Indian Spiced Coffee: Give Your Morning Cup a Kick

May 27, 2020Brittany Ramjattan
Cup of coffee with spices. Cinnamon sticks, cardamom, allspices, curcuma and anise on wooden table.

Cup of coffee with spices. Cinnamon sticks, cardamom, allspices, curcuma and anise on wooden table.

Coffee is a commodity that spans the globe and as such, everyone’s morning cup of coffee is a little different. In countries that don’t have access to top-quality beans and grounds, flavoring is a popular way to make the most of the morning beverage. 

In India, for example, coffee is usually prepared with a filter and subsequently flavored to its drinker’s liking. While most of the time this means a simple mixture of milk and sugar, other times it can be a variety of dried spices for an additional kick.

Those of us who grew up in South Asian households are used to coming home to the spiciest of foods, and from time to time those spices make their way into our coffee. The base of any Indian coffee is usually filter coffee, also called filter kaapi or madras kaapi.

indian spiced coffee, coffee or die
Recipe by Brittany Ramjattan/Coffee or Die. Graphic by Erik Campbell/Coffee or Die. Adobe Stock image.

This is brewed with a dual-compartment cylindrical metal drip filter similar to a moka pot. Finely ground coffee is added to the upper compartment, then covered by a disk with a hole through which boiling water is added. The mixture is left to sit for a few minutes, and the bottom compartment will collect the decoction of the beans, which is usually sweetened with powdered cream and sugar in India. 

Authenticity doesn’t have to be the goal of this recipe for Indian Spiced Coffee — understandably, the additional processing may be cumbersome, and it’s not a felony to substitute it with your favorite coffee-brewing method instead. This recipe also doesn’t require any particular kind of coffee or the use of your best beans. You can even opt to do this with instant coffee, which is fairly common in India as well. 

Similar to masala chai, this concoction leans heavily on dried spices to derive its depth of flavor. The true flavor of this coffee is based on the additional spices that are added. This recipe in particular uses ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and coriander to create a spice blend you can keep handy for future use. There’s also the option to make a cardamom coffee syrup to sweeten the drink, but whole cardamom pods can be hard to come by, so feel free to use sugar and dried cardamom instead.

Brittany Ramjattan
Brittany Ramjattan
Brittany Ramjattan is a freelance writer with a background in film. Brittany is currently a graduate student at Stony Brook’s Television Writing program in Manhattan, and when she’s not slaving over her computer, she’s slaving over her French press, working on her perfect cup. 
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