Are you tired of having the same old morning coffee every single day? Would you like to add some kick, zing, and zazz to your next cup? Say no more. This list of coffee add-ins is sure to have at least a couple of surprises that will please your taste buds.
1. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper will add some delicious heat to your coffee, tickling your tastebuds. The capsaicin in cayenne can also lower high blood pressure and provide other health benefits.
If plain cayenne sounds like it would be too much for you, mix the cayenne powder into your cup with cinnamon and chocolate to create an Aztec coffee.
Coffee and salt sound like a strange combination. However, you might be surprised by the effect salt has on coffee. It can neutralize the bitterness in low-quality or particularly harsh coffee beans.
Just don’t pour the salt into your cup. Instead, add a quarter teaspoon of salt to six tablespoons of coffee grounds before brewing. You could also mix the salt into the brewing water before pouring it over the coffee.
Cardamom is one of the more popular coffee add-ins in the Middle East. It’s also made its way into Sweden, where you might find cardamom shakers in coffee shops. Sprinkling some ground cardamom over your cappuccino or throwing a few seeds into the grinder with the coffee beans will give your coffee a warm spicy flavor.
Cardamom is also good for your health. Popular in Ayurvedic medicine, it has plenty of fiber and minerals. Research has also found that cardamom may help prevent cancer, so why not give it a try?
Cinnamon is one of the most popular coffee flavors — just think how crazy people go for a pumpkin spice latte that contains mostly cinnamon. Ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick mixed in with coffee beans will add a flavor explosion to your coffee without extra calories or added sugars.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and can help stave off complex neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.
People in northern India, Vietnam, and Singapore have been drinking coffee with butter for centuries. It became known as bulletproof coffee in America, popularized by David Asprey, the father of biohacking.
Butter in your coffee can raise your ketone levels, which boosts energy and can help you lose weight. It’s one of the best coffee add-ins for people on a keto diet.
6. Peppermint oil
Peppermint coffee is a seasonal guest at coffee shops. But with peppermint oil, every home barista will be able to make peppermint coffee with ease.
A few drops of peppermint oil in your coffee pot will give it a refreshing, bright minty flavor. Just don’t go overboard with it as it can quickly get overpowering and make your coffee taste bitter.
7. Coconut oil
There’s been a lot of hubbub about coconut oil in recent years. People tout it as a superfood that can boost our immune system and help our brains.
Coconut oil will add a mellow, light flavor to coffee, and it’s a great coffee addition on its own. So coffee drinkers who don’t like the taste of coconut milk can still enjoy coconut flavor with a splash of oil in their coffee.
If you’ve never had nutmeg, you will be in for a flavor shock — in a positive sense. Nutmeg has a stronger aroma than many other spices. It will add an intensely sweet, nutty, and warm twist to your cup of coffee, so it’s best used sparingly.
On top of the unique taste, nutmeg is mineral-rich and has anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been used in herbal medicine to help with digestion and stomach problems.
9. Egg yolk
Raw egg yolk in coffee? I know, but just hear me out, okay? I didn’t make this up. Coffee with frothed egg yolk is a popular drink in Vietnam, known as cà phê trứng.
A frothed yolk gives coffee wonderful creaminess and is entirely dairy-free. This is an excellent choice for coffee lovers following a paleo diet, which doesn’t include milk products. It will also give you a chance to break out that Vietnamese coffee maker you never use.
Lemon is a popular additive in tea, so why not also in coffee? Lemon tastes delicious and refreshing, and it can also tone down the bitterness of strong coffee.
And that’s why Espresso Romano is a thing. This Italian coffee drink joins the bold flavors of espresso and freshly squeezed lemon juice in happy matrimony — with a dash of sugar if you like it sweet. If you prefer other citrus fruits, you can experiment with lime or grapefruit.
Italian Amaretto liquor which is made of almods has a distinctive, nutty, slightly bitter flavor. After all, its name translates from Italian to “a little bitter.” And it’s delicious with coffee!
For the ultimate amaretto coffee, combine a cup of coffee with a shot of the liqueur and top it with whipped cream. You can use the almond extract as an alcohol-free option to achieve a similar almond flavor.
12. Maple syrup
If you’re looking for an alternative sweetener to sugar, you will love maple syrup. It will add a smoother, richer taste to your coffee than plain sugar. Although it’s not lower in calories, maple syrup is packed with nutrients like zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.
