Can you use heavy whipping cream in coffee? Why You Should Start Doing This.

a picture of heavy whipping cream being poured into coffee

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Yes, you can use heavy whipping cream in your espresso shot/filtered coffee to enhance the overall flavor, texture, and body of your beverage.

The real question is— can you add heavy whipping cream traditionally and culturally without hurting the sentiments and authentic flavor of your espressos? 

Also, yes! Interestingly, heavy whipping cream doesn’t decrease the authentic taste of coffee beans; it intensifies the texture and body of your espresso shot without diluting the taste. The truth is, heavy whipping cream has a dense body but very minimal flavor. 

The organic, Greengrass, naturally-obtained heavy whipping cream tastes like thick, unflavored (white) butter.

Heavy whipping cream is naturally obtained when the pasteurized milk is settled during the manufacturing process. A thick creamy layer of dense fat forms at the top of the milk and is made into heavy whipping cream. 

Most of the espresso and milk-based beverages use foamy milk but did you know— heavy whipping cream is more ketogenic and diet-friendly than whole milk?

Another plus is that heavy cream has less lactose content than milk. The amount of lactose in heavy cream isn’t enough to cause stomach issues, and you can actually consume it without having to run to the bathroom. 

When consumed in the correct quantity, heavy cream can be used as a part of your enriching ketogenic diet. Sure, heavy whipping cream has (healthy) saturated fat, but it can be transformed into ketone and further used as a great source of fuel. 

A pink mug with a latte that has heavy whipping cream in it designed to look like a flower
coffee latte art on the wood desk at coffee shop

What Does Heavy whipping Cream taste Like In Coffee

It is the ultimate treat to use heavy cream in your coffee.

It actually gives it a nutty flavor while making it thicker and silkier. It will give your coffee a completely different experience than what you are used to.

You have to froth it with a steam wand to get the best flavor profile and texture.

How much heavy cream should you add to coffee?

The answer can depend on how you are brewing your coffee. Is it a solid heavy cream and espresso combination like a frappuccino, or is it like an Irish coffee with heavy whipping cream with 1/5th ratio to the overall beverage? 

Your beverage and heavy cream percentage can also depend on your dietary intake and how much your palate allows you to consume.

For a healthy start, add 2-3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream to the espresso shot as you do to a cafe noisette or macchiato. 

Macchiato adds 2-3 dollops of foamy milk. Instead, you can create a similar recipe with heavy whipping cream.

You can either foam it or whisk it.

Foaming directly from a steaming wand will whip the heavy cream and also heat it. Whisking it will evenly distribute the mass. While using a steaming wand, steam it without trying to create too much foam. 

If you are on a strict ketogenic diet, go with coffee/espresso that uses less heavy cream unless you are a great fan of milk-based espresso beverages like latte or cappuccino.

If this the case, you replace milk with heavy whipping cream and enjoy large-cup frappe coffee. 

Always measure the coffee and heavy cream ratio while brewing; this will allow you to keep your calories in check. Here are some grand coffee scales to measure accuracy while brewing.

a grey coffee cup showing curdled heavy cream in the coffee

Does heavy whipping cream curdle in coffee?

Yes and no.

If you are a frequent heavy cream coffee drinker, you must have noticed that sometimes your coffee curdles, and other times, it doesn’t.

The curdling of coffee can depend on various factors— the temperature of your beverage, the acidic content of coffee, the ratio of acidic content and heavy cream, etc. 

The very first thing to check is the freshness of your heavy whipping cream. The older the cream is, the quicker it will curdle.

Hence, coffee usually only curdles when you use heavy cream that’s gone bad or is close to expiring. Always use fresh heavy cream. I would suggest making it at home rather than buying a sealed container of it. 

It’s not just cream that curdles; milk, almond milk all curdle at the contact of acid.

Now, why does cream curdle coffee, and what exactly is coffee curdling? Curdling is lumping or clogging of coffee in big curds and lumps. 

It’s no secret that coffee is acidic; coffee beans and their essential oils have high acidic content; this content is also responsible for the bitter and harsher taste coffee can have.

When dairy (anything from whipped cream to milk) comes in contact with acid, it starts to lump. The process is similar to making curd using lemon. 

