I see that I came up on someone’s search that said, “adding spices to coffee”; so I decided to write a little about what I do in that area. Those search terms picked up my, “More Food” which was the post about my Asparagus and Corn Recipe.
First of all, the absolutely best coffee is, by far, perked! You younger whipper snappers will not even know what I’m talking about! It’s called “progress”. Alas, I also have a coffee maker because I need to be quick in the mornings with getting the coffee out and love the programming feature of the automatic drips. I started adding spices to coffee well before these specialized coffees came out in the supermarkets. My favorite is grating fresh nutmeg into either my cup or with the grinds in the basket, though I do others, as well.
Another little special thing I do is add honey in place of sugar. Before I get into this any further, I must state “DIABETICS BEWARE”. Using honey is just as bad as eating sugar right out of the sugar bowl. I read this book one time on back water medicine that talked a lot about remedies containing apple cider vinegar and honey. At that time, I was really turned off by white sugar, so it seemed natural for me to use honey. At first, the taste was strange to me, but I liked it. Another factor that affects taste is the kind of honey you buy. If you look on the label, you will see a little blurb about what type of flower the bees were getting their pollen from. I started with NJ Wildflower Honey from a particular place called “Cheesequake Farms”; but then I went to another place and got honey labeled the same way and the taste was far different. Also, you can see that different honeys have varying colors, or hues to them. The darker ones have a more intense flavor than the light ones… kind of logical. In the supermarkets the most you see is clover honey that is “okay”, but once you start being aware of the differences out there, you just might want to try others. I would suggest paying that extra money for what they sell on those farm produce stands.
Getting honey with a bit of cone in it is great, too. I read that chewing on the cone can relieve sinus symptoms. My nephew did corroborate on this after he tried it. Another consideration before consuming a lot of honey, as I had when drinking at least 3 cups of coffee a day at work, is that honey is a great bowel regulator, though consuming a lot of it might give you diarrhea. I started using honey as a bowel regulator. I mean, you will GO the very next day and it’s a normal, natural “GO”. Since I am in danger of getting diabetes, however, I have stopped using it like that. Keep in mind that honey is pure sugar, though, it’s predigested so the body does not have to work as hard digesting honey as it does for white sugar. Ah, I remember a special person once telling me that honey was actually bee excrement! Well, that might turn some people off, but not me. If you look at it, technically, it IS excrement, but not in the sense that we know. After all, honey is what bees feed to their babies developing in the egg chambers of their hives. Special honey, called royal jelly is given to the eggs destined to be queens.
Another thing you can do with coffee is add a teaspoon of cocoa to it and get mocha. I was definitely doing this LONG before it came out commercially. I loved cocoa and wanted to blend the two and got a bit of heaven right there on my counter. Try adding a bit of orange extract to it… if not with the coffee, definitely put it in hot chocolate. Chocolate and orange a marriage made in heaven. I even have a basic hot chocolate recipe of my own doing for people wanting to get the perfect hot chocolate, but without the time or the incentive to stand at the stove, attending to a proper hot chocolate recipe.
In a mug, mix a tablespoon or so of baking cocoa, preferably dutch processed, and equal amount of powdered coffeemate. Emulsify with a bit of hot water. Once this is done, add in milk and sugar, stirring. Microwave until piping hot. Ta da! To really get that chocolaty flavor, add a teensy pinch of salt. This recipe leaves plenty of room for experimentation. Add a little bit of something here and there. I’ve also added a teaspoon of instant coffee for that mocha taste. Better get with it now and perfect your own special cup before the cold winter sets in. I have special gigantic mugs to accommodate my lust for chocolate… ah!
If you don’t have much imagination, but love to try different flavors, you might want to try out International Gourmet or Coffeemate liquid creamers. I love the current Pumpkin Spice that is out in both brands. Very expensive, however, and after I am finished with what I have, I will just add my own spices to get the same flavor. Plus, if you really like the coffeemate creamers, getting the plain one is almost a dollar cheaper than the flavored ones. Something I was doing for awhile was getting actual cream to lighten my coffee. That is a real treat for the holidays. I use the heavy cream to get that really creamy taste, while actually using less product.
Another thing I put in coffee is dark brown sugar. That is a flavorful kick if I ever tasted one. I suppose you can use light brown sugar, too, but remember, I always go for the “darkest” possible offering of a product. Brown sugar… or even molasses… Yes, I’ve used molasses and it’s another heavenly flavor for coffee. Have you ever tried mixing coffee and tea together in the same cup? Another nice change, but not for the squeamish. Nothing bad or bad tasting about it, it’s just the “thought of it” that would deter some people.
Yep, I’ve tried a lot of things in coffee, but never soy sauce!