Maple syrup is a delicious and healthy way to add sweetness to your coffee mug. Just make sure you buy 100% authentic maple syrup — “pancake syrups” and other products like them are nothing but sugar.
Ginger is a warming coffee additive that will add a hint of spiciness to your cup. It’s commonly used as a coffee ingredient in Yemen to brew the local qishr ginger coffee.
It’s best to add dried ginger powder to your coffee grounds before brewing. This way, the flavor won’t become overwhelming, and you can still reap ginger’s health benefits, as it reduces inflammation.
14. Cocoa powder
It goes without saying that cocoa powder will add a delicious mocha-like taste to your coffee. Depending on the cocoa you use, it can also be healthy. Pure cocoa powder is loaded with antioxidants.
The hot coffee drink Barbajada from Italy is a fun and easy way to start exploring the combination of coffee and cocoa. Stir cocoa powder, milk, and black coffee together in equal parts and taste your new favorite coffee drink.
Before sugar took over the world, honey was the go-to sweetener around the world for centuries. So it should come as no surprise that adding honey to your coffee will taste great.
Mixing honey into a coffee can really enhance the taste, and since it’s sweeter than sugar, you won’t need as much of it. On top of it all, honey is packed with nutrients and healthy compounds.
16. Coconut water
Coconut water is a creative way to add flavor to iced or cold brew coffee or other cold coffee drinks. It’s easy to use, too. Just follow the usual recipe, but replace the water with coconut water.
Coconut is naturally sweet, so you won’t need added sugars. Additionally, it has plenty of electrolytes, making a coconut water-based cold brew a perfect cool post-workout pick-me-up.
17. Hazelnut oil
You’re not alone if you like the combination of hazelnuts and coffee. Serve your coffee with a bit of hazelnut oil or extract, and you won’t have to pay coffee shop prices for a delicious beverage. Hazelnut oil has plenty of healthy flavonoids and vitamins to help with blood circulation and weight management.
Swap the milk in your coffee for cream; you will be in for a rich, smooth coffee experience. The cream will thicken your coffee and enhance its flavor in ways milk never could. You have plenty of options based on how much fat you want to add to your mug, from heavy cream and whipping cream to half-and-half.
19. Vanilla extract
The flavors of vanilla and coffee form an ideal mixture, so vanilla is one of the more popular coffee add-ins. Adding just a couple of drops of pure vanilla extract to your coffee will boost its flavor. If you like things on the sweet side, there are recipes online for homemade vanilla syrup that can be stored for up to a month.
20. Fruit juice
Adding a splash of fresh fruit juice — orange, mango, apple, whichever you want — can help you unlock surprising flavor combos. It works especially well with espresso coffee. But there’s also another good reason to use these coffee add-ins.
Fruits are high in antioxidants, but their healthy fats can help caffeine absorb slower while balancing blood sugar. As a result, you will enjoy coffee’s stimulating effects longer without the sudden unpleasant crash.
21. Star anise
Star anise has a sweetness that somewhat resembles licorice. This spice is a mainstay of Chinese cuisine, but it’s also a welcome addition to coffee. You can experiment with star anise in many ways. Add anise powder to your coffee grounds before brewing or simmer the star-shaped pods with sugar syrup so you can flavor your coffee with it.
Star anise inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi and can help balance blood sugar levels.
22. Brown sugar
Try swapping your regular white sugar for brown — chances are you won’t go back. Brown sugar contains molasses, which gives it a rich flavor with a hint of caramel. There are also many different varieties of brown sugars, which will pair well with different kinds of coffee, from filter coffee to espresso.
Cloves are a popular spice thanks to their slight sweetness and strong, instantly recognizable aroma. They combine well with coffee and will offer a fancy, luxurious spiced coffee experience. Clove can also combat inflammation and has been used to treat toothaches.
But cloves can be bitter, so be careful not to make your coffee too harsh. Just a pinch of them in ground coffee will do the trick!
24. Coconut milk
Coconut milk is among the most popular coffee dairy substitutes among vegans and lactose-intolerant people (like your author here). Coconut milk is perhaps the closest to whole cow’s milk in texture and consistency among all plant milk products. Therefore, it will naturally add a light coconut flavor to the coffee. Still, it’s not overpowering and easy to ignore, even if you don’t like coconut.