Another factor responsible for curdling is high temperature. Higher temperature accelerates the acidic reaction inside the beverage. So, you will notice curdling in hotter beverages than iced coffees. 

The ratio of cream used while brewing: Small amount of heavy whipping cream isn’t enough to curdle the coffee. The coffee has a higher probability of lumping when you use a high amount of heavy cream with light-roasted coffee beans. 

Are you using sweeteners? Sweeteners and other flavoring agents may contain high amounts of acids like maple syrup has a decent amount of citric acid. When these acids are put together, they accelerate curdling. 

How to keep your coffee from curdling?

  • Use fresh heavy cream and try to make it at home. Heavy whipping cream has lactic acid that sours the cream with time. 
  • Don’t allow your brew to get cold, or don’t allow it to age. Drink fresh. 
  • Don’t use too much cream. 

Don’t confuse lumps with cream film. The cream film appears at the top of the glass when the coffee’s left for a few seconds to keep the coffee hotter.

You can stir the beverage to get rid of the film. On the other hand, lumps are clearly visible as lumps. 

If you don’t see lumps but you notice that the flavor isn’t quite what it should be it is probably curdled coffee.

Curdled coffee has an awful taste with a weird body and is very different from what you are used to. 

the word yes in the metal press art answering the question. Can you use heavy whipping cream in coffee

Can you use heavy whipping cream in coffee instead of half and half?

Half and half and heavy whipping cream are almost similar with some distinct characteristics.

Before I explain the difference and which one’s better, let’s know what ‘half and half is.

Half and half is a combination/mixture of milk and heavy cream in equal ratios. In simpler words— it’s half milk and half cream, 50:50 proportion.

For example, if you are using 50gms of milk, you will have to add 50gms of cream to create half and half. 

Most of the time, heavy cream is an excellent substitute for half and half. Heavy cream is fattier, richer, and denser than half and half.

Heavy whipping cream also has a low lactose content and is keto-friendly. Half and half has a lot of lactose, more carbs, and less fat. 

They are both dense, but heavy cream beats half and half in this category.

Thus, being a superior dairy product for whipped cream and other sauces. You can use it as a substitute for half and half.

Unlike half and half, heavy whipping cream is also naturally plain and has a mild taste. 

Yes, you can use heavy cream instead of half and half since it will create more texture, is creamier, and less sweet.

Half and half is naturally flavorful and will create sweeter notes in your coffee; the same is not the case with heavy cream.

Cafe breve is a milk-based espresso beverage that uses half and half. You can absolutely brew cafe breve with heavy whipping cream instead of half and half. 

Can you use it instead of butter?

No, heavy whipping cream is still too watery to be used as butter. Butter is not liquid at room temperature either. It’s a dense, oily, and creamy dairy product.

It has also been and still is a massive part of breakfasts and families. In India, people still make butter (Makhan) at home using milk, heavy cream, curd, etc. 

Although heavy whipping cream cannot be used as butter, it’s actually one of the main ingredients to make butter. Butter industries use heavy cream in the manufacturing process.

Traditional homemade methods use curd and heavy cream to make it. 

So, if you are out of butter but have abundant heavy cream, you can whisk butter out of it. There are many traditional ways to make butter at home. It’s a lengthy process (not very cost-efficient) but fun to do. 

How to make butter at home using heavy cream to put in your coffee

This sounds like a chore (because it is), but you would be surprised how many people do this and add it to their coffee to make it richer and heavier.

  • Collect heavy cream from pasteurized milk. When you heat and cool down the milk, a thick layer of cream is filmed at the top of the milk. Collect as much as you can (at least kg). 
  • If it’s a chore, you can always collect it every day when you pasteurize milk at home and decide to make butter out of it at the end of the month. Souring heavy cream is not bad as long as it’s stored in the fridge. 
  • Once collected, add a spoonful of curd to the mixture and whisk it nicely. 
  • Allow the heavy cream to sit with curd for a day. 
  • The next day, transform the mixture into an earthen pot, add water, and whisk it with a traditional wooden tool. 
  • Whisk it for as long as possible. You must feel the curdling of the cream inside. 
  • Butter floats at the surface and can be strained out easily. Don’t expect too much to come out of it, though. 

