Cup of coffee

For many people, a fresh pot of coffee in the morning makes rolling out of bed much more bearable. Brewed coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the United States. Many coffee drinkers like to add a sweet ingredient to their cup: sugar!

Coffee Is Naturally Sweet

Did you know that coffee comes by its subtle sweetness naturally? Many fruits, nuts and vegetables contain sugar. Coffee beans are the seed of a fruit known as the coffee cherry, which produces a small amount of sugar as it matures. Coffee beans absorb this sugar, which burns off during roasting and gives coffee its flavor. This process makes a lighter roast sweeter and a darker roast more bitter.

The natural sugar in coffee beans also plays a role in their color. Coffee beans are green when picked. Roasting coffee beans changes them from green to brown as their natural sugar caramelizes. Coffee roasting results in such a small amount of sugar that brewed black coffee has only a few calories.

Adding Sugar Enhances Coffee’s Natural Flavors

Added sugars are any sugars added to a food or beverage during processing or preparation. When you add sugar to your cup, the sugar sweetens your coffee and enhances its natural flavor.

Sugar also causes a molecular change in brewed coffee. When caffeine, water and sugar interact, they work together to block the bitter taste that can be unpleasant to some coffee drinkers.

Studies show that all nutrients in coffee, including sugar, contribute to our physical well-being. Sugar in moderation is part of a balanced and enjoyable diet, whether in our coffee or in other foods and drinks we love. Celebrate National Coffee Day with your favorite cup!


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Coffee Chemistry. Roasting Chemistry: The Role of Sugars. Available at:

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