5 Ways to Spice Up Your Coffee

I’m a coffee fiend, there’s no doubt about it. It’s the first thing I reach for (ok, second) after I get out of bed. Then it’s another mid-morning coffee and a third cup around 3:00pm to push me through the rest of the day. If you’re also a coffee fanatic, you’ll love these quick, easy ways to upgrade your morning coffee game. You can find most of these ingredients in your pantry, but the fancier ones may need to be tacked onto your next grocery list. Do what it takes to get on Starbucks’ level, and be your own barista at home with these 5 ways to spice up your coffee.

Spices

Spices are uncomplicated, pure, and beneficial to your mental health and physical wellbeing.

A dash of cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice works wonders in a coffee cup, and in your body. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces the risk of heart disease, speeds up your metabolism and it’s high in antioxidants. Nutmeg (in small amounts) can aid in digestion, boost your immune system, sharpen your cognitive function, and increase blood circulation. Allspice can help to prevent infections, reduce inflammation, and even improve dental hygiene.

What’s even better? These pantry-staples are widely accessible and highly cost effective as far as bang-for-your-buck goes. You could conceivably make one hundred cups of coffee (or more) with just one jar of spice.


Essential Oils

If you haven’t already jumped on this train, it’s not too late. While it may sound a strange, essential oils can fuel your body the same way caffeine fuels us all. Some studies have shown that essential oils can lessen anxiety, help alleviate symptoms of depression, and improve your mood. It only takes one or two small drops to elevate your coffee experience. Think: peppermint oil for a peppermint mocha coffee, or an iced lavender latte.

Disclaimer: essential oils are not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The absolute KEY to using essential oils is to check (and triple check) that the oils you purchase are food grade, non-toxic to ingest, and safe for human consumption. NEVER consume essential oils that are labeled “not for internal use.” Make sure the oil is pure, with zero artificial substances, and ensure that you don’t have any allergies to the particular type of oil you intend to use. Do your research thoroughly, and only buy from reputable brands that meet the above criteria.

If you like the idea of the enjoying the perks of essential oils that I mentioned earlier (hello, all of my anxiety-ridden friends), but don’t want to take the risk, consider trying herbal coffee. It’s caffeine-free, but the nutritional value and health benefits may replace your caffeine addiction entirely.


Flavored Syrup

This may be straying away from the health-conscious angle I took in the last two ways to spice up your coffee. BUT it is a delicious and indulgent way to achieve that $5.45 Starbucks worthy taste.

Create a decadent seasonal beverage using a pump (or two…) of salted caramel, hazelnut, butter toffee, mocha or vanilla bean flavored syrup. Search for a bundle of syrups to conduct some proper taste testing experiments, like this Classic Syrup Sampler with 6 flavors for $29.99.

What I love about this coffee addition, is that it’s a very easy way to upgrade a drink for yourself, but an even simpler way to impress your guests. I’ve used flavored syrups on hot cocoa bars, in late-night espresso shots, and even in cocktails. I once packed mini flavored syrups with me for a new years trip a few years back, and friends used them the entire weekend.


Vanilla Extract

This method to spice up your coffee is actually going to put us back on the health kick. Are you surprised? Let me explain.

Vanilla bean, a main ingredient in vanilla extract, has anti-inflammatory properties, can aid with stress relief, and reduce anxiety (holla, holla). Vanilla extract is also a great replacement for sugar and coffee creamers because it contains less carbs and calories, while still providing a sweetening effect on your cup of joe. Start with a teaspoon, and add more to taste.


Cocoa Powder

I like chocolate a latte (see what I did there?). The rich flavor blends perfectly with coffee, hence all of the mocha coffee creations out there. A tablespoon or two will dissolve relatively quickly in a hot cup. Add a bit of milk to balance out the thickness of the cocoa and give the coffee a smoother consistency.

Are you ready for the health benefits of this one? They include: better blood flow, rich in antioxidants, improved mental focus and increased attention span, anti-inflammatory, and it also helps with disease prevention. Remember, we’re basically talking about chocolate here. MAGIC!


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