For science: Coffee and salt
August 6th, 2010
04:00 PM ET
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The things we do for our readers. In response to our post on office coffee tweaks, commenter Audrey asked, "Okay so tell me if this is odd. One of my coworkers puts salt in her coffee. She will put like 5 or 6 of those small packets of salt in a small cup of very strong black coffee and nothing else. She says it cuts the bitterness out.

I've never seen anybody do that before and I think its just disgusting and very odd but maybe I'm wrong..maybe more people do it and I'm just not aware of it."

KDirty responded, "It's not that odd, honestly. I don't know about putting it directly in the coffee, but I generally add a pinch of salt to my coffee grounds while brewing–it DEFINITELY cuts some bitterness out of the coffee. Try it!"

We did.


We're no strangers to harsh flavors. Horseradish, Scotch, mustard greens, herring - the more pungent and punishing the better. This brew methodically slurped away every drop of joy in the universe, leaving a vast, dry, alkaline terrain upon which no deliciousness may grow for one thousand years.

So no. Don't try it. At least in those proportions.

We totally stand by Alton Brown's Man Coffee method of adding a pinch of salt to a whole 24oz French press to cut the bitterness of the brew. This ratio is roughly one squillion times more potent than that, so yes, Audrey, you stand vindicated. That's just naaaaasty.

[Update: Two hours have passed, and the hole it burned in our soul esophagus blazes on.]

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Filed under: Buzz • Coffee • Comment of the Day • Culture • From the Comments • Office • Sip

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Ricky

    Good Grief. How much salt did you put in that coffee. Only on elittle shake of the shaker is more than enought for an entire pot of 12 cups. Less than 1/16th of a teaspoon or even less. If you did like your friend and added a ton, of course it's going to taste like crap.

    August 21, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  2. Shelby

    I only use salt in my coffee when I know the water came from the tap (unfiltered water)

    August 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • adam

      This is can't say I've added salt to already brewed coffee....but ever since trying the "salt in coffee" tip, I've been lovin it. I sprinkle about a pinch of iodized salt ontop the grounds, after putting them into my filter basket. and yea, I really don't taste the salt...but it does make the coffee less bitter ;) Kind of cool how it all works out...I'm by no means a coffee I just buy cheap coffee, Mister Chef usually...or bottom grade Foldgers...and yea, it makes the coffee taste a lil better ;)

      June 17, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  3. becky and the beanstock

    I once accidentally put black pepper in my coffee. I suppose that technically this works better than salt, but I'm still not giving it a thumbs up.

    August 8, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  4. Michelle

    I've read that coffee is seasoned with salt in parts of Africa – which is where the coffee bean originated and where people have been drinking coffee the longest.

    August 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Steve

      I add a few drops of Himalayan sea salt sole to my coffe. You can google the benefits of sea salt sole. Adds a nice flavor (unlike table salt.) and good for you too.

      August 8, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  5. bernd tunkl

    a pinch of salt whilst brewing. that's what my grammy taught me.she's never wrong. love you omi<3

    August 7, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  6. Grondahl

    A few grains when you're brewing something cheap is fine. 5 to 6 packets is disgusting.

    August 6, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  7. Callyberry

    If it's that bitter then it wasn't coffee worth drinking in the first place. Good coffee should not be bitter, or burnt.

    August 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • april renee

      i agree on your post fully!!!!!

      August 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  8. Jim Bob

    For $13 you get bragging rights that you drank a whole cup of coffee that came out of a cat's ass, and enjoyed it to the last drop.

    August 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • MicheleG

      You win "Best of Class" comment. Hilarious!

      March 24, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  9. Liz

    I would never put salt in my coffee because i enjoy that type of bitterness but I grew up on the Ontario/Quebec border putting salt in my beer. Also lime cordial. I still do both ( not together ) from time to time.

    August 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
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