That’s one way of m aking butter, but you can try other methods as well. 

a coffee frappe in a teal cup with a thick dollop of heavy whipping cream on top with chocolate sprinkles

The difference between heavy cream, half and half, and coffee creamer

Heavy cream and a half and half are both natural dairy products sourced from milk. Oppositely, coffee creamer is a sweetener and uses artificial flavors.

As discussed, both of them have many similarities and differences, but coffee creamer is entirely different and is dairy-free. 

Heavy cream

Heavy cream is made of pasteurized milk. When milk is boiled and cooled down, it creates a thick film of heavy cream. You either buy heavy cream at the supermarket or make it fresh at home.

Readymade heavy cream can have added flavors and artificial ingredients. Thus, it’s best to make your own for natural, rich flavors. 

  • Heavy cream doesn’t have strong flavors; it’s not sweet like milk. 
  • It has a rich, dense body with creamy profiles. Its blank taste and mouthful bite is savoring. 
  • Heavy cream is dense. 
  • It’s sourced from milk. 
  • Heavy cream can be used to thicken sauces. 
  • You can also use it for whipped cream. 
  • High-fat content.
  • It’s used to make butter, paneer, icecreams, and ghee.
  • It’s ketogenic and very healthy. 
  • Heavy cream has a high amount of fat and low carbs suitable for a keto diet. 

Half and half

Half and half is made by adding half milk and half cream. It has a 50:50 ratio of milk and cream. Half and half is a diluted version of heavy cream and thickened version of milk. It’s an intermediate between milk and heavy cream. 

You can make half and half at home or buy at the supermarket. There’s also a fat-free half and half that uses corn syrup instead of heavy cream. 

  • Half and a half has a similar taste of milk since it’s made of milk. It’s richer in flavors than heavy cream. 
  • It’s dense but not as thick as heavy milk. It’s suitable for syrupy sauces and hot beverages. 
  • Half and half is not too dense and not too light. It has a smooth profile. 
  • It’s also sourced from milk. 
  • Half and half is used to flavor coffee and other milk-based beverages.
  • It cannot be used as whipped cream but makes excellent sauces. 
  • Its fat content is much less than heavy cream but has high lactose content. 
  • It’s not ketogenic because there’s not enough fat and too many carbs.

Coffee creamer

Coffee creamers are used as a substitute for milk, cream, and a half and half in hot beverages for people who cannot consume dairy, fat, or are lactose intolerant.

Coffee creamers are dairy-free and made of sugar (a lot of it), thickening agents, fat-free milk, and fat-free condensed milk. 

  • Coffee creamers can be dense, syrupy, or powered. 
  • Their purpose is to add texture, body, and flavors to the coffee. 
  • It’s fat-free and dairy-free. 
  • It’s exclusively used to sweeten coffee. 
  • It has a lot of sugar and thus a lot of carbohydrates. Sugar can be unhealthy, so check the content and use minimal coffee creamer per day to avoid adverse side effects of sugar and its high percentage. 
the word calorie written in type writer keys on a black and brown background

The difference in fat and calorie content of heavy cream, half and half, and coffee creamer. 

Heavy cream is rich in fats. Although fats are considered risky for health and dietary, irrespective of that, fats are actually equally important.

Our body needs 25-28% of fats to function correctly. Fortunately, heavy whipping cream falls under natural and healthy fat. It’s even considered a crucial part of a ketogenic diet. 

The fat present in heavy cream can be transferred into energy fuel (ketone) inside the liver. 

  • Heavy cream accounts for 36% of fat. For example, 119 grams of heavy cream contains 43grams of fat. 
  • Similarly, since heavy whipping cream is rich in fat, it’s rich in calories as well. Half a cup of heavy cream (119grams) contains 400 calories! 

Please note: Calories are a measurement of energies your body receives from a particular food. Avoid sugar,over-processed oils, carbohydrates since they have empty calories and zero nutritional values to provide power. 

Fat is an essential macronutrient that’s needed by our body daily to have a healthy lifestyle. 

Half and half has less the amount of fat and calories compared to heavy cream. Since it’s half cream, it will have fats as well. 

