An Ode To Coffee

Well, it’s not exactly an ode to coffee. I’m not a poet. And believe me – I know it. But back when I was in retail and food, I drank a lot of it. Not just because it kept me moving, but this cherub-like demeanor doesn’t come from fruit juice and cookies. Coffee takes me from wild-haired-evil-witch-escaping-Azkaban to Disney-Princess-singing-in-the-woods.

Since leaving retail and food service, I’ve been drinking less espresso and more plain coffee. However, sometimes you need to stir things up a bit to keep the coffee from feeling boring and bland. So, are you thinking of adding a spark to the morning cup o’ Joe, too? Look no further. Here are my top three favorites.

1. Add cocoa powder

Grab some plain Hershey’s cocoa powder – usually marketed for hot chocolate. Since I make about 20 oz. of coffee in the morning, I dump a heaping teaspoon into the coffee filter before hitting the “brew” button. If you choose to brew the powder with the coffee (which I suggest so it’s all mixed in and the flavors are lip-smacking swell), just make sure you have straight cocoa powder. You don’t want any sugar or weird ingredients in there to destroy the coffee machine.

2. Add cinnamon

I know this one isn’t original at all, but it’s great and can have some health benefits. Again, make sure this is straight cinnamon (not cinnamon sugar) if you’re going to brew it into your coffee. I like to do this because – who doesn’t like cinnamon? It adds that special, small comfort to your morning commute/breakfast/meeting. Plus, if you ingest enough of it, it acts as a tasty anti-inflammatory.

3. Add vanilla extract

I would be a little more careful with this. Depending on the brand of vanilla extract, there can be different alcohol levels as well as flavoring strength (some companies water it down and others keep it strong). You can also use vanilla bean powder, but be sure to really stir that in. (And add it to the coffee after brewing due to the sugar!) I generally don’t use this unless I need a tasty pick-me-up after work. This one, you wouldn’t dump into the coffee machine. Add a small serving (teaspoon – if that) to the freshly-poured coffee and stir. Since I have this in the afternoons, I tend to make half of what I would in the morning, so you don’t need to go crazy, anyway.

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