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Heavy Whipping Cream in Coffee: What to Know

a glass of coffee with whipped cream

Heavy cream in coffee is a real treat, although we wouldn’t necessarily make a habit of it. If you use milk or cream in your coffee, it is natural to wonder if heavy cream could take your coffee to the next, creamier level. We’re happy to report that putting heavy whipping cream in coffee is a delectable, thick, textured experience and makes for a nice treat every once in a while.

In this article, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about using heavy whipping cream in coffee. We’ll cover how much to use, which drinks benefit the most from using heavy whipping cream, and discuss some health concerns over putting a close cousin to ice cream in your coffee.

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Can You Use Heavy Cream in Coffee?

Yes, you can, and it’s delicious. Using heavy cream in coffee is similar in spirit to the jump from non-fat milk to cream. Heavy cream is thicker and denser than regular cream and doesn’t mix well with coffee. You can get it to dissolve somewhat with some determined stirring, but even then, the result is a lumpy mess rather than a smooth blended drink.

a hot coffee with whipped cream
Image Credit: Crystal Huff, Unsplash

When to Use Heavy Cream in Coffee

Heavy cream has a dominant presence in any coffee, so not all drinks are well-suited to taking heavy cream. Besides being thick and viscous, heavy cream also has a slightly sweet flavor that will mix with the flavors in your coffee. In our opinion, mild light and medium roast coffee doesn’t do well with heavy cream since it often becomes the predominant flavor, masking the coffee’s taste. We prefer our milk or cream to accent the coffee, not wrest our attention away from it.

The best kinds of coffee to use heavy cream in are bold, robust dark roasts since they can withstand some dilution without fading into the background. We find that brewing a strong dark roast with a 15:1 water to coffee ratio in a French press coffee is the best kind of coffee to add heavy cream to.

A close runner-up is using heavy cream in cold brew. On a hot summer day, a glass of cold brew concentrate cut with heavy cream is a heavenly treat. We prefer making cold brew concentrates since they stay fresh longer in the refrigerator and are more versatile. Making a concentrate gives you the flexibility to make strong iced coffee or milder hot coffee by diluting the concentrate with water—or heavy cream.


non alcoholic irish cream coffee

Cold Brew With Heavy Cream

This is our favorite cold brew recipe for mixing with heavy cream. We make small batches in a standard one-liter French press and store the concentrate in the refrigerator in a mason jar.
5 star average
Prep Time 6 mins
Steep Time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 6 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 2 drink(s)
Calories 175 kcal

Equipment

  • French press
  • Paper filter (optional)
  • Glass

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Weigh 100 g of dark roast coffee beans.
  • Grind the coffee beans on a coarse setting. Use a coarser setting than you would use for making French press coffee.
  • In a one-liter French press, combine 100 g of ground coffee with 700 g of room temperature water.
  • Stir the grounds until they are wet evenly.
  • Let the coffee sit at room temperature for at least 16 hours.
  • Press the French press plunger to filter the coffee.
  • (optional) For a cleaner cold brew concentrate, filter the coffee through a paper filter. We like to use a Chemex since the large carafe makes it easy, and the thick Chemex filters remove most of the sediment from the coffee.
  • Add two large ice cubes to a glass and slowly fill the glass about halfway.
  • Add heavy cream to taste. We like to keep the ratio of heavy cream to cold brew under 1:1.
  • Store any leftover cold brew in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Image credit: Smirnova Natalia, Shutterstock

Nutrition

Calories: 175kcal
Keyword cold brew with heavy cream, heavy cream, whipped cream

Health Concerns

We’ll get straight to the point: there’s nothing healthy about drinking heavy cream. Between 30% and 40% of the calories in heavy cream come from fat, making heavy cream one of the least healthy things you can add to your coffee short of ice cream. We don’t recommend putting heavy cream in your coffee regularly, but it won’t do any harm as an occasional treat.

If you decide to try heavy cream in your coffee, start with a small amount. It doesn’t take much to notice it in your cup, and too much will make for a disappointing experience. Specifically, we recommend using half the amount of milk you typically use the first time you try heavy cream.

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Conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with using heavy cream in coffee as long as you only use it in moderation. Heavy cream is full of fat and calories, and your jeans will quickly notice if you start drinking heavy cream with your coffee on a regular basis.

As a special treat in some strong French press coffee or in our cold brew concentrate, heavy cream is a delicious treat that will give your coffee a tasty, dessert-like quality. If you try heavy cream in your coffee and get hooked, don’t say we didn’t try to warn you.


Featured Image Credit: Crystal Huff, Unsplash

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Sean Brennan

Sean’s obsession with coffee started when he received his first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, his love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets he owns – has grown considerably. A scientist by training, there is no stone he has left unturned in the never-ending quest for the perfect cup of coffee. He has spent many hours tuning his pour-over technique, thinking about how to best compare grind quality, and worrying about whether the Nicaraguan or Kenyan beans will make the best cold brew. These days he favors the Hario V60, and starts each day by hand grinding his coffee before enjoying a cup prepared with care and attention to detail.

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