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Monday, July 18, 2016

spice up your morning coffee!

In case you didn't know this about me, I am a morning person. As in, I get up at 3:30am every morning and I like it. There are a lot of things that I love about waking up early in the morning, but one of my favorite things to do in those early hours is drink a nice cup of coffee. I love coffee. Last summer I shared some of my favorite summer drinks to make at home, including my basic iced coffee recipe. This summer I've discovered a new trick to really "spice up" my iced coffees, and I'm so excited to share with you!

Although I love my black coffee as much as the next guy, I also enjoy flavored coffees. When I go to a coffee shop, I usually get something super-sweet and flavorful- it's one of my favorite treats :) I tried those flavored creamers for a while, but most of them were disappointing to me, so I stopped trying to add flavors to my coffee for a while. Then a few months ago, on a whim, I decided to add some cinnamon to the coffee grounds in my drip coffee machine.

Guys, it was amazing! Not only did the coffee have a nice flavor to it, but the SMELL.... Oh my goodness. From there I started experimenting with different flavors and have found you can use this technique with so many different flavors!

Some of my favorites spices to add are cinnamon, cardamom, cocoa powder, pumpkin spice, and chai spice (are you drooling yet?). This technique works with other things too- I've done it with coconut (yum) and extracts (hazelnut, vanilla, etc)- and they all seem to work well to get the flavor into the coffee perfectly.

I did have a few mishaps that I have learned lessons from as well, so let me share those with you so you don't have to experience the kitchen messes that I had to clean up...

1. Don't add too much

I, of course, got a little excited after my first experiment with the cinnamon, and the second time I added even more cinnamon to the coffee grounds. Big mistake. The water couldn't drip through well enough and I ended up with wet coffee grounds all over the place. For my machine, I've found about a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of each spice/flavor to be plenty without wreaking havoc- you'll have to do a little experimenting yourself to see what works for you but start with less. Trust me.

2. Put your spices in the middle of the grounds

I've found I get the best absorption of flavor (and least chance of spillage) when I add the spices about 1/3 of the way down through the grounds. I put 2/3 of the coffee grounds into the basket, add my flavor(s), and then add a little more coffee grounds on top.

3. Don't try to use sugar with this technique

I tried adding sugar in the same way I added the other spices, mixed in with the grounds, and it was NOT GOOD. It had a similar effect that the large quantity of spices had, but the sugar also got gooey and sticky and was hard to clean. I add my sugar to my brewed pot of coffee afterwards and it works just fine :)

There are so many flavors you can make with this simple technique, and it's fast and easy too (even for me)! What are your favorite flavors for coffee? Leave a comment!

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