If you know me, then you know about my obsession with coffee and that I drink a lot of it. I own a Keurig K-Cup machine, a backpacking french press, a Mr. Coffee (small and large), a Turkish coffee pot, and an espresso machine. I drink it strong, with milk or cream, but never with sugar. On occasion I drink it black. I don’t add syrupy flavors to it but I am a huge fan of flavored coffee. Strong, medium, bold, and beautiful; I love it. I LOOOVE it. If I could, I would bathe in it, swim in it; have a constant drip of it flowing through my veins…
Don’t Judge me.
This love affair with coffee has really helped develop my knowledge of good and bad coffee; from my days as a highly qualified Starbucks Barista to slumming it in dirty diners and stopping in to sub-par gas stations on various road trips, I have consumed a lot of joe along my journey. I’ve gotten some great brewing advice and some horrible brewing but the most LIFE changing advice came from a pub in Barre, Vermont.
Yes, I drank coffee in a pub; so what? While everyone else sat around enjoying Vermont micro-brews, I ordered a coffee. Quite honestly, I expected a cup of week old, scalding hot, acidulous brown water; what I got instead, was a gift.
With serious trepidation, I took a sip. Then, another. Shock and disbelief overtook me and I was pleasantly surprised by the smooth, slightly spicy taste of this wonderful brew. Humbly, I asked the bartender what kind of coffee it was. He smiled a devilishly handsome grin and said, “Store Brand”.
STORE BRAND? GENERIC?! WHAAAT! NooOOOoooo…..
No espresso, no arabica blend, no fancy pants name or absurdly clever label….no name at ALL actually…
A NO-FRILLS STORE BRAND.
Gathered my wits I said, “Wow. Really? It’s the best coffee. Ever.”
Again, the grin, the smile…the sly secret wise eyes that shone with the owl-like knowledge of a true connoisseur.
He spoke once more, “The secret is, I add a bit of cinnamon powder to the grounds before I brew the coffee.” He smiled again then spoke no more.
I decided to bring this information back to my chalet and try it myself. Magic. PURE magic.
For a full 12-cup pot of coffee, add to the appropriate measurement of grounds:
ONE tablespoon of your favorite spice. Then brew. That’s it.
Some spices I’ve tried are: Cinnamon, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Apple Pie Spice, and Nutmeg. By far my favorite is pumpkin pie spice. You can experiment; add more or less to suit your needs but be careful though, too much can impede the brewing process and actually clog the filter. Be sure to thoroughly wash your filter out (if you’re using a reusable one) and clean the pot carefully.
Many years later, especially in the fall, I still employ this simple practice of making a not so great grind in to something special and different.
Love and Hugs,
From the darkest parts of the MAINE woods….
PS: Please, feel free to share your spice it up java stories with us!
Email or simply post a comment on my blog here. Thanks!