  • Half and half fat content: 15-18% of fat or 20grams of fat in every 119grams. It’s rich in milk content as well. 
  • Calories in half and half: 15ml of it will have 20 grams of calories. Half a cup of half and half will have 100-150 calories. 

Coffee creamer has less fat content compared to the other two. A tablespoon of coffee creamer can have 1 gram of fat. This percentage can vary from brand to brand and the ingredients used to make the coffee creamer. 

  • Fat content: 1 gm/ 15gm of coffee creamer.
  • Calorie content: The calorie content of coffee creamer can vary because they use many sweeteners, including a lot of sugar (which is mostly empty calories). Universally, coffee creamer can serve 20 calories per tablespoon. 

Is it keto-friendly?

Yes, heavy whipping cream is very much keto-friendly because of its low-carb and high-fat content. Heavy whipping cream has 35-40% of fat.

The carb ratio in heavy cream’s content is close to negligible. Apart from the said two, heavy cream is a healthy source of calories, Vitamin A, D, E, chlorine, calcium, etc. 

How is heavy cream keto-friendly, and what exactly is a ketogenic diet? The ketogenic diet has short-term benefits of losing weight and shouldn’t be pursued as a healthy dietary plan for an extended period.

Our body uses and functions on three essential macronutrients— carbohydrates, fats, and protein. 

  • Carbohydrates are the primary source of calories and energy in our body. 
  • Fat is the second source of energy in our body, but it’s preserved for later use. Fat is stored energy. It’s maintained in the form of body fat. 
  • Protein: Protein is required to regulate internal mechanisms like— repairing the cells, regenerating cells, improvising cell structure, function, regulation, etc. 

When your body doesn’t consume enough carbs and fats for fuel, it starts processing protein as fuel. Don’t allow your body to use protein as a fuel, and make sure to provide it with enough carbs and fats in general. 

A ketogenic diet has a similar concept. Your body needs carbs for fuel and functionality. When you don’t consume enough carbohydrates, your body will start processing reserved fat and protein for fueling energy.

A ketogenic diet cuts your carb intake so that you consume fat and allow your body to burn fat. Hence, helping you lose weight and unhealthy fat reserves. 

The quantity of heavy cream that you should consume every day can depend on your overall calorie intake. 

Twelve hour intermittent fasting time concept with clock on plate over a rustic wooden table / background. Top view.

Will it break a fast during intermittent fasting? 

Again, yes and no. A small quantity of heavy cream might not change your body’s dynamics and might not give you enough calories to break the cycle, but the high dosage of heavy whipping cream can. 

Before we get into the details, let’s know a little about intermittent fasting. If you are trying to lose weight, intermittent fasting may not be a surprise to you. Intermittent fasting decides an eating pattern for you to lose weight. 

For example, The famous 16/8 intermittent fasting allows you to eat within eight hours and then fasting for 16 hours without breakfast.

In the 16/8 plan, you skip breakfast and eat lunch at 12pm. This may change but we’ll use noon this example.

Your eating window would be from 12 pm to 8 pm; you have to eat your daily caloric intake within this 8-hour window. Then you would stop eating at 9 pm and fast until 12 pm the next day.

After consuming dinner, you cannot have anything for the next 16 hours. This dietary plan helps in losing weight. 

Intermittent fasting doesn’t decide what you should and shouldn’t eat, but your plate must be filled with healthy food. Eat enough calories to have energy. 

Although there are no studies, the general rule of thumb says if you eat anything that gives you calories, and thereby energy breaks the fast.

A famous random theory says anything more than 50 calories breaks a fast. Studies suggest any amount of calories will break a fast as long as it’s being used as fuel. 

Heavy whipping cream has a lot of calories and fat to supplement your body with. A single spoonful of heavy cream has 50 calories, so it’s enough to break your morning fast. 

Most common coffees with heavy whipping cream

Any milk-based espresso coffee can be transformed into a heavy whipping cream espresso coffee.

Moreover, not only espressos, but you can also use heavy whipping cream in filtered coffee like the famous Irish coffee. 

The tastes and flavors of these coffees with heavy whipping cream can depend on the ratios you use while brewing.

Too much heavy cream will create a coffee with a dense body, so make sure you choose the ratio of coffee to heavy whipping cream that will give you the flavor profile you prefer. 

