          1. re: foreverhungry

            Oh gosh, just like a pinch for a 4 cup of coffee. I actually have a salt grinder and eyeball it, like 2 grinds, sprinkled over the coffee.

            My boyfriend notices a difference when i make it, says it's smoother, though i never told him why ;-)

            1. re: SourberryLily

              Same here. I use kosher salt over 4 Tbs of ground coffee in a French press, and it's the tiniest pinch, 1/16th of a teaspoon at most. I don't worry about coverage because I stir the grounds as I'm adding the boiled water, so it just dissolves in.

              If you can taste salt, you've used too much, but just a touch rounds off any harsher notes in the coffee.

              What I have NOT yet tried is the pinch of salt in a glass of chocolate milk as suggested in Modern Family a couple weeks ago.

          2. re: SourberryLily

            Wow, great tip. I'm going to try this tomorrow morning.

            Now I'm wondering . . .Are the restaurants I find to have superior coffee using this trick?

            1. re: SourberryLily

              I'm going to play a little bit of devils advocate here, but it's my experience, if you're drinking really good coffee it isn't bitter at all. Instant and canned coffees are very bitter.

              1. re: jhopp217

                Really good coffee (bean and roast quality) can be bitter if the place/person serving the coffee doesn't regularly clean the pot, there are accumulated oils in the equipment, or the water available is not the best. Sometimes, the cup picks up bitterness from the detergent used to wash it.

                That said, it is usually coffee served to me, not coffeee I make that may be bitter. The dash of salt corrects the problem.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  You are completely right about that. I have never cleaned a coffee pot with soap, ever. I've been told vinegar diluted with water,, but that just sounds nasty. I just run water through it once in a while.

                  1. re: jhopp217

                    I do the vinegar treatment about 2 - 3 times a year, except I use about 2 cups straight white vinegar and do a complete run-through, then run the same stuff through again. Then I'll run fresh water through, 2-3 times. When I get no vinegar whiff in the water, I'm done. This seems to work pretty well.

                    1. re: jhopp217

                      they make coffee makers black for a reason. most percolaters fill with mold and other crap.

                      buy CleanKaf if using vinegar to de-scale bothers you. But do descale--heating temp is critical.

                2. re: SourberryLily

                  Have you tried putting just a pinch of nutmeg in the coffee.. This is really good too.. Tim Hortons coffee has nutmeg in theirs. No wonder people are addicted to their coffee.. grin

                3. My late father in law did it regularly. Said it was a habit he had picked up as career Army officer.

                  1. I do this sometimes now, esp. at Starbucks where I find their roast either really bitter or burnt. A bit of salt tempers that.