03/07/2012 09:15 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Spice Up Your Coffee


Photo Credit: Small Kitchen College

Snack: Spiced Coffee
Brain Booster Rating: 9 out of 10, the coffee will surely kickstart your brain functioning.
Equipment: Mug, coffee-making setup (I have a percolator)
Ingredients: Coffee, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg

I must admit, my coffee routine has gotten a bit boring. Every morning since high school, the first thing I do when I wake up is brew a cup of coffee. Even though over the years I have experimented with different methods of brewing -- drip, French press and now finally a stovetop espresso percolator -- the taste of the coffee has remained relatively the same.

If your coffee routine has gotten a bit tired too, try adding some spices to your morning brew. Inspired by spiced warm milk my mother made me when I was a kid, I sprinkled cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg -- the flavors of a chai tea latte -- on top of the coffee in the percolator before putting it on the stove. (Remember to just use a tiny bit of cloves and nutmeg because they have really strong flavors. Sprinkle the spices in with the coffee, whatever method you brew your cup.) Even though I don't drink sugar with my coffee regularly, I added some brown sugar to my cup to cut the slightly bitter aftertaste of the spices. The result was something like one of those Christmastime-spiced pumpkin concoctions that I never get from Starbucks, but without all the unappetizing sweetness.

Even though I am a bit of a coffee snob, since I drink a borderline-absurd amount of coffee, I usually don't buy the really fantastic single-origin-shade-grown-$14-per-half-pound roasts because my coffee habit would be too expensive. Spicing your coffee can be a creative way to enhance the flavor of okay coffee, a diversion from your normal morning routine, and a thought-provoking addition to your dorm room coffee shop.

Emma Hazen attends the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University hailing from California. Read more...

—Emma Hazen for Small Kitchen College