I received a question from a reader about how to improve the flavor of coffee with herbs and spices. Not being a coffee drinker, I asked some fellow herb enthusiasts for ideas. They were so creative, I thought I should pass along their ideas:
A Hint of Spice – “When I want a special coffee, I crush a bit of cinnamon stick and grated nutmeg into the coffee grounds before brewing. It mellows out the coffee and tastes lovely.”
Herbs With Coffee – “I use fresh stevia leaves on top of the grounds when I make coffee. Mexican Marigold Mint (Tagetes lucida) leaves are also good. Experiment with it to suit your taste!”
Constant Comment For Coffee – “I love to put really good coffee in the basket, then a big chunk of orange peel, a few whole cloves, and a stick of cinnamon in the bottom of the pot, so that they steep longer than they would with the grounds in the basket.”
A Puerto Rican Twist – “I happen to love spiced coffee especially in the winter. Being from Puerto Rico I like ‘café con leche’ (coffee with milk or, as the French call it, ’cafe au lait’) but unlike the usual Puerto Rican coffee I like to add a pinch each of powdered nutmeg, cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves, and a few drops of vanilla – not many, it can get bitter. Very tasty!”
In Arabic countries, cardamom is often used to flavor coffee. Joan Russell, who wrote an article on cardamom in “Herbs & Spices,” provided this recipe. A sip of this will transport you to the world of Arabian Nights!
- 8 whole green cardamom pods
- 8 cups water
- 8 heaping tablespoons of Arabic coffee
- 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar
- Bruise the cardamom pods by placing them in a plastic bag and crushing with a rolling pin or hammer. Put water and cardamom pods in a saucepan and bring to boil.
- Simmer for 3 minute and then add to the ground coffee in a regular drip coffeemaker. Make a pot of drip coffee the regular way.
- Strain coffee if any seeds are floating. Add cream, sugar, or whipped cream.