Coffee Facts

All About Sea Salt Coffee

All About Sea Salt Coffee

All about sea salt coffee


A gift from the sea

      In this day and age, there is virtually nothing that is off-limits for a good cup of coffee. From butter to mushrooms, to coconut oil to sea salt. This last one, sea salt is what we are going to talk about today. What exactly is sea salt coffee? Where did it come from? Also, the most pressing question for most readers, too, of course, is how does it taste? Keep reading to discover more about sea salt coffee.

 Sea salt coffee’s origins

      The story of sea salt coffee goes back to the early 2000s when Wu Cheng-hseuh opened the 85 Degrees cafe in Taiwan. He got the idea to open a gourmet cafe that served 5-star caliber coffee and treats while visiting a 5-star hotel himself one day. 

      He noticed, however, that the prices were far too high for the average person to enjoy whenever they liked. So he recruited some 5-star chefs to help craft only the best desserts and coffee treats but still charged far less than a 5-star hotel, or one of his biggest competitors, Starbucks. 

      He also sought out Starbucks’ most popular beans from Guatemala. He traveled to Guatemala personally in order to source the best beans from the coffee nation to make sure he was getting only the best. 

      Since then, 85 Degrees has opened over 500 locations with many located around the world including the United States and Australia. He has certainly thoroughly conquered Taiwan, however with 400 locations on the island alone. As for the name? 85 Degrees is the perfect temperature for brewing a shot of espresso. Now, let’s explore more about sea salt coffee as a whole!

      The inspiration behind sea salt coffee comes from the unique Chinese approach to the culinary arts and trying to tap into and unveil as many flavors at once in a food or beverage. Take for example sweet and sour sauces! Certainly, Chinese cuisine has a lot of unique and rich options to offer that are far outside the scope of the typical Western palate. 

      One key culinary tradition from Taiwanese and other Southern Chinese and Southeast Asian cultures includes using salt to usher forth the sweetness of fruit and other foods. Watermelon with salt is not a rare sight in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh, or other places, and so the same principle was applied instead to coffee! What could bring out the true sweetness and maximum flavor of Guatemalan coffee beans but sea salt? 

 How sea salt coffee is brewed

      But how is sea salt coffee made? If one cannot visit an 85 Degrees location, or find a cafe that has picked up the trend elsewhere, it is possible to make one at home! 

      To be clear this isn’t just coffee with a dash of sea salt thrown in as one might mix in sugar or cream. Instead, the art of sea salt coffee is to first brew an excellent Americano, espresso shots and all, or just a strong cup of coffee if one is without an espresso machine. 

      Next, one prepares whipped cream that is enhanced with sea salt. This cream is then poured onto the top layer of the coffee. The traditional way to drink is to taste the cream and take a sip to pair the separate flavors into one harmonious blend. This allows one to experience both flavors fully before joining them together in one stupendous mixed pairing. Or one can just mix the whole thing up at once! It is your coffee at the end of the day. So if you would prefer to just stir the whole thing as is, be our guest. This treat can also be brewed and enjoyed hot or iced, depending on your preference.

      Now as for the taste? We understand some may find this combination rather bold, but trust us when we say this is a multisensory experience. The salt brings out and highlights a lot of flavors and textures in both the cream and the coffee, while the bitter coffee is tamed by the sweetness of the cream. But don't take our word for it, if you are curious, definitely give this one a try first-hand.

 Look what the tide brought in

      When we think of the ocean, we typically think of surf, sun, sand, and maybe seafood. But add delicious and creamy coffee to that list. Sea salt coffee is one of Taiwan’s latest gifts to the caffeine world. Keep your eyes peeled for any cafes or coffee houses intrepid enough to offer this unique coffee treat, or try brewing some up yourself. Maybe salt will replace sugar as your go-to coffee accouterment? Happy brewing and smooth sailing!

 Works Cited

  • Cabrera, Maryanne. “Sea Salt Coffee.” The Little Epicurean, 30 Mar. 2013, Accessed 13 Oct. 2022.
  • LowCarbingAsian. “Taiwanese Sea Salt Coffee | 10 Minutes.” LowCarbingAsian, 26 Feb. 2022, Accessed 13 Oct. 2022.
  • “Sea Salt Coffee.” 85C Bakery Cafe, Accessed 13 Oct. 2022.



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