Are you a chili lover? Do you order your som tam “phet mak mak”? Do you like to spice up your foods with lots of heat? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might be ready for the controversial hot sauce in coffee trend. Keep reading to learn more about our thoughts on this interesting combination!

How Did It Start?

This year the trend of putting hot sauce in coffee has been getting a lot of attention. 

It started, in part, in response to a new Kickstarter project for Ujjo, a hot sauce for coffee. The creator, Lauren D’Souza, claims that it began as a joke when her friends dared her to drink her coffee with hot sauce in it. She did not enjoy it at first, but she believed this was only because of the vinegar in hot sauce. 

Her experiment has now evolved into a product that is vinegar-free and designed specifically for blending with coffee. In response, many people have been exploring the possibilities of putting regular hot sauce in coffee as well to see what all the fuss is about. 

Chef Megan Osborne told Well+Good that she enjoys using Sriracha sauce in her coffee, which is already an excellent, low-vinegar hot sauce.

Why You Should Try It

With so many people talking about this bizarre combination, should you try it yourself? 

To help you decide, your trusty author has undertaken the research and experimentation necessary to keep you informed, and I’m happy to report my findings.

A Flavor Review

I made a key mistake when I first tried this trend and I put way too much hot sauce in my coffee. As someone who enjoys spicy foods, I thought I was prepared for an entire teaspoon of hot sauce, but I could not have been more wrong. 

This proportion was altogether too overpowering for a single cup of coffee and added a very intense aftertaste to the bitterness already present in coffee’s flavor profile. I must say, however, that the combination of heat and caffeine will definitely wake you up!

On my second attempt, I took a more reserved approach and added only a quarter of a teaspoon of hot sauce. I have to say this was much better. 

With a small amount of hot sauce, you still get the unaltered flavors and aromas of your coffee, but with a pleasant kick of heat to finish. I could definitely get used to adding some spice to my morning coffee rituals.

Health Benefits

In addition to hot sauce creating a very interesting flavor combination, they also have many health benefits. Capsaicin, the element of chili peppers that makes them taste spicy, has also been shown to promote heart health, increased metabolism, and lower sensations of pain.

Tips to Try It Yourself

If I’ve convinced you to get started on your spicy coffee journey, here are some tips to make sure you enjoy your beverage adventures.

1. Use Light to Medium Roast

Since darker roast coffees tend to be more bitter, their flavors will clash more with hot sauce additions. Light or medium roast coffee flavors will blend better with the spice of the hot sauce.

2. Use Non-Vinegar Based Hot Sauce

Whatever hot sauce you use, be sure that it isn’t vinegar based. Vinegar has a very sharp taste and smell to it, that could overpower the flavor of your coffee and lead to an unpleasant drinking experience.

Sriracha and other Thai hot sauces can be a great option!

3. Ease Into It

Even if you love spice, go slow at first when adding hot sauce to your coffee. Try a few drops to start and then add more according to your personal taste.

Adding too much hot sauce could overpower your coffee, so add gradually to make sure that you enjoy the end result and don’t have to waste any of your precious brew.

Recommended Recipe

In her interview with Well+Good, Megan Osborne recommended the following recipe as a perfect way to combine hot sauce and a few other warm spices to your coffee, giving it a wonderfully satisfying blend of flavor and heat.

  1. Brew your coffee with 2-3 teaspoons of roasted cardamom seeds mixed with your coffee beans.
  2. Once the coffee is brewed, add in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
  3. Finish by adding 1-2 drops of hot sauce.

I have to say that I liked this recipe and found it to be a great way to enjoy caffeine with a kick!

Additional Investigations

The process of writing this article made me think that perhaps the best way to get a spicy cup of coffee was to go straight to the source. So, in addition to trying the recipes outlined above, I decided to try a batch of coffee brewed directly with Thai chili peppers, or prik kee noo (พริกขี้หนู).

Having learned my lesson from the hot sauce, I started small this time and decided to brew half a carafe of my normal french press coffee with the tip of a small chilli added to the grounds.

There was no discernable spice present in the first batch, so I upped the ante and added an entire pepper, chopped well, so that the oils could mix in with the coffee. I also added a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon, which I typically enjoy with my french press brew.

The spiciness of this concoction was quite subtle, but I have to say, very pleasing. If you aren’t crazy about the idea of hot sauce in your coffee, but you’d still like to add some kick, perhaps this more direct route will be right for you!

Let Us Know What You Think!

It’s time to embark on your own hot sauce and coffee experiments! Do you think adding hot sauce to coffee is delicious or disgusting? 

Let us know how you feel in the comments section below. And remember you can always fuel your at-home coffee adventures with delicious Red Cliff coffee delivered right to your door.