Coconut is vitamin-packed and loaded with healthy fats, making it an excellent dairy milk substitute.
25. Chai spices
The chai latte is a popular tea beverage. But did you know you can also add a chai spin to a cafe latte, or any coffee, for that matter? This beverage even has a name: dirty chai (not to be confused with the dirty coffee you can read about here).
Simply sprinkle the usual chai spice mix — like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and black pepper — into your ground coffee before brewing. You can enjoy the flavor of chai, coffee’s caffeine, and the spices’ health benefits in a perfect blend.
If you are into spiced coffees, you can also try the simple version of the Senegalese Café Touba recipe.
26. Vanilla ice cream
There’s coffee-flavored ice cream, but we can do better than that. Take a trip to Italy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of hot espresso poured over it. And there you have it — affogato al caffe!
But if you don’t want to melt your ice cream that fast, try making the German Eiskaffe (ice coffee). Brew a cup of coffee, chill it in the fridge, and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
27. Cacao nibs
In case you don’t know what cacao nibs are, they are roasted cacao beans crushed into smaller pieces. Their taste resembles dark chocolate, but since they have no added sugar, they’re less sweet and more earthy — just like coffee.
Adding cacao nibs to your coffee grinder will infuse your morning coffee with a delicious chocolate flavor. And it’s healthy too — no sugar, but plenty of fiber, iron, and antioxidants.
Of all spices that serve as coffee add-ins, allspice is one of, if not the strongest. A pinch of ground allspice berries added to your coffee will change its flavor, so be careful how much you add.
But don’t be afraid, because allspice will make for a good cup of coffee. It has a complex flavor — like its name implies — and will spice up your coffee in a wonderful way.
I have two words for you — Irish coffee. Pour some black coffee into a cup, add half as much whiskey and a teaspoon of sugar, stir, and top it with a crown of whipped cream. This shouldn’t be your morning brew, but the combined flavor of coffee and whiskey will make for a fantastic pick-me-up after the last workday of the week.
Marshmallows aren’t just for hot chocolate; you can add them to coffee. The pillowy candy will partially melt in hot coffee, giving it a creamy texture. And whatever remains solid will become a coffee-soaked flavor sponge.
You can also throw marshmallows into iced coffee or cold brew. Of course, they won’t absorb as much coffee as in a warm drink, but they’ll still make for a fun and tasty treat.
31. Lavender oil
Lavender oil has health benefits that can calm you down and improve your sleep quality. So why would you want to add it to a coffee? To make a flavored lavender latte, that’s why!
Add a couple of drops of oil to the steamed milk to make your latte. The subtle lavender taste complements coffee surprisingly well, and it will smoothen out the caffeine rush. No more caffeine shakes, only longer-lasting energy.
32. Dark chocolate
Adding a piece of dark chocolate at the bottom of a coffee mug and then pouring espresso on top of it will allow every home barista to craft a tasty mocha. The melted chocolate gives coffee a rich, indulgent taste while slightly thickening the beverage.
Dark chocolate (75-85%) also contains plenty of fiber, iron, magnesium, and other healthy compounds. Just don’t go overboard with it — even dark chocolate has a lot of sugar.
33. Homemade syrup
You can easily use simple syrup to replace sugar in your coffee. But to really unlock the power of syrup, you can infuse it with other flavors.
Add some vanilla extract, orange zest, mint, or fresh strawberries. The possibilities are endless! Playing around with homemade syrups will let you create truly unique coffee drinks.
34. Goat or sheep milk
Cow’s milk is the usual dairy product served with coffee. But you don’t have to go with a moo-ing source of milk.
Goat’s milk is saltier and less sweet than cow’s milk, creating a tasty and interesting blend with medium-roasted coffee. On the other hand, Sheep’s milk is closer to cow’s milk in terms of taste. It comes with health benefits, like nutritious fat and anticancer properties.
With these creative coffee add-ins, you are guaranteed to make awesome drinks to spice up your coffee routine. But don’t just stick to your list. If you think something would go well with your coffee, be it cappuccino, latte, or flat white, give it a try — you just might be pleasantly surprised. Also, try pairing coffee with different food to elevate your coffee enjoyment further.