There is no finer season than fall to wake up to a hot cup of coffee and gaze listlessly out the window as the day awakens. The cool breeze, the crisp morning air, the burnt orange colors falling all around you—there’s something just magical about enjoying it all while cupping a steaming mug of Joe. Here are five seasonal ingredients to spice up your morning coffee to bring that autumn essence right into your cup.
If you don’t put any other spice into your cup of coffee, ground cinnamon alone will transform it into an autumnal treat. The aroma of ground coffee in your morning cup will entice thoughts of apple crisp, pumpkin pie, and all the wonderful things you’re bound to bake this upcoming fall season. To use cinnamon in your coffee, either spoon the ground spice directly into your brewed cup, or place a cinnamon stick or two in the coffee filter to brew with the coffee grounds.
Pumpkin pie spice
Don’t think that pumpkin pie spice is an unnatural flavoring additive made to taste like pumpkin pie; it’s not. It’s actually a simple blend of ground spices that are commonly used when making pumpkin pie, typically including any of the following: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and/or allspice. This spice blend isn’t just wonderful when making pumpkin pie. Because of its diverse flavor portfolio encompassing spicy, warming, sweet, and earthy, it just may be the epitome of fall flavor. Toss a few dashes of it into your brewed coffee and mix in with a spoon.
A spoonful of cocoa powder instantly transforms your coffee into a hot cocoa hybrid, which oozes fall comfort (not to mention a small health boost from the antioxidants and fiber found in cocoa). Bear in mind that unsweetened cocoa powder is often bitter on its own, so you may need to adjust the amount of milk and/or sweetener you add to the coffee.
Often used in Turkish coffee, cardamom imparts a fresh, green, and slightly floral flavor. In the fall, it’s a nice pairing with cloves and cinnamon, though on its own it will give your coffee a very unique flavor. To use in your coffee, either crush the whole cardamom pods and place in your coffee filter to brew with the coffee grounds, or mix ¼ teaspoon or so into your brewed cup.
Maple syrup is the sweetener of choice in the fall season, especially if you’re lucky enough to live in a state where it’s locally produced. Be warned: Maple syrup in coffee is not a flavor that everyone will enjoy, so try it once and see how it suits your palate. But when combined with any fall spices and just enough milk or creamer, a touch of maple syrup can give your coffee that crinkly-leaves-falling-on-the-cool-ground flare it’s been missing. (Tip: You can also find granulated maple syrup at health food stores, if you like your sweetener to be in powder form.)
Image adapted from rennes.i, Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0