Last updated on September 13th, 2023 by Catherine Reed
While I’m undeniably a fan of simple, well-brewed, black coffee, sometimes, a bit of creaminess is a real treat. Most people would assume that means I turn to milk, creamer, or half-and-half to add that touch of sweetness and silky texture.
And while I do use those on occasion, I genuinely enjoy heavy whipping cream in coffee.
Yes, heavy whipping cream is a less-common choice, but it’s exceptionally rich and truly decadent, making it a fun option if you want to switch things up.
Here’s a look at heavy whipping cream in coffee, including information about heavy whipping cream, health details, and more.
- What Is Heavy Whipping Cream?
- Health Pros and Cons of Heavy Whipping Cream
- Enhancing Coffee with Heavy Whipping Cream
- Prep and Technique
What Is Heavy Whipping Cream?
Heavy whipping cream – also known simply as heavy cream – is traditionally a dairy product that contains a minimum of 36 percent milk fat. Most range between 36 and 40 percent milk fat, with most of the rest of the composition mainly being from milk. However, companies may add other ingredients, such as flavorings, sweeteners, and stabilizers.
When it comes to nutritional value, heavy whipping cream is about 405 calories per one-half cup, depending on the brand and exact composition. It contains around 43 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 3 grams of carbs, plus, you’ll find some vitamins and minerals in the mix, including vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as calcium, choline, and phosphorus.
Making heavy whipping cream involves separating the milk fats that rise to the top of whole milk during the production process. Essentially, pasteurized milk is sent through a separator, the fat is collected, then it’s added back to milk in specific proportions to create the different types of dairy milk and creams.
The difference between milk and heavy whipping cream is just the fat content. During production, less fat is returned to products marketed as milk, and more fat goes into dairy products created as creams.
The precise amount of fat is what determines the product category. For example, whole milk is a little less than 4 percent milk fat, half-and-half contains between 10.5 and 18 percent, and heavy cream has at least 36 percent.
Now, it is critical to note that not all products marketed as heavy whipping cream contain dairy. There are vegan versions on the market, too.
For example, you could try Silk heavy whipping cream in coffee if you’re looking for a vegan option. It has similar nutritional value when it comes to fats, protein, carbs, and calories and can offer a texture that’s close to the dairy version.
Health Pros and Cons of Heavy Whipping Cream
I’m a health-conscious person, so if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering, “Is heavy whipping cream in coffee healthy, or is heavy whipping cream in coffee bad for you?” Generally, that depends on your perspective.
One of the benefits of heavy whipping cream in coffee is that heavy cream contains fat-soluble vitamins in higher quantities than you find in lower-fat dairy. Plus, your body has an easier time absorbing fat-soluble vitamins when they’re consumed with fat. So, if you’re looking for a good source of vitamins A, D, E, and K, heavy whipping cream in your coffee could work.
Fat and Calories
Now, the big concern many people have involves other aspects of the heavy whipping cream nutrition information, particularly the saturated fat. But recent scientific studies indicate that dairy fats have a neutral or positive effect on cardiovascular health. So, moderate consumption can potentially be part of a healthy lifestyle.
When it comes to the coffee with heavy cream calories, heavy whipping cream does add to the calorie count significantly. Heavy whipping cream has more calories than other milk products, though it may have more or fewer calories than sweetened coffee creamers that use sugar.
Some people are curious about heavy whipping cream in coffee for weight loss, especially if they’re on a high-fat, low-carb diet like keto. Research showed that consuming full-fat dairy instead of low-fat versions may reduce obesity risk. Consuming dairy fats may also help protect people against Type 2 diabetes, according to another study.
Now, there’s no scientific evidence that heavy whipping cream in coffee specifically promotes weight loss. Plus, heavy whipping cream is high calorie, so consuming a lot of it could lead to weight gain regardless of your other eating habits.
But if it aligns with your diet plan and you watch your calorie intake and macros, you could potentially use it without harming your weight loss goals.
Enhancing Coffee with Heavy Whipping Cream
Using heavy whipping cream in coffee as creamer can enhance your coffee experience. What I appreciate most is that the flavor is a richer version of milk or half-and-half, and it results in a silky, smooth, and decadent texture.
