Easy ways to spice up your morning brew.

Penelope Wall
September 15, 2017

Every few years, when I'm lucky enough to visit my friend on Long Island, NY, I make sure that we have time to stop at Hampton Chutney Co. in Amagansett, a tiny little South Indian takeout shop that cooks up dosas-large, crispy crêpes-wrapped around savory fillings (they also have two locations in NYC). We go for the breakfast dosa, but I leave dreaming about the cardamom coffee.

I don't normally crave sweet, flavored coffee. My morning ritual is a hot cuppa from the French press made with good, fresh beans and a splash of whole milk. No sweetener, no syrups or flavored creamers. But cardamom coffee is different, a special once-in-a-while treat.

Cardamon coffee is a beverage that's enjoyed in parts of India and the Middle East. Traditional methods include simmering the coffee along with cardamom (ground or crushed pods) in a pot with water or milk. Often other spices and sugar are added as well. It's rich and authentic, because it's made with real spices rather than approximated flavorings. Cardamom has a distinctive floral and spice aroma. It is a member of the ginger family and is used in baking and Indian cuisine. When it's added to coffee, cardamom adds a rich layer of complexity that holds up well to coffee's fruity bitterness.

Like other super spices, cardamom has some pretty sweet health benefits, too. It's an antioxidant and may help reduce your risk of cancer. Add to that the health benefits of drinking coffee and you've got a banging cup of Joe to start the day.

(I'm sort of obsessed, if you can't tell.)


But I can't drive 5 hours and ride 3 ferries every time I have a craving for cardamom coffee. So, I decided to try and make it at home in my French press with some cardamom pods that I had on hand from the last time I made curry. It was actually super-easy to do. My pot is a 4-cup French press, so I crushed four cardamom pods-one for each cup-and put them in the pot with my fresh-ground coffee. I let it steep like I normally do. And that was it! It came out surprisingly well and I didn't even need to add sugar. Now I can make my special brew whenever I feel like I need a treat. If you don't have cardamom pods, you could try a sprinkle of ground cardamom right into your cup.

Want some other ideas for spicing up your morning brew? You could also try a dash of:

  • ground cinnamon
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • pumpkin pie spice (for all you PSL lovers out there)
  • peppermint extract
  • cocoa powder
  • chili powder
  • coconut extract
  • vanilla