Hey there, coffee lover. Have you jumped on the coffee concentrate bandwagon? It is a ton of fun to skip the boiling-water-routine, no beans to grind, no mess to clean. Props to coffee concentrate for providing ultra-convenience without sacrificing robust flavor. And speaking of flavor, are you ready to step out on your tried-and-true cup, and explore new ways to ignite your palette? Because if so, there is no end in sight for experimenting, and maybe even finding a new favorite.
Think of adding flavor to coffee concentrate in the same way you would consider adding different ingredients to a kitchen staple: pasta. Pasta with red sauce is fine but can get boring. Pasta with garlic, anchovies, lemon, and parsley is a whole new meal. It’s the same with coffee. The height of eccentricity is not the cinnamon floating in the froth of your cappuccino. Not knocking a great thing. Just saying you can stretch it even further. Endless possibilities await when it comes to flavoring coffee concentrate. The beauty of using concentrate is you save so much time prepping, yielding loads more of it to spend with the thrill and frill of chasing flavor.
Cooking Spices in My Coffee Concentrate?
There is never a right or wrong answer when it comes to recipes. Cooking, concocting, experimenting is the height of creativity. Afterall, your taste buds are uniquely yours; feed them the way you want. Cinnamon is a common choice to flavor a coffee drink. But don’t stop there. Exploit your spice cabinet. No doubt you have containers of spices sitting there waiting to be used. Start by pairing warmer spices with your coffee concentrate. Think of baking: cardamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, anise, chicory, cacao, lavender, cardamon, black pepper, salt. The list goes on.
If you want health benefits along with caffeine, add turmeric to your concentrate. The curcumin in the spice holds its superpowers: anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, among others. Note to the wise – coffee’s acidity will inhibit your body’s ability to absorb the curcumin. By adding black pepper along with a source of fat (plant or animal milk, for example) you will optimize absorption. Don’t hesitate to pump up the health profile of your caffeinated beverage with this yellow powder.
Barista Brew, Anyone?
Syrup is not only for pancakes. Aside from the aforementioned spices, subtly flavored syrups are the (not so secret) secret ingredients baristas use to churn out flavored coffees. Think caramel, peppermint, lavender, maple. Wow. Ideal for both hot and cold coffee, know that preparation is slightly different.
For hot coffee, mix the syrup in when the water is hot to maximize the blend of coffee concentrate and syrup. If you love a rich latte and steam milk or a milk alternative, add syrup straight to the milk before you steam it. For iced coffee, pump in a couple of pumps and go.
Check the sugar content of your flavored syrup before you buy! Some of these sweet concoctions are sugared up: two teaspoons of syrup equal one teaspoon of sugar. Shop around to find brands with less sugar if that’s your thing. Also, check out DIY recipes to brew syrup at home.
Common sense, but worth mentioning – if you don’t want to overpower your coffee concentrate’s awesome flavor, add syrup sparingly to start, stir it up, and increase as needed.
Good old simple syrup, which you might have on hand for cocktails, is also a great go-to for sugaring up your coffee. Granulated sugar does not blend into cold liquids quite as nicely as simple syrup. Typical barista flavored brews use a ratio of one tablespoon of simple syrup to replace sugar per beverage. But, when you’re in the director’s chair, make it how it best suits you. Or your guests.
Did You See That Coffee Sauce in Your Friend’s Cabinet?
Best for hot coffee, sauce is a go-to for chocolate, or caramel flavored cups o’ joe. The temperature of the water or milk needs to be above 195 degrees Fahrenheit to efficiently blend the sauce.
The sky’s the limit on flavor, here, too. Pumpkin, caramel, hazelnut, vanilla, white chocolate, dark chocolate … The list goes on as far as the tastebud can conjure.
This stuff is thick. Did you ever try a ganache frosting on a cake? It’s similar. Add sauce to hot water or milk, stir and then add the coffee concentrate.
Ready, Set, Go
All in all, you are an artisan at the helm of an intriguing experiment with coffee concentrate in one hand, and syrups, sauces, and spices in another. Plant or animal-based milk, hot or cold water … There are tons of recipes to follow for you to make high quality coffee beverages at home. Morning must-have, afternoon pick-me-up, cocktail or mocktail. What are you waiting for?