If you are a big-time milk-based espresso lover like lattes or cappuccino, a high amount of heavy cream won’t bother you as much.

Unlike milk in the latte that sweetens and dilutes down the coffee, heavy cream will increase the density of your beverage without sweetening or ruining the coffee’s taste. 

You will a nutty silky-textured coffee’ with less bitterness and less acidity.

Heavy cream reduces down the bitter flavors with its body and also dilutes the acidity to negligible.  

If you don’t consume too much milk, preparing a macchiato with 2-3 (less) dollops of heavy cream will give you the body of heavy cream without messing with the dark taste of coffee.

A frappe in a clear ridged glass on a brown coaster with heavy whipping cream on top with an oreo in it.

Frappe’s coffee

Frappe is a famous greek iced coffee. It’s a blend of milk/heavy whipping cream, espresso/instant coffee, sugar/sweetener, chocolate syrup for garnishing.

Frappe is widely enjoyed throughout the world and has many recipes to try. The variants of frappe coffee can use espresso as well as instant coffee, whichever is your choice. 

I personally love espresso and use two shots for every beverage that I make, but you can always use instant coffee if that’s what is available and what you enjoy. Powdered instant coffee can be directly poured into the jar, no need to brew it separately. 

Frappe with espresso 

  • Prepare all the ingredients— espresso shot, heavy whipping cream, ice cubes (small cubes), sweetener, milk (optional), chocolate syrup (optional) 
  • To brew espresso shots, you need an espresso machine. The ideal setting for espresso is 190-205 degrees Fahrenheit temperature for brewing (drinking temperature should be 160-180 degrees), brew time: 25 seconds. 
  • To prepare heavy whipping cream, take out the cream and whisk it properly to remove curds and lumps. Whisk it smooth if you have a steaming wand along with an espresso machine, steam to smooth. 
  • People use milk and heavy whipping cream both, but you can also go heavy cream solo.
  • Take one/two espresso shots and ½ a glass of heavy cream, 2 cups of small ice cubes, sugar (unless you don’t like sweet coffee). Cold down the espresso (it’s optional)
  • Pour the heavy cream first, add espresso shots, ice cubes, and sweetener (optional) in the mixer and grind the beverage together. 
  • Pour the beverage into a big glass and swirl heavy whipping cream at the top. Garnish it with chocolate syrup, cocoa powder if you’d like. 
  • I suggest you drink the coffee fresh instead of storing it in the refrigerator to avoid curdling. 
  • Add additional ice cubes if you’d like and drink with a straw. It’s delicious as it is with or without sweeteners. 
Picture of an espresso cup sitting under a spouted portafilter with thick crema coming out.

Espresso

Surprisingly enough, you can brew any milk-based espresso beverage with heavy whipping cream. Heavy cream enhances the body of these milk-based beverages. 

There are various varieties of these espressos with less or more heavy cream, whichever is your preference. Some of the wild range of these beverages are: 

You can learn about these beverages, their brewing method, and more drinks in this article here. 

An Irish coffee with heavy whipping cream in it, and another empty glass sitting on a stand

Irish coffee

Irish coffee is one of the most lavish beverages that coffee and cocktail lovers enjoy. The beverage is prepared using filtered coffee, Irish whiskey, and heavy whipping cream. 

Steps to make Irish coffee:

  • Brew filtered coffee using a french press, drip coffee, Chemex, or whichever filtered coffee you prefer the most. 
  • Heat the cup to maintain temperature stability. 
  • Add sugar at the base of the glass. You can use cubes or crystals. 
  • Pour three ounces of coffee into the Irish glass. 
  • With one or 1.5 ounces of whiskey, you can increase or decrease your tolerance and likings. 
  • Thicken the heavy whipping cream and pour it into a squeeze bottle. 
  • Use the squeeze bottle to firmly squeeze out heavy cream at the top of the Irish beverage and pour until the brim of the glass. The heavy whipping cream should fill ⅕ or ⅖ of the glass after pouring coffee and whiskey.
  • Serve hot. 

Irish coffee has minimal alcohol content, even with pure whiskey. Individuals with less tolerance might get a little tipsy with Irish coffee, but that’s no harm. People with a high tolerance will get more alert and awake.

