Sometimes there is nothing better than a strong, steaming cup of coffee. I occasionally like to spoil myself with flavoured coffees like French Vanilla, Hazelnut and Caramel. But as much as I like flavoured coffees, I equally dislike all the artificial ingredients in many grocery store products. I love being able to innovate (and save money!) by flavouring my coffee with spices and other whole ingredients that I swap in for the nutritionally nasty ones.
Since flavoured coffees are so easy to make at home, why not try some of these ideas to give your morning cup of joe an extra kick in the flavour keister?
1. First up, chai spices!
Chai spices include ginger, ground cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, allspice, fennel, or cloves. A small amount of one or more of these spices sprinkled over ground coffee in a drip coffee maker makes a flavourful coffee that is delicious black or with your preferred milk or cream.
You can also use whole spices (broken or crushed to release some of the oils) in a drip coffee maker, but I don’t find the flavour as strong as with the ground spices. For an even bolder flavour, grind the whole spices with the beans and then make your coffee with the flavoured grounds. This packs a flavour wallop!
Though nutmeg is not considered one of the traditional chai spices, I still love it. It’s my current addiction and I have turned at least one friend on to this yummy spice.
For a truly original flavour combination, try experimenting with your own custom blend of chai or other warming spices.
2. Next, what about whole vanilla beans?
Using a knife, I make one or two cuts along the entire length of the beans to help release the flavour and I place one over coffee grounds in a drip coffee maker. This is a special treat because the floral nature of the vanilla really comes through and the same can’t be said for vanilla extract.
3. Next… chocolate!
Café mocha is a blend of chocolate and coffee and if there is a better combination than coffee and chocolate, I don’t know what it is. I like to melt 3 to 5 squares of high quality chocolate (65-75% cocoa solids is a good benchmark) in freshly brewed coffee for a sinfully creamy twist. Unsweetened cocoa is also nice and doesn’t come with any added sugar.
4. Who can forget great Canadian maple syrup?
I like using maple syrup instead of sugar or another sweetener for a tasty twist.
Now what about you: do you like your coffee plain or gussied up? What’s your favourite way to enjoy it?
Life is a plate… eat up!