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Cooking Tips

Spice Up Your Coffee as You Brew It

Dress up your everyday cup by brewing simple flavorings with ground coffee.

Published Jan. 16, 2024.

At our house, my husband carries out the soothing routine of grinding beans, measuring water, and brewing coffee each morning as the sun comes up.

When his inner barista emerges, he enhances his cup with everything from maple syrup to eggnog to Ovaltine to peppermint ice cream.

He's rarely disappointed with his creations, but it turns out it's equally easy to add intrigue to your coffee without sweeteners, creamers, or syrups.

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To make coffee feel different and special, my colleague Eric Haessler has found you can simply add spices and other flavorings to the drip basket.

Drawing inspiration from flavored coffees from Mexico, the Middle East, and New Orleans, he came up with 3 flavorings our whole team loved.

How to Add Flavorings to Drip Coffee

  1. Add coffee and flavorings to the basket of an automatic drip machine in the amounts listed in the chart below. Do not use powdered spices; they will clog your drip basket. 
  2. Brew with 1 liter of water, to yield about four 8-ounce cups.

Our 3 Favorite Flavorings

Cinnamon, Cloves, Orange ZestCardamomChicory

Profile: Warm, floral 

Provenance: Mexico’s café de olla

Add: 75 g coffee, 1 crushed stick cinnamon, 2 cloves, zest of ½ orange

Profile: Bright, floral 

Provenance: A common flavoring in coffee in Arab countries

Add: 75 g coffee, 7 g crushed green cardamom

Profile: Nutty, bitter 

Provenance: Once used to stretch coffee, now a signature flavoring offered in New Orleans cafes

Add: 50 g coffee, 25 g chicory granules


The Complete Guide to Healthy Drinks

More than 160 recipes for expense-saving, sugar-sparing, all-natural beverages

How to Store Coffee

We have found that fresh, room-temperature beans make coffee with slightly more flavor than frozen beans.

That's because the oils on chilled beans congeal and don't release their flavor as readily. However, exposure to oxygen eventually causes coffee beans to lose much of their flavor. Storing beans in the freezer will slow down this process. After a month, we found that frozen beans made better-tasting coffee than beans stored on the counter.

Therefore, if you buy freshly roasted beans every week or two, keep them on the counter in an airtight container away from direct sunlight. If you buy beans less often, store them in the freezer. 

Equipment Review

The Best Coffee Makers (Automatic Drip)

We tested more than a dozen drip coffee makers to see if they could deliver a great brew without a lot of fuss.
Read Our Review


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