Take an average cup of coffee or tea to a new tasty level with these quick, easy additions.
Make the cold, dark, wintry mornings a little easier to bear by spicing up whatever hot drink it is that you love. There are plenty of simple ingredients that can turn a regular cup of coffee or tea into something special and unusual, and you’ve probably already got them in the pantry. (Plus, these concoctions will be way cheaper than the fancy drinks at Starbucks.)
Cinnamon: Spoon ground cinnamon directly into your cup or add a stick of cinnamon bark to the coffee filter while brewing. Alternatively, simmer some bark in the water you’ll use to make tea.
Maple syrup: It’s most commonly available in syrup form, but some places sell maple sugar, which has the same flavour. Stir a bit into your hot drink to sweeten it. It’s especially good with milk.
Cardamom: Traditionally used in Turkish coffee preparation, cardamom adds a rich, floral flavour. Stir ground cardamom directly into your prepped cup, or else crush the pods and add to coffee maker or pot of water you’re using to make tea. Other great spices to use are nutmeg and cloves.
Chai spices: Step aside, sickeningly sweet chai lattes. True masala chai is a wonderfully warming treat with real kick. The base is made with fresh ginger root, green cardamom pods, cinnamon, and star anise. Boil these with water, then add black tea leaves and milk. Simmer another minute, then enjoy with a sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup) if you want.
Cream: If you’re used to drinking coffee or tea with milk, then cream will taste like a decadent treat by comparison. Occasionally I stir leftover whipped cream into my morning coffee; it melts, leaving a rich and foamy taste. Alternatively, add a dash of half-and-half or some condensed milk.
Cocoa: Make it mocha with a spoonful of cocoa powder – and get a load of extremely healthy polyphenols at the same time. Some cocoa powders are very bitter, so you may need to adjust milk and sweetener. To be more decadent, add a square of dark chocolate to the bottom of your coffee mug and mix as it melts.
Coconut oil: It’s very healthy and adds a pleasant nutty flavour to a hot drink. Just keep a spoon in your cup to give it a stir before you sip, so you don’t get a mouthful of melted oil every time.
Warm milk: It’s an extra step that’s well worth the effort. Warm milk in a small pot while brewing your coffee or tea, and it won’t cool down your drink as soon as you add it. Milk also adds some sweetness. Even better is foamy warm milk, so if you have a frother, put it to work for a homemade latte.