Coffee With Heavy Cream: Should You Drink It?

Heavy or whipping cream in a coffee can turn the regular brew into a decadent treat. You might feel a little guilty about going for it, though, imagining the high-fat content. However, coffee with heavy cream can be more healthy than you think!

Why do people use heavy cream in coffee?

Fresh milk naturally separates into heavy cream on top and milk below. When the heavy cream is skimmed off, it can be used in cooking, whether or not you beat it into homemade whipped cream first.

Heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream, can also be used to make an especially creamy coffee drink. You can pour it into hot coffee just like you’d add half and half or coffee cream, or you can whip cream into denser whipped cream that will float on the top of your coffee.

Most people who drink coffee with whipped cream or heavy cream do so for the overall taste and mouthfeel. A mocha or frappuccino from a coffee shop is often topped with a dollop of whipped cream. It is usually recognized as a somewhat unhealthy treat to be enjoyed in moderation.

coffee with heavy cream

Why do ketogenic diets use heavy whipping cream?

Some who use heavy cream in coffee have higher aims than just the coffee’s taste. The basic idea of the ketogenic diet is that high in fat and low in carbohydrates food forces the body to burn fat.

The keto diet was initially developed to treat epilepsy. However, others have since adapted it for weight loss and other health concerns.

While some diets push people to look for fat-free foods and reduce calories, the keto diet encourages extra fat. That said, it’s supposed to be good fat. Even though heavy whipping cream is saturated fat, which is generally less preferred than unsaturated fat, it’s at least natural.

Keto coffee may therefore replace milk in coffee with things like coconut oil or heavy cream. A common variation is a Bulletproof coffee, which includes black coffee, unsalted butter, and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. In addition, Keto diet adherents often drink butter coffee or coconut oil coffee in place of breakfast.

What is healthy to consume may be more complicated than what has a lower fat content. Therefore, it would be best to ask a medical professional what diet is best for your unique situation.

heavy whipping cream in a bowl

Health benefits of heavy cream

The first thing that comes to mind when many people think of the richness of heavy cream is its high-fat content, which could potentially cause weight gain or even heart disease. However, another thing to keep in mind is that a calf gets the nutrients necessary to grow into a big cow or bull from drinking full-fat milk. So it can’t be all bad!

Heavy cream is rich in fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. Vitamin A is necessary for eye health. Vitamin D helps support the bones and the immune system. The fat of heavy cream helps your body get the most out of these vitamins.

While you have to balance the vitamin boost of heavy cream against its high-fat content, coffee with heavy cream or whipped cream will make you feel full faster. Therefore, a creamy drink could come in handy if you’re recovering from dental work or have other medical issues preventing you from eating properly. Sometimes extra calories are a good thing!

Heavy cream has lower lactose content than milk. If you are lactose intolerant, adding it to your coffee may be a way to enjoy coffee that is not black.

However, consuming too much fat can cause digestive problems regardless of whether or not lactose is involved. So use heavy whipping cream in your coffee with caution if you know you have this tendency. Add a small amount of heavy cream first, and see how well you tolerate it.

pouring heavy cream into coffee

What does heavy whipping cream taste like in coffee?

Heavy cream affects coffee taste as well as texture. While the cream has very minimal flavor, it has a naturally sweet taste similar to unsweetened butter. As a result, it affects coffee taste, enhancing the sweetness without added sugar.

Heavy cream is excellent for moderating bitter or strong flavors in coffee. So if you are a milky coffee lover and usually drink lattes or cappuccinos, then heavy cream won’t bother you. However, you may want to add a smaller amount of it than coffee creamer because a little bit goes a long way with heavy cream.

If you prefer your coffee black, perhaps you are not a fan of the weak flavor of skim milk? Experimenting with heavy whipping cream may be an excellent opportunity to get more adventurous with your coffee.

Heavy cream can also help cover up your mistakes when something goes wrong in your coffee brewing process. For example, when your coffee tastes sour, adding heavy cream can reduce the coffee’s acidity.

woman drinking iced coffee with cream

How much heavy cream should you use in coffee?

The amount of heavy cream you should add to your coffee depends on how you like to drink it. For example, an espresso and a heavy cream combo can make you a coffee similar to a frappuccino you get from Starbucks.

Do you prefer your coffee more concentrated and usually go for a macchiato? Try topping up your espresso with two to three tablespoons of heavy whipped cream instead of milk foam.

However, it would be best to consider your dietary restrictions, as heavy cream is high in fat and calories. Unless you know what you are doing with your diet, you are probably better off using heavy cream in coffee in moderation.

coffees with different amount of cream

What’s the difference between heavy cream and heavy whipping cream?

Understanding the differences between heavy cream and heavy whipping cream before indulging in your coffee might be helpful.

Heavy and whipping cream are the same, even if labeled differently. They both contain at least 36% fat, which is the magic number separating them from regular cream. However, whipping cream, sometimes labeled light, has only 30 to 35% fat, and it has an airier feel when whipping it.

