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Benefits of adding honey to your coffee and HOW TO INFUSE HONEY at home

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While some enjoy their coffee black, over half of the coffee drinkers in the United States add sweetener to their cup- whether as a part of the creamer, or as a separate additive.

National health and nutrition examination survey found that coffee sweeteners increase caloric consumption by approximately 70 cal per day on average. Processed sugars are commonly used, which can be toxic to your body, spiking blood glucose levels, providing no nutritional benefit, interfering with nutrient absorption, and creating a host of medical problems. (10)

So why not swap the processed sweeteners out for natural options that aren’t as detrimental and can even provide some surprising benefits in your body? Smart Owl Coffee is a big advocate for making conscientious choices regarding what you put into your body.

While there are many non-sugar and minimally processed sugar alternatives available (down the road we plan on doing a more comprehensive blog regarding the many sugar alternatives), today we’re focusing on “the nectar of the gods” - Honey!

Though the benefits of honey have been apparent since antiquity, it’s connection to human health have become more completely explained by the scientific community over the last decades.

Here are some sweet HONEY highlights:

  • Honey contains over 180 substances, including beneficial vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Flavenoids and phenolic acids plays a key role in human health, thanks to the high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that they exert. (4)
  • Including honey in your coffee as part of a pre or post workout has shown to improve athletic performance and if used long term, honey has shown to dampen inflammatory effects that often accompany athletic exertion. (6)
    Honey, honey coffee, honey sweetened coffee, honey benefits, benefits of honey, infused honey
  • Diabetes and obesity: Honey has anti-diabetic properties and helps with glycemic control.(2)(3)  Replacing sugar with honey could lower blood sugar levels, prevent weight gain, and aid in weight loss.(5)(7)
  • Honey is neuroprotective.(3) It also exerts a protective effect in the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, the respiratory system, and in the gastrointestinal system.(2)
  • Honey possesses antimicrobial and anticancer activity.(2)(3) Enzymes found in honey exert microbial inhibition and promote wound healing.(1)(2)(3)

Just a little side-note: If you are searching for other alternatives to processed sugar, be sure that you choose an option that is naturally occuring and has a lower glycemic index. Avoid chemically formulated artificial sweeteners, such saccharin, aspartame (Sweet and Low), and sucralose (Splenda).

 

Sooo... We really enjoy using honey in our coffee. It has a lower glycemic index than table sugar and contains amino acids, electrolytes and a bounty of antioxidants that are useful in the management of chronic diseases that are commonly associated with oxidative stress and inflammation state. You can use raw honey straight from the jar, but below, we share our process for infusing honey so that you can experiment at home and create enumerable, delicious recipes on your own.

And Finally: Here’s how we make infused honey!

Simple Almond/Vanilla Honey (this is my base honey recipe):

  1. Add 1 cup water to a pan, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low
  2. Add 1 TBSP Vanilla extract (we prefer Cooks Vanilla  Extract Powder)
  3. Add 1 TBSP Almond extract (we prefer Cooks Almond Extract Powder)
  4. Stir and turn off heat to let water cool to 98-104 F (I use a candy thermometer)
  5. Add 1 cup raw, local honey and stir to dissolve.
  6. Let it cool, then store in fridge for several weeks (or longer). I store mine in condiment containers (pic below)

NOTE: If you heat honey for a prolonged time above 104F it will begin to degrade some of the beneficial compounds. This recipe should maintain most of the benefits of the raw honey.(9)  You can refrigerate and use this for weeks or even months.

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Almond Mocha Honey:

  1. Follow step 1, 2, & 3 for the base honey
  2. Add 3/4 cup organic Dutch Process cocoa powder (-OR- if you have Cacoa Powder and want some additional antioxidant power, use 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa and 1/4 cup Cacoa powder)
  3. Add a dash of cinnamon and stir with whisk to dissolve (it will take longer for the cocoa to dissolve and if some solids remain, that's ok because we will filter them off)
  4. After 5-10 minutes, turn off heat and let cool to 98-104F
  5. Add 1 cup raw, local honey and stir. This will be clumpy
  6. Once it's cooled for a few minutes, pour the mixture through a mesh sieve to separate out any undissolved cocoa (See pic below for my set up).
  7. You can refrigerate and use this for weeks or even months 
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 Lavender Honey:

