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Creative Ways to Jazz Up your Cup of Joe
You know the routine; the alarm rings, you run to the shower, throw on some clothes, grab a quick bite to eat, make your coffee, and groggily run out the door. But why not break up the monotony of your morning coffee routine by adding something special to that cup of Joe and start your day off with a kick of flavor? Check out some ideas below for how to jazz up your coffee any day of the week or try one of these ideas to make your coffee just a little more special on the weekend!
Add a drop of flavor
If you are running short on time or creativity in the morning, adding a drop of flavor to your coffee is the quickest and easiest way to make your morning beverage just a little more special than normal.
The most obvious way to add flavor to your coffee is to invest in flavored syrups, just like those you see at a coffee shop, but they can often be much more than you need for personal use and come with a hefty price tag.
An easy and natural way to get a big bang for your buck with your morning coffee is to use flavor extracts. Below are just some of the most popular flavorings that can add an unexpected kick to your palette.
Find your favorite flavor by adding the smallest drop to a small shot of coffee and see which flavor you like the best! Remember, a little drop can go a long way. These extracts are designed to add big flavor to an entire batch of cookies or cakes so do not be heavy handed when adding to just a single serving of coffee.
If your drop or two of extract creates an oily rim to the coffee, try adding a drop or two to the coffee grounds themselves before brewing to really infuse the flavor.
To compliment your flavor drops, you can take the flavor one step further by adding in your favorite fruit zest to your coffee grounds before brewing.
To get optimal flavor and avoid having bits of zest floating around your mug, simply add the zest of a lemon, lime, or orange to your coffee grounds before brewing. Rub the zest between your fingers to release the natural oils, then mix in well with your grounds. It will give your coffee a very subtle, natural flavor without having to add extra fat, sugar, or artificial additives.
Make your cup of coffee extra special by adding a special candied zest garnish to mimic the zest flavor of your brew.
Steps to create candied zest garnish:
Use a vegetable peeler to remove zest from your favorite fruit (orange, lime, or lemon typically work the best). Try to create long, thin ribbons. The longer you can get them, the more the pieces will curl so you can add them to your coffee mug rim for garnish.
Scrape off any white backing that may be left on the back of the zest curls.
Make a simple syrup in a small saucepan (usually equal parts water and sugar) and bring to a boil and dissolve all of the sugar.
Add your zest curls and simmer the mixture for 3 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and cool entire mixture complete.
Drain the liquid from the zest curls and dry on a piece of waxed paper or paper towel.
Toss the zest curls in crystallized sugar until well coated.
Place a piece or two of your now candied zest on the rim of your coffee mug and sip in style!
Try a creamy alternative
If you don’t take your coffee black, you may be tired of the same splash of milk, cream, or half and half that you add day in and day out. Rather than buy those expensive flavor creamers, take a minute to stroll through your grocery store’s dairy section and check out the wide range of milk alternatives that are available.
While the taste of milk alternatives can be too strong for some people’s taste on their own, adding a splash of them into your coffee can be an unexpected and pleasant way to enjoy them and even add in some nutritional benefits.
Milk alternatives to try in your next cup of coffee:
Sunflower / Nut milks
Create a creamy coconut delight:
With the increasing popularity of coconut oil in recent years, perhaps the most enjoyable way to try it is by mixing in a spoonful with your next cup of coffee.
The flavor adds a wonderful tropical note when brewed with your favorite coffee grounds.
Some people do not like the oily film that coconut oil leaves when it melts into a hot cup of coffee.
To avoid this, put a spoonful of your coconut oil into a small jar with a tablespoon or two of cream, milk, or milk alterative.
Shake vigorously to blend the coconut oil with the milk, then add to your coffee.
Spice it up
If you like your coffee black or not too sweet, adding a little spice will compliment your taste buds perfectly. The spices that compliment coffee the most are probably already lying in your pantry so this idea should be a very low cost alternative to jazzing up your cup.
