Black Pepper Is The Secret To Balancing Out Bitter Coffee

Coffee being poured into cup
Coffee being poured into cup - Georghanf/Getty Images

Whether it's a sprinkle of salt, a shot of olive oil, or a dash of cinnamon, the modern cup of coffee seems to welcome plenty of surprising and wonderful additions. While sugar and cream used to be the only ingredients accepted as coffee stir-ins, the java of today has broadened its flavor horizons. Enter the latest trend — a cup of piping hot black pepper coffee.

While you may be under the impression that this unusual ingredient is used to bring a bit of spice to a cup of joe, its purpose is much more focused on balancing out the overall flavors of your coffee. Here, the crushed peppercorn works to counteract the underlying bitterness that java can have. Unlike sugar or cream which attempts to balance out the bitterness, black pepper masks it through a compound known as piperine, which makes your tastebuds aware of the heat but ignore the bitterness completely.

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Fighting Bitterness With A Bit Of Pepper

Black pepper in spoon
Black pepper in spoon - Drbouz/Getty Images

You can give pretty much any type of coffee the black pepper treatment. Instant, drip, and French press coffee are all fair game. The ratio to keep in mind is to use about 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper per one eight-ounce cup of java. Most recipes have you adding the black pepper directly to your cup of joe, but you could try infusing it with the coffee grounds if you're using a French press. At this point, you can drink your black pepper coffee plain or with the typical accouterments of milk and sugar.

If you enjoy the bitter-alleviating qualities of this black pepper-packed morning brew, you can get a similar effect by adding a pinch of cayenne, chili powder, or even hot paprika. Of course, salt also works in this way, most famously muting the bitterness of grapefruit. So perhaps you can make your coffee a full-blown salt and pepper blend? Either way, a bit of black pepper goes a long way to making your cuppa taste better.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.