    1. Follow step 1, 2, & 3 for the base honey
    2. Add 1/4 cup dried organic lavender petals -or- a handful of fresh lavender with leaves and flowers
    3. Simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes, then turn off heat and let cool to 98-104F
    4. Add 1 cup raw, local honey and stir
    5. Once it's cooled for a few minutes, pour the mixture through a mesh sieve to separate out the solids.
    6. You can refrigerate and use this for weeks or even months

Ginger Orange Honey:

    1. Follow step 1, 2, & 3 for the base honey
    2. Add 1 tsp dry ginger -or- 1 TBSP raw grated ginger
    3. Add 1 TBSP orange extract -or- the fresh zest of 1 orange
    4. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, then turn off heat and let cool to 98-104F
    5. Add 1 cup raw, local honey and stir
    6. Once it's cooled for a few minutes, pour the mixture through a mesh sieve to separate out the solids.
    7. You can refrigerate and use this for weeks or even months

Let us know if there are any other honey flavors that you try at home. The options are endless! We have been infusing honey for years and have had a great time using them in various coffee drinks, as well as cocktails and other cooking. It feels good to know that you are ingesting something that isn't full of preservatives or other unnatural compounds that might be disadvantageous. 

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see all of the fun recipes that we create and follow along on our coffee adventures!

and remember... Drink Smart. Think Smart!

 

 Reference Articles:

1: Pasupuleti VR, Sammugam L, Ramesh N, Gan SH. Honey, Propolis, and Royal Jelly: A Comprehensive Review of Their Biological Actions and Health Benefits. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:1259510. doi: 10.1155/2017/1259510. Epub 2017 Jul 26. PMID: 28814983; PMCID: PMC5549483.

 2: Cianciosi D, Forbes-Hernández TY, Afrin S, Gasparrini M, Reboredo-Rodriguez P, Manna PP, Zhang J, Bravo Lamas L, Martínez Flórez S, Agudo Toyos P, Quiles JL, Giampieri F, Battino M. Phenolic Compounds in Honey and Their Associated Health Benefits: A Review. Molecules. 2018 Sep 11;23(9):2322. doi: 10.3390/molecules23092322. PMID: 30208664; PMCID: PMC6225430. 

3: Terzo S, Mulè F, Amato A. Honey and obesity-related dysfunctions: a summary on health benefits. J Nutr Biochem. 2020 Aug;82:108401. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2020.108401. Epub 2020 Apr 17. PMID: 32454412.

4: Nguyen HTL, Panyoyai N, Kasapis S, Pang E, Mantri N. Honey and Its Role in Relieving Multiple Facets of Atherosclerosis. Nutrients. 2019 Jan 14;11(1):167. doi: 10.3390/nu11010167. PMID: 30646548; PMCID: PMC6356546.

5: Bobiş O, Dezmirean DS, Moise AR. Honey and Diabetes: The Importance of Natural Simple Sugars in Diet for Preventing and Treating Different Type of Diabetes. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2018 Feb 4;2018:4757893. doi: 10.1155/2018/4757893. PMID: 29507651; PMCID: PMC5817209.

6: Hills SP, Mitchell P, Wells C, Russell M. Honey Supplementation and Exercise: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 12;11(7):1586. doi: 10.3390/nu11071586. PMID: 31336992; PMCID: PMC6683082.

7: Nemoseck TM, Carmody EG, Furchner-Evanson A, Gleason M, Li A, Potter H, Rezende LM, Lane KJ, Kern M. Honey promotes lower weight gain, adiposity, and triglycerides than sucrose in rats. Nutr Res. 2011 Jan;31(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.11.002. PMID: 21310307.

8: da Silva PM, Gauche C, Gonzaga LV, Costa AC, Fett R. Honey: Chemical composition, stability and authenticity. Food Chem. 2016 Apr 1;196:309-23. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.09.051. Epub 2015 Sep 16. PMID: 26593496.

9: https://bee-health.extension.org/at-what-temperature-does-honey-have-to-be-heated-too-too-destroy-the-health-benefits-for-humans/

10: Bray GA. Energy and fructose from beverages sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup pose a health risk for some people. Adv Nutr. 2013 Mar 1;4(2):220-5. doi: 10.3945/an.112.002816. PMID: 23493538; PMCID: PMC3649102.

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