You’ll have to forgive me. Coffee is a passion of mine, so it’s easy for me to go on and on about it. There’s so much to say about it, too! Seriously, there are entire blogs devoted entirely to the subject of coffee, so I think I can be excused for allowing a few posts on the topic on my own blog.
I used to drink my coffee with a splash of non-dairy flavored creamer; you know, the CoffeeMate or International Delights kind. Then, in an effort to improve my diet, I began to read books, websites and articles about nutrition, and I stumbled across a description of non-dairy flavored creamer that didn’t really sit well with my stomach. I forget now what book it was, but the description has stuck with me: flavored liquid margarine. Yuck. By that point, I had been avoiding margarine for a while already, and it struck me as rather hypocritical (not to mention disgusting) that I continued to use a margarine-like product while studiously avoiding margarine itself. Such a revelation led me to give up the non-dairy flavored creamer (although I will admit, in the interest of complete and total honesty, that when I encounter said creamer at someone else’s house or at a special event, I can’t help but indulge in a little bit) altogether, and left a rather sad and empty hole in my coffee heart.
I am not one of those people who can drink coffee black. I have, when forced to, but it’s not my favorite preparation. I even weaned myself from sweetened coffee, and can now happily drink unsweetened coffee with a splash (or two) of half and half or whole milk. However, I still like to enjoy a variety of flavors in my coffee, without artificial flavors or other unnecessary ingredients. I tried making my own flavored “creamers” or sugars but that was too much of a pain.
It turns out that the simplest way to add a little flavor to your coffee is by adding it to the grounds before you brew. People around the world enjoy their coffee this way, and it is about as healthy and natural as you can get. And tasty, too!
My favorite flavored coffee is actually a recent discovery by my sister, and it’s the one featured in the picture above: cardamom. I tasted some made by my sister and searched heaven and earth (OK, well a few grocery stores) until I found cardamom and made it for myself. Let me tell you, heaven in a cup! Apparently, this special coffee treat is a favorite in Arab countries. It’s also a nod to my Finnish heritage as Finns add cardamom to just about everything and they are prolific coffee drinkers as well.
I found the cardamom at an Amish farmer’s market for half the price it was available in the store. I believe my sister said she found it for a reasonable price at Whole Foods market.
To make cardamom coffee, all you do is add some ground cardamom to the coffee grounds before you brew. I use a coffee press, and I like to think it intensifies the flavor, but you can employ any coffee-making method with great results. A little bit of cardamom goes a long way – I use 1/8-1/4 tsp for one full French press, which makes about 2-3 8oz cups of coffee.
Cardamom isn’t the only spice you can add to your coffee. I’ve tried all of the following in various itinerations and they’ve all been delicious:
Whole cloves (ground cloves were a bit much for me)
If you like the taste of ginger, you could try dried ginger as well.
Of course, there are other healthy ways to flavor your coffee… but I’ll leave that for another post, because it’ll give me an excuse to talk about coffee some more!
It’s QUICK: just as quick to add a spice before you brew as it is to add flavored creamer afterwards.
What could be EASY-er?
It is CHEAPer by far than purchasing the bottles of flavored creamer, or flavored syrups.
It is so much HEALTHY-er, too. No hydrogenated oils, no artificial colors or flavors, no preservatives, and most importantly, no margarine.