Coffee, Spice, and Everything Nice
Words Erin Meister
There’s no need to suffer the winter blahs when you can easily spice up your brews for oohs and ahhs. A few simple sprinkles can boost the flavor of your coffee and tickle your nose with the most intoxicating aroma of alluring cardamom, soothing cocoa, and spicy cinnamon. Here are three easy recipes to help you feel a little zestier on these long, cold, early-dark days.
Masala Chai Spice Cold Brew
The warm and fragrant spices more closely associated with masala chai can transform your usual cold brew into an aromatic treat with a complex but soothing blend of herbal star anise and cardamom, sweet cinnamon and sugar, and snappy pepper and ginger. The long steep means you don’t want to use ground spices; they will extract much too quickly and turn bitter and acrid. Also be sure not to steep this cold brew for longer than 12 hours, for the same reason.
10 oz coarsely ground coffee
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon black or pink peppercorns
5 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods, gently cracked (press down on them with the broad side of a chef’s knife)
4 whole star anise pods
3 small slices of fresh ginger (peeled), or use 3 pieces crystallized ginger and reduce sugar by 1/4 tablespoon
2 tbs brown sugar
40 oz room-temperature water
In a medium bowl, quickly combine and evenly mix the coffee grounds with all of the other dry ingredients, and place the mixture in the Brewing Container of your OXO Cold-Brew Coffee Maker. Place the Rainmaker on top, and pour your 40 ounces of water over the Rainmaker, slowly making circular passes in order to evenly saturate the grounds and spices. Once the water has been added, remove the Rainmaker and gently stir the grounds. Allow to steep for 12 hours, then dispense the liquid and discard the grounds and spices. Pour 2 ounces of the chai-spiced coffee over ice, and add 4 ounces of water and 2 ounces of cold milk or cream, adjusting to taste.
Creamy coconut and floral-earthy cardamom make for an exotic-tasting combination but are a cinch to whip up together. Simply heat 2 cups of whole milk and 15 gently crushed cardamom pods in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat until steam rises from the liquid, stirring once or twice as it heats. Cover the pan and let the spices steep for 30–40 minutes. Strain the milk to remove the pods, and reheat the milk slightly if desired for serving; it can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Chocolate and coffee with a piquant kick is the secret behind this Mexican-inspired winter-morning sipper: Classic semisweet cocoa and familiar baking spices get a little extra jolt from either cayenne or chipotle chili powder—or, if you’re feeling like you need even more of a boost, both! Top this drink with frothed milk or a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa and cinnamon, and you’ll definitely feel fired up and ready for the day.
4 cups (32 ounces) hot, freshly brewed coffee, prepared using the method of your choice
6 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp dark brown sugar (adjust to taste)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of cayenne or chipotle chili powder (adjust to taste)
Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to incorporate. Either stir the combination into a pot of fresh coffee, or divide the mixture evenly among 8-ounce mugs and pour hot coffee on top to mix; stir until the spices are completely incorporated. Top with frothed milk or whipped cream. Store unused spice mixture for up to a week in an airtight container.