Delicious spices that compliment coffee:
Most spices will float on top of a liquid surface, so just like the zest idea above, add the spices directly into your coffee grounds before brewing. If your spices have been sitting in their jars for a while, their flavor probably isn’t as vibrant as it was when you first purchased them. Rub the spices between your fingers as you add them to the grounds to really wake up the flavors. Not only will your coffee taste delicious, it will add a delicious aroma to your home after brewing!
Sweeten it up
If you have a sweet tooth, these ideas below will be sure to sweeten up the start to your day.
Whipped cream topping:
Keep a tub or can of whipped topping in your fridge or freezer and add a dollop to your coffee before heading out the door. The sweet creaminess of the whipped topping will slowly melt into the hot liquid and add a sweet touch. You can even add sprinkles over the top if you want to get fancy when serving guests.
Dulce de leche swirl:
Dulce de leche is a South American caramel-like drizzle that can be used as a topping on baked goods, cookies, cakes, and most deliciously in your coffee. The best part is, you can make your own dulce de leche at home right on your stovetop!
What you need to make dulce de leche at home:
A can of sweetened condensed milk.
A stovetop burner
Fill up your saucepan with water and bring water to a rolling boil.
Carefully place your jar of sweetened condensed milk on its side in the boiling water so it can roll around while cooking.
Ensure that the can stays completely covered in the water during the entire cooking process.
Keep the water boiling for 3 hours.
Allow the can to cool completely before attempting to open it. Your dulce de leche will be extremely hot and may squirt out if you do not allow it to completely cool to room temperature.
You can keep your can of dulce de leche in the fridge for a week or so and drizzle a spoonful directly into your cup of coffee or over a dollop of whipped cream to make it especially decadent. You can even submerge a plastic spoon in the dulce de leche, lay it on a piece of waxed paper, and freeze it. Then just take the spoon out of the freezer and mix into your coffee as needed.
Hazelnut Spread spoonful:
For the chocoholic inside of you, spoon in a scoop of Nutella or your favorite hazelnut spread into your cup of coffee for a rich flavor that will give you a little boost of sugar to help jumpstart your morning.
Mimic the idea used above with dulce de leche and create hazelnut spread spoons by dipping reusable, plastic spoons in hazelnut spread, placing on waxed paper, and freezing to use when you please. You can even add nuts, sprinkles, or chocolate chips to the spoons to add extra flavor excitement.
Create your coffee shop favorite at home
Now that we’ve talked about all the sugar, spice, and everything nice that you can add to jazz up your regular cup of Joe, why not take it a step further and try recreating two of your favorite coffee shop favorites at home?!
If you have cocoa powder in your pantry, you have everything you need to make an expensive tasting mocha right at home with half the cost.
Simply spoon in a teaspoon of the coca powder to your coffee and add your favorite cream or milk substitute and stir well. Take it up a notch by adding in a drop of peppermint extract to create a peppermint mocha, perfect for the holidays.
Homemade mocha frappuccinos
The Pumpkin spice latte
One of Starbuck’s most beloved seasonal beverages, the pumpkin spice latte can come with an artisan price tag and quite a few calories. Cut the price and calories in half by making your own version at home.
Pumpkin pie spice (or substitute with a blend of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg)
Can of pumpkin
Milk or milk substitute
Whipped cream topping
Take about ¼ cup of the pumpkin pie filling and heat it in a small saucepan with the spices.
Add in a couple teaspoons of sugar and whisk in about 2 cups of milk, cream, or milk substitute.
Pour yourself ½ cup of coffee and add in your milk/sugar/pumpkin/spice blend and whisk together well.
Top it off with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!
Use these ideas to inspire your own coffee creations and see what amazing flavor combinations you can come up with! With so many options to choose from, starting your day off right never has to be boring again.
What are some of your own favorite ways to jazz up your cup of Joe? Share in the comments, below.