What doesn’t go well with coffee…

There are many different ways to drink coffee – that we know for sure. While some people find it insulting to add any sort of milk product to coffee, whether it’s soy or skim, there are others who find it difficult to imagine drinking coffee without their adored froth. Yet there are other things that some consider just as basic to coffee as the water used ot brew it with. Depending on which part of the world you are, coffee is drunk with various condiments and confections.

Coffee and cinnamon

While many of you will find it completely strange to associate coffee and cinnamon in the same sentence, there are others out there who know exactly what we mean. In some parts of the world coffee goes with cinnamon like sugar goes with tea. As a spice cinnamon has exotic origins in the far east, making its way through the world along many of the spice trails until it reached just about everywhere. It originated from parts of Sri Lanka, however it has made appearances as afar back as the bible, as an instrumental spice used for both medicinal and ritual purposes. When cinnamon found its way to Egypt it really took off the ground to become a staple in daily life activities from cooking to cleaning. Much later on, in parts of the Middle and Far East, cinnamon found coffee. The union between the two was magical. By sprinkling cinnamon on coffee as you would sugar or chocolate in the west, the coffee cup is instantly transformed into a spicy beverage that is unlike the kind you are used to as your daily grind.

Coffee and cardamom

Cardamon, pronounced differently according to the country you are standing in, is an incredibly exotic spice that conjures up romantic images of warmth and excitement. It is related to the ginger root and is the second most expensive spice in the world, second only to saffron. Why then, you may ask, would people put it into their daily coffee beverage? Cardamon is well known in many worlds including the spiritual, medicinal and culinary. Its origins are India, although it can be found engrained in the practices of people fro mall over the east and orient. It can only be described as bitter sweet spice yet that hardly does it any justice .Once added it will leave its kick without question. There is no covering up the cardamom once it has been used to flavour foods. So before you go spooning it into your coffee make sure you actually like the taste! In the Middle East, where coffee and cardamom are not often found apart, coffee is consumed black, muddy and strong. The cardamom gives the coffee a completely different, acquired taste that is nothing like sugar or anything else we might add to coffee in the west. Once tried a few times, some people do not go back and will be seen carrying a small zip lock bag of cardamom in their bags to add to their macchiato or espresso. Cardamon and latte – not so much!

Coffee and sugar

Our friend sugar has done very well for itself having met coffee a long time back now. Coffee and sugar are such good friends that they are hardly ever served completely separately. At the very least sugar comes wrapped in paper and sits alongside the coffee cup, or waits patiently in a bowl near by. Some will insist that it is the brown, sticky, hard, raw sugar that goes best with coffee. Many do not care for the colour of their sugar so long as it sweetens their coffee. Yet year after year there is a growing school of people who are rebelling over this union that to them seems more and more foreign and irrational. I must admit I am from that school of thought. I can understand a summery beverage of ice coffee that needs a little syrup to move it along. But daily coffee is best had clean, completely clean. Even milk makes it a little too dirty. For those who know the taste of coffee without sugar there is no comparison and no argument to be had. For others who are used to coffee mixed with sugar and are happy with things that way the taste of clean coffee is hard to explain. So while I do not agree, I definitely understand that as with cardamom and cinnamon, many people cannot think about separating the two – especially first thing in the morning.

Coffee and cream

I first discovered coffee and cream when I was far to young to know what either really were. I used to see my father adding this white stuff to this black stuff and seeming truly satisfied and complete once he consumed the mixture. This was a ritual that often took place in the morning although definitely not every morning. After a while I learnt the names of coffee and cream, as well as the other stuff that was used everyday- milk. The white, thick, rich stuff was only around every now and then. I soon learned it was the white stuff of preference. I asked my father about it one day. He described cream as sweet and creamy. That didn’t help me much. He then said it added a richness to the coffee that milk simply couldn’t provide. He also said it wasn’t very healthy to eat too much cream. So I guessed it was a special occasions thing you add to coffee. But since my childhood I have hardly ever seen cream added to coffee. I have even seen butter – in parts of India- but not cream very often. I think it is a sign of the times – people caring more about their hearts and cholesterol than about the taste of their coffee. Even so, every once in a while, coffee and cream seem to be quite a perfect match. Not too milky, velvety and smooth, cream could be the answer in many ways. Most people will claim that the United States of America was responsible ofr the union between coffee and cream. I think they might be right.

Coffee and whiskey

Alcohol and coffee don’t often go together, except when they do. And when they do, if mixed by a person who knows their business, this is a potent match. And not al alcohol is a fried of coffee. Take for example beer- a terrible mix! Coffee beans and yeast –yuk. When we talk about coffee and alcohol wee usually mean in the Scottish sense –whiskey and coffee. In many parts this is known as Irish coffee. And people in the United Kingdom and surrounds usually prefer milky beverages, so when we do mix whiskey and coffee it is normally milky coffee. While you will find coffee and a touch of whiskey in many parts of the world there is no doubt that this union is most comfortable in the United Kingdom, Scotland and Ireland. It is also disputed as to the effects the hot liquid of brewed coffee actually has on the whiskey and how much of the alcohol potency is retained in the drink. Most people look past this minor detail and drink it anyway because especially I nth winter months Irish coffee definitely warms the throat and the tummy. That’s more than enough of a reason call this another great match with our dear friend coffee.

Coffee and vodka

Last but definitely not least in our long list of things you can try coffee with ,vodka makes a big difference to just about anything it comes into contact with. Coffee is no exception to this rule. While we would like to say that the eastern Europeans are responsible for bringing the two drinks together we can’t really be sure. It was more likely a result of someone’s trial and error as eastern Europeans don’t really like to mix their vodka with anything at all, not even lemon or lime- god forbid. When it comes to coffee and vodka and how the two fare together we hold the world responsible! Enter the espresso martini. This classy cocktail is made best with real espresso so if you haven’t tried the real thing you will soon learn that you have been wasting your time. As with chai and other beverages that now come in a freeze dried or liquid form of their former selves, espresso has been known to be a flavouring in many parts. Espresso is not and never should be a flavour. It is in and of itself only, made using coffee beans and water. Espresso martinis are a perfect way to end our list of how coffee can be versatile when added with other spices and the like. When you try one for the first time you will find it hard to believe that vodka and coffee could ever taste so good. And then you’ll be up all night wondering why you didn’t think about the lasting effects of coffee mixed with alcohol…

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