The Spice Mistake To Avoid If You're Flavoring Drip Coffee

Pouring water into pour-over coffee filter
Pouring water into pour-over coffee filter - Kemal Yildirim/Getty Images

It doesn't take much effort to turn everyday routines into sumptuous rituals. Just as adding fresh citrus and fruit to tap water magically transforms it into spa water, adding spices to drip coffee can turn your caffeine dependency into a more flavorful, aromatherapeutic treat. Adding spices to your filter, rather than straight into your cup of coffee, is the best way to imbue your morning drip with subtle notes of your favorite flavors.

However, before you rummage through your pantry to get started, remember one important rule: Save the powdered spices for your baked goods and use whole spices for your coffee. Though convenient, the former can clog the basket of an automatic coffee maker. While this is less of an issue for manual pour-over rigs, powdered spices can still slow down the drip. On top of that technical issue, freshly crushed whole spices are more potent than pre-ground versions.

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Crush But Don't Ground The Spices

Cinnamon, clove, and vanilla
Cinnamon, clove, and vanilla - Kajakiki/Getty Images

While ground spices might smell and taste stronger than whole varieties when they're freshly packed, they're also the first to lose their aroma and flavor since their volatile oils are exposed to air for a longer period of time. That's why whole spices tend to have a longer shelf life than ground versions.

With that in mind, it's important to release the oils in whole spices before adding them to coffee grounds. Otherwise, their intoxicating tastes and smells might not come through as strongly as you'd like. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, don't fret. Lightly smashing your spices with the back of a knife will do the trick.

As for which spices to use, anything you'd use for baking — and beyond — is fair game. Think cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, and anise. Or trade sweetness for earthiness by crushing black peppercorns and bay leaves.

Draw Inspiration From Existing Spiced Coffee Drinks

Café de Olla in ceramic cup
Café de Olla in ceramic cup - Sergio Hayashi/Shutterstock

It's easy to add a few crushed seeds and part of a vanilla pod to your coffee grounds before brewing. But if you have a little extra time in the morning and you're too sleepy to follow your intuition, take cues from one of many existing spiced coffee drinks.

Café de Olla, a Mexican drink traditionally brewed in an earthenware clay pot, is a great place to look for inspiration if you want to use more than one spice. It combines the staple Latin American ingredient piloncillo or unrefined whole cane sugar, with whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, and anise, plus the occasional orange peel. The result is a deeply comforting step up from your average coffee, made even better alongside a plate of crispy, fluffy conchas.

Another great source of inspiration, especially if you need to use up a nub of ginger, is South Indian Chukku Kaapi. Though it typically calls for powdered coffee, its soothing blend of ginger, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, and holy basil can also be added to coffee grounds. To steer toward tradition, stir in a small amount of jaggery before serving.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.