Coffee has arguably become a victim of fashion. From bullet-proof butter versions to green matcha cappucinos to single origin beans, we have become a world of coffee snobs.
But secretly, we love it. Whether you’re a no-sugar purist, a hot milk fan or a soya milk aficionado, we all have special coffee needs.
But who knew that sea salt works in a morning cup? Hugo Hercod, one time world barista champ who owns Relish café in Wadebridge, Cornwall has long championed salt in his coffee. He’s not a fan of adding anything much to his coffees, flavoured syrups are swear words as far as he’s concerned, but he’s convinced the salt thing makes sense once you consider basic human taste preferences.
- Sugar and fat is one of the ultimate taste combinations: fat lines the mouth, enhancing any flavour that comes next, sugar is high energy, and, let’s face it, fairly addictive, hence our excessive love of ice cream. Add sea salt into the mix and you’ve hit the bingo for our taste buds. Think salted caramel ice cream. It’s the ultimate umami: the sweetness and the fat of milk with the often savoury taste of coffee and a hit of salt. But be wary – a tiny tiny pinch is all you need.
- Making a good coffee is a highly skilled job. If you screw up and burn your coffee (a common rookie mistake if the water has only just boiled), don’t panic. The bitter taste of a not-so-great coffee can be rectified with a tiny touch of sea salt.
- And finally? Sea salt, in the same way that it lifts a bowl of porridge, enhances the often savoury taste of coffee. According to Hugo, some African coffees in particular, have tiny amounts of savoury notes, for example a hint of roasted tomato soup. Added sea salt therefore balances the savoury with the sweet and for Hugo, therein lies the secret of a good coffee: balance.
Our top tip? Experiment. It’s personal. A dash of salt in your espresso may make your morning coffee taste even better.