Usually, heavy whipping cream adds a light touch of sweetness to your coffee, too. But one thing I’ve discovered is that it can have a tendency to coat the tongue a bit. Since that’s the case, you typically want to use it alongside a robust dark roast coffee, ensuring the flavor of the coffee is strong enough to remain present after you mix in the heavy whipping cream.
Prep and Technique
If you’re trying to figure out how to use heavy whipping cream in coffee, it’s reasonably simple. The basic coffee and heavy whipping cream recipe is one or two tablespoons of heavy cream per eight ounces of coffee.
Pour your coffee into your cup, add the heavy cream, and mix it very, very well. I personally prefer to use a handheld milk frother to incorporate the heavy whipping cream into my coffee, as it whirls it around quickly for even dispersion. But you can also try whisking the heavy cream a bit before adding it to your coffee and then giving it a thorough stirring.
And if you’re wondering, “Can you froth heavy whipping cream for coffee?”, similar to frothing with creamer, the answer is “Yes!” Heavy whipping cream can go into electric milk frothers, which is a really convenient approach. You’ll get a rich, stable foam, too, thanks to the high percentage of milk fats.
Since you’re only using a little bit of heavy whipping cream for each cup, you need to store the heavy cream correctly, too. Typically, it’ll last five to seven days in the refrigerator after opening. Make sure the lid is on tight, or transfer it to an airtight container to limit air exposure.
Is It Better to Use Heavy Whipping Cream or Milk in Coffee?
Technically, neither heavy whipping cream nor milk in coffee is better than the other. How people like their coffee is very personal, so it all depends on the flavor, texture, and nutritional values you prefer.
If you want a rich, creamy coffee and aren’t worried about the higher number of calories, heavy cream is the way to go. If you want a lighter flavor, less creaminess, or lower calorie counts, stick with milk. For something between the two, you might want to try half-and-half instead.
Is Heavy Whipping Cream in Coffee Healthy?
There’s a bit of a debate about whether heavy whipping cream in coffee is healthy. However, that doesn’t mean it’s inherently unhealthy. As with most foods, moderation is usually the key. Anything in excess can come with downsides. For heavy whipping cream, the calories can add up fast, for example.
If you want to use heavy whipping cream in your coffee, you need to account for its nutritional value. Make sure you account for the calories and various macros, and ensure that your coffee drink will fit into your broader eating plan. That way, you don’t accidentally overdo it.
Is Heavy Whipping Cream in Coffee Keto Friendly?
Heavy whipping cream in coffee can work if you’re on a keto diet. The main reason it’s keto-friendly is that heavy cream is high fat, and keto focuses on higher amounts of fat consumption.
Plus, it’s low-carb. Just be aware that heavy whipping cream is also low-protein. While keto is primarily a moderate-protein diet, you do need to make sure your macros are hitting the right points. So, you may need to adjust your protein and fat intakes in your other food choices to compensate for the addition of heavy whipping cream in your coffee.
Does Heavy Whipping Cream in Coffee Break a Fast?
If you’re wondering, “Can you use heavy whipping cream in coffee while fasting?” or whether heavy cream in your coffee will break a fast, there’s a bit of a debate.
Some experts say that consuming any calories – regardless of whether they’re from fat, protein, or carbs – does break a fast. The reason is that it takes your body out of autophagy, which is a bodily process of scavenging old tissues that can occur when fasting. In that case, putting any heavy whipping cream in your coffee would break your fast.
However, if adding heavy cream to your coffee doesn’t take you out of ketosis, you could still get some of the fasting benefits. The key here is to make sure that you aren’t ingesting too many carbs.
Since heavy whipping cream is low-carb – especially if you’re only adding a tablespoon or two – one cup of coffee with it likely won’t take you out of ketosis. So, if you’re concerned about maintaining ketosis but aren’t worried about autophagy, then a little heavy whipping cream in your coffee is potentially okay.
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- About the Author
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Catherine Reed is a freelance writer and coffee enthusiast. She has been a lover of coffee, espresso, and various café-style concoctions for more than 20 years, and enjoys exploring everything the world of coffee has to offer. Whether it’s trying out new coffee technologies or exploring small-batch creations from independent micro-roasters, Catherine is open to any coffee experience, and aims to share everything she’s learned with discerning readers interested in leveling up their coffee game.