How to get heavy whipping cream at the top like whip cream without sinking? 

It’s actually not challenging to have heavy whipping cream sit at the top of the beverage because it’s already rich and has a texture that’s made for sitting like whip cream.

In fact, heavy whipping cream is widely used to make whipped cream because it is heavy and has a composure. 

To make sure your heavy whipping cream not sink, try these steps out: 

  • Try to strain the heavy cream as much as possible. This will remove and reduce the milk content. Simultaneously, don’t lose the oils from your heavy whipping cream because the oil separates away from water. This separation allows heavy cream to not mix with coffee. 
  • Whisk it to induce air in the cream; air introduction will reduce your cream’s weight and allow it to float at the top. 
  • After introducing air, foam the milk using a steaming wand to make the heavy whipping cream more airy and floaty. 
  • Fresh cream will be smoother and will tend to mix with the coffee. Allow the fresh cream to rest in the refrigerator for a day. A day will weigh out the oily content and remove water.

Cream that is too thick will drop with gravity; thin cream will get mixed with coffee; you must find an intermediate point between the two for your cream to float. It will take practice to perfect your cream for Irish coffee, but who are we to stop an enthusiast?

Try to retain oils in the cream as much as possible and make it airy with whisking and foaming. Before you brew Irish, brew a macchiato with heavy whipping cream to understand the floatation of it. Then, try Irish coffee and try until you ace your coffee. 

Creative vegetarian cooking at home with fresh healthy vegetables chopped, kitchen utensils, and healthy eating text concepts at the center
Creative vegetarian cooking at home with fresh healthy vegetables chopped, kitchen utensils and healthy eating text concepts at center

Buy organic or grass-fed cream.

We cannot strain the importance of organic food products enough. Dairy is not different. You must, under all circumstances, consume organic or grass-fed heavy cream for better nutritional value and ethical values. 

I understand the unavailability and higher price of organic dairy products, if you have it in your budget and it’s available, go for the best.

Grass-fed milk/dairy not only has more nutritional value, but they also have a high amount of Omega-3s (100-150% more than industry milk). 

In fact, grass-fed dairy has 50% more Omega-3s than organic milk as well. Farmers who practice natural grass-grazing might include a grain diet as well but in less quantity. 

Ethically, cows naturally thrive on the grass, freely roaming around and choosing their own meals without any restriction. These practices give cows freedom, and the result is better milk and dairy products. 

Alternatively, grain-fed cows are often malnourished because grains may include soy, corn, vegetable oils, antibiotics, artificial additives, and fillers, which isn’t healthy for cows. 

Benefits of organic, grass-fed dairy products: 

  • Rich in omega-3 and helps in weight loss. 
  • Also rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). This acid is known to fight off cancer. 
  • Low in carbs and promotes keto diet. 

Organic dairy and grass-fed dairy can be two different products but have significant quality differences. Organic dairy products are only pesticide-free; they still grain-fed cows for higher yield. 

Thus, don’t confuse organic milk with grass-fed products. If you want grass-fed, check the mark marked as grass-fed boldly to avoid confusion and wrong choices. 

Conclusion

Despite the rumors, turns out heavy whipping cream is not as bad as we thought, right? With so many health benefits and keto-friendliness, it’s almost as healthy as anything can get. 

You can switch your milk-based espresso beverages to heavy cream-based espresso beverages in an instant without any significant side effects on your health and weight. 

People with lactose intolerance can also enjoy a bit of heavy cream since it contains a very minimal amount of lactose; what’s stopping you from brewing your fresh beverage? 

Invest in your ingredients and play with different espresso recipes and find the one that’s exclusive to your taste, liking, and experiments. Not just espresso, try it with coffee and invent various new flavors unknown to the world! 

Heavy whipping cream in coffee creates a bold taste that’s rare to experience. Coffee, in itself, is bold with a rich, characterful body; heavy cream enhances those characteristics and brews almost heavenly hot/iced heaven. 

If you haven’t tried it already, get your milk whipping and make some of the most delicious beverages right now, I’ll leave you to it. Let us know the taste and flavor profile you experienced the first time you had a heavy cream espresso/coffee beverage.