I Tried the First Hot Sauce Formulated for Coffee, and It Gave My Morning Brew an Extra Kick of Flavor and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Photo: Stocksy/ Anna Tabakova
In all honesty, changing my coffee order feels just as significant as committing to a brand new hair color. So, when I heard about a hot sauce formulated specifically for coffee, I immediately had questions.

While anyone close to me knows I love dousing my food with tons of hot sauce, adding it to coffee wasn’t something I had previously considered. I started to wonder: What would it taste like? Could I possibly like it more than my fave plant-based creamer? Of course, I had to try it to find out whether or not this was a hit or a miss. And boy, am I glad I did.

How the hot sauce coffee taste test really went down…

Before we delve into the health perks of adding hot sauce to coffee—which, surprisingly, there are many—I’m here to spill the beans on how my hot sauce coffee trial really went down. For my first time trying the unlikely combination, I chose to go with Ujjo’s hot sauce, which was specifically formulated for spiking coffee with a spicy twist. The female-founded, vegan, and gluten-free hot sauce brand uses natural ingredients, like powdered chilis, and warming spices to add sweetness and heat to your morning cup of joe.

Ujjo comes in two flavors: one is designed for light roasts, while the other is meant for dark roasts. Because I’m typically a medium roast kind of gal, I decided to try both. Then, to stay as true to the product's intended use as possible, I swung by my local coffee shop and picked up two cups of black coffee (a blonde and a dark roast). Now, the fun part: bringing on the heat with Ujjo’s collection of hot sauces for coffee.

Light roast hot sauce

First up, the blonde roast coffee paired with the light roast hot sauce. As per the instructions on the bottle, I started adding the hot sauce in one-quarter teaspoon increments—and trust me when I say that a little goes a long way. A small serving of Ujjo’s hot sauce packs a mean punch; however, when diluted into the coffee, the flavor is explosively good. It has a refreshing and zingy taste with earthy notes of ginger and citrus.

And although I don’t usually enjoy my coffee all black, I wanted to see how much sweetness the hot sauce really added on its own—which wasn’t too much at all. It was subtle and didn’t overpower the coffee whatsoever. Instead, the hot sauce (which is made without vinegar, BTW, which helps balance out the already-acidic nature of coffee) added soft, cozy spiciness and warmth; I felt a pleasant tingly effect on my tongue without needing to run to the fridge to chug a gallon of milk. Of course, if you like things spicier, you can definitely dial up the amount of hot sauce you splash into your mug.

Dark roast hot sauce

Next up, the dark roast hot sauce paired with a dark roast coffee. As it turns out, it was hands-down my favorite combination. The hot sauce cut the edge and bitterness of the intense dark roast and helped neutralize its acidic profile with its sweet, warm, and comforting flavor with tasting notes of cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla, and molasses. It was also the sauce I liked best on its own, which can also be used for much more than just black coffee (like lattes, mochas, teas, desserts, or really whatever else your hot sauce-loving heart desires).

What are the benefits of adding hot sauce to coffee?

Aside from a pleasant flavor, stirring hot sauce into coffee can add a few additional health benefits to your morning brew. As registered dietitian Robin Foroutan, RD, previously told Well+Good, the capsaicin (the compound found in chili peppers that makes them hot) in hot sauce is high in antioxidants, which is critical for staving off diseases caused by free radicals—aka unstable molecules that our bodies create in response to the daily stresses of living. Plus, capsaicin is one of the best longevity-boosting and anti-inflammatory spices, according to Gary W. Small, MD, the physician in chief for behavioral health at Hackensack Meridian Health.

Some research also suggests that capsaicin may help reduce some types of pain. "Capsaicin helps to reduce the amount of substance P produced by the body, which is a neuropeptide that the body sends to the brain to signal pain. The less substance P there is, the less feelings of pain the brain registers," Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and founder of BZ Nutrition, previously told Well+Good.

TL;DR? I can confidently say adding hot sauce to coffee is hands down a win in my book, and I'll be making this delicious (and anti-inflammatory) spicy apple pie macchiato recipe on repeat all fall long.

Spicy Apple Pie Macchiato Recipe

Yields 1 serving

1 Tsp Dark Roast Ujjo
1 Tsp Adagio candy apple tea
2 shots espresso
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup frothed oat milk

1. Bring water to a boil, then steep tea for 10 minutes. You want it to be strong so that you can still taste it after the milk and espresso are added.

2. Add Ujjo and two shots of espresso, stirring to combine.

3. Froth milk in a separate container, then pour into a cup to combine.

4. Top with salted caramel syrup, brown sugar, and Dark Roast Ujjo drizzle.

A dietitian delves into the benefits of drinking coffee:

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