Half and half, a more common coffee creamer, is half cream and half milk. It is more like 10 to 18% fat. Whole milk contains about 3.5% fat, and other common milk varieties contain from 1% to 2% fat.

Therefore, heavy whipping cream is a pretty giant leap up from what most people are used to adding to their coffee. So whether you whip the cream first or just pour it into your coffee, a little splash might go a long way. You could also consider diluting heavy cream with water if you find it too fatty.

whipped cream closeup

Coffees you can make with heavy whipping cream

To get the perfect cup of coffee, you may need to pay attention to the coffee and heavy cream ratio. Too much heavy cream can result in coffee that has a thick texture, so make sure you choose the coffee and cream ratio that will give you the desired balance.

Before you start to use heavy whipping cream in the coffee, there is one limit to your creativity that you might want to be aware of. Citric acid, found in citrus fruits, can make heavy cream curdle, altering the texture of your drink. So bear that in mind if you decide to add lemon juice to your coffee drink. However, heavy whipping cream is pretty stable under heat, so you can use it for making hot coffee or iced coffee.

These simple recipes will help you introduce heavy whipping cream to your home barista repertoire.

Dalgona coffee

Dalgona coffee looks like it’s based on whipped cream, but appearances can be deceiving. In fact, its distinctive frothy topping is made of instant coffee, hot water, and sugar, all beaten together. This thick mixture then sits on top of the milk or milk substitute.

Where does the heavy cram come in, you may wonder? While it’s not mandatory to use heavy cream in the Dalgona coffee recipe, you can mix it into the milk. That will make this coffee an especially rich treat.

How to make Dalgona coffee with heavy cream:

  1. Use a whisk or mixer to beat together two spoons of instant coffee, two spoons of sugar, and the same amount of hot water until the mixture becomes thick.
  2. Fill a glass about half full with milk and cream mixture. You can start with equal parts and experiment until you find your preferred ratio.
  3. Scoop the instant coffee mixture on top of the milk. Mix it a bit to evenly distribute the coffee before drinking it.

dalgona coffee

Keto iced coffee

Iced coffee is often better with a bit of milk, but heavy cream is often used to minimize the carbohydrates found in milk on low-carb diets. If you don’t want to buy or make cold brew coffee, you can prepare regular coffee using your usual brewing method. However, let the coffee cool a bit before adding the heavy cream.

How to make keto iced coffee:

  1. Combine cold brew coffee, heavy cream, and your preferred sweetener in a pitcher or jug. (Low-carb diets also usually minimize sugar, but you can use sugar if you are using this recipe for reasons unrelated to a low-carb diet.)
  2. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Put ice cubes in a glass, and pour the coffee mixture over them.

Homemade mocha

It’s pretty common to add whipping cream to hot chocolate. However, as coffee makes everything better, a mocha is hot chocolate with coffee in it. Traditionally, a mocha is made with a shot of espresso. If you have a home espresso machine, you can use that or a Moka Pot that makes espresso-like coffee.

How to make mocha:

  1. Pull a shot of espresso or brew the equivalent amount (around 1oz) of strong coffee in a larger cup, leaving extra room for other ingredients.
  2. Add chocolate syrup or cocoa powder to taste, and mix it with the coffee.
  3. Froth steamed milk and pour it into the cup. The higher the milk’s fat content, the creamier the drink will be.
  4. Top with a generous amount of whipped cream.
  5. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or shaved chocolate.

Variations of the mocha coffee include adding cinnamon or crushed peppermint candy.

mocha coffee with whipped cream

Irish coffee

Irish coffee is one of the most well-known coffee cocktails. It is also an obvious example of combining whipped cream with coffee and alcohol.

How to make Irish coffee:

  1. Fill three-quarters of a cup or a glass with black coffee.
  2. Add one tablespoon of brown sugar.
  3. Add a shot of Irish whiskey.
  4. Top with whipped cream.

Pharisee coffee cocktail

A lesser-known coffee and whipped cream drink is the Pharisee cocktail. It is made of black coffee and rum and topped with whipped cream. The story behind the beverage is that in 19th century Germany, the local pastor was a strict opponent of drinking alcohol. So, during village celebrations, people came up with the idea to put a thick layer of whipped cream on top of their rum-spiked coffee to camouflage the alcohol. When they eventually got caught, they were called Pharisees, after a group of people in the Bible with a reputation for hypocrisy.

How to make Pharisee coffee cocktail:

  1. Fill three-quarters of a cup with black coffee.
  2. Add a shot of dark rum.
  3. Top with whipped cream.

You may want to make your own flavored coffee creamer to have on hand at home, especially if you are trying to avoid the artificial sweeteners and corn syrup found in store-bought coffee creamers. Heavy cream can perfectly serve as a base for homemade coffee creamer. And the best part of making coffee creamer at home is using all-natural flavorings such as cinnamon or maple syrup.

Coffee with heavy whipping cream may be slightly different from what you are used to, but it can be delicious! As long as you balance your nutritional needs, coffee add-ins can introduce you to new ways to enjoy your daily coffee.