Some coffees are rich and complex and full of delicate flavours. They sparkle in the cup, with just the right amounts of acidity and body, with maybe some stone fruit or dried berry character. (Hello, Ethiopian beans!)
And some coffees are flatter – a bit more dull, for lack of a better word. The beans are still fresh and of acceptable quality, but they lack a bit of zazz when brewed. They need a lift in order to reveal themselves. And it’s in those cases when you might want to up the game with your coffee sweetener. If you take sugar, white ain’t gonna cut it. You need something a bit more interesting.
Brown sugar is my natural choice for coffees like this. In an ideal world, I prefer to use Rogers Best Brown for the job, as it’s a solid compromise between golden and demerara, and contributes some of that wonderful brown sugar taste without stomping all over the other flavours. This is an especially good option when you’re drinking a darker roast.
Unfortunately, the winter here in Edmonton is cold and bone dry, so storing and using brown sugar for coffee at home or at the office is a constant battle against the lack of humidity. Soaking a ceramic brown sugar saver disc and dropping it in the bag will only last so long before you have to do it again and again. It’s also harder to get a consistent measure of brown sugar, because it clumps together and sometimes heaps itself on a spoon. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a hybrid? A free-flowing brown sugar that didn’t dry into a rock-hard clump, but that still came packed with brown-sugar flavour?
As luck would have it, such a magical product exists: Rogers Plantation Raw Free-Flowing Golden Brown Sugar. It’s sold in one-pound resealable plastic bags that are perfect for keeping in the pantry or at the office, and, unlike cubes of the same type of sugar (which are also available), they allow for measuring to whatever spec you need.
As the name suggests, the flavour is more golden brown sugar than darker brown, but it has enough character to liven up a flat cup of coffee. It adds a caramelly, toffee-ish taste that punches up the flavour. With more nuanced beans roasted on the light side of the spectrum, it might overwhelm. But with a strong, dark americano? Perfect.
I’ve also tried using it in some baking where I’d typically use white sugar, and it’s worked well for me. It made for a nice change in my pancakes, and I’d be curious to see how it works in a pie filling.
It’s convenient to use and store, and it adds more flavour than neutral white sugar. In short, I’m a fan.
Price: $4.49 for a 450-gram bag at Save-On Foods in Edmonton.
Value for Money: Not great, honestly. You could buy a 1 kilo bag of brown sugar for around the same price. You’re paying for the convenience, ease of use and that nice resealable bag, which makes it great for an office desk drawer.
Nutrition: 15 calories per teaspoon (4 grams). About par for the course with sugar.
Verdict: I love it. I try to keep some on hand at home and at the office for occasional use in coffee, especially in the winter in Edmonton.