I love mornings. The grating glare of the sun as my eyes first open, the relentless shrieks of the birds outside my window as they do lord knows what, and the groggy brain fog followed by a sense of defeat at the thought of yet another day of work from home. Really, what's not to love about early mornings?!
Okay, I understand how that can seem sarcastic. But I assure you it's not. The only catch here is, my pleasant tolerance for all the annoying things a fresh new dawn brings, only comes around after I've had my morning cup of coffee. Because as much as I'd love to say hashtag I woke up like this, I actually got up with a haystack on my head and traces of drool on the corners of my dehydrated mouth. Going from that repulsive state to a presentable member of the society isn't easy by any measure. And the only thing making it happen, is my dark morning espresso flooding my mouth with the bitter taste of caffeine, and brain with a renewed flush of dopamine!
On most days, the recipe for my perfect steaming morning espresso remains unaltered, and even a change as minute as an extra half spoon of sugar, is enough for me to scream bloody murder. Having said that, I also have days when I wake up with a desire for a new kind of taste, the wish to switch things up a bit. So, on the off-chance that I return to the land of the living in a mood for experimentation, I have certain tried and tested tweaks that can add a generous dash of newness to my regular black coffee. And needless to say, I'm here to share a list of these delish toppings you can spice up your espresso with!
If you're in the mood to literally add some spice to your black coffee, a dash of cinnamon is a great idea. The warm taste of the spice mixes remarkably well with the bitter flavour of the coffee. It's also an ideal topping for people interested in augmenting the taste of their espresso without compromising on calories. Besides, dusting in some cinnamon with your regular cup, can bring several health-enhancing benefits to you like lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels, helping in fat burning and acting as an antiviral to boost your immunity with!
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Unlike sugar and other artificial sweeteners, honey has the ability to improve the flavour profile of your coffee while also bringing nutrients and health compounds to your cup. A number of fancy coffee drinks you'll find at expensive cafes consist of this sweet ingredient, like the Spanish Latte. Both honey and coffee are great for boosting metabolism, so when mixed together you get a weight-loss promoting morning drink brimming with antioxidant properties.
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Don't cock your eyebrow yet, just try this infamous coffee mix! Several people make it a habit to add a dollop of butter into their cup of black coffee, and once you learn of the benefits of this concoction, you won't be too far behind either. Butter in coffee is believed to make for a source of long-lasting energy, without it causing a crash in your blood sugar levels. The salty flavours of butter mix with the coffee to create a rich, creamy and silky cup, and this blend is highly regarded for its ability to promote slower digestion, a fuller stomach and subsequent weight loss.
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If you ever find yourself grabbing a coffee in the Middle East, you're also highly likely to find some cardamom in it. Due to its brilliant ability to bring a floral, exotic taste to regular espresso, sprinkling some grounded cardamom in your coffee when you're in the mood to experiment is highly recommended. Cardamom has an intense, spicy flavour profile, so be sure to only mix a pinch of the powder. The ingredient is also a fantastic source of iron, potassium and fiber, along with its stomach-soothing properties.
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5. Chocolate Syrup
This one is a total no-brainer, isn't it? Chocolate has the super-power of making practically anything taste better, and the same principle applies to your morning black coffee. Perfect for an indulgent mood, mixing some chocolate syrup into your coffee will quickly turn it into a comforting and sweet drink, closely resembling a mug of hot-chocolate in taste. For those of you who'd love the flavour of chocolate added without the excess calories, a close substitute is to add some dutched cocoa powder mixed in with honey or maple syrup.
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6. Vanilla Extract
An easy hack to adding a sugary-floral taste to your coffee while skipping all the processed sugar and added fat, is to drizzle a touch of vanilla extract into the drink. There are other delicious natural extracts like hazelnut and peppermint that you can try, but vanilla is by far our favourite owing to the mouth-watering aroma, and the resulting drink reminding us of a cup of vanilla latte. Adding a small helping of this ingredient can add a heavy dash of richness and a more complex blend of flavours to your regular espresso.
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7. Ginger Powder
The nutritional benefits of ginger are already known to most Indians. But while the ingredient is regularly added to chai, ginger coffee is a rarer drink to be found. Well, we'd highly suggest you start whipping some up in your kitchen, because a dash of dry ginger powder in your black coffee can make it taste like delicious gingerbread cookies. Dry ginger is also a very effective natural solution for ailments like cough, throat ache, cold, headache and other flu-like symptoms, so a cup of ginger coffee is especially warranted in the time of Corona!
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8. Coconut Milk
A godsend for those afflicted with lactose intolerance, a mix of black coffee and coconut milk makes for a heavenly creamy drink to start your day with. Especially considering it has the ability to do just what a creamer would minus the extra fat and calories, storing up on some coconut milk is a great idea for every coffee enthusiast. You can also take the flavour mix a notch higher by stirring some vanilla extract into your coconut milk for a mouth-watering and rich homemade coffee drink.
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As bizarre as it sounds, trust us when we say that a leaf or two of fresh mint can really bring a refreshing, cool aroma and taste to your morning espresso. Not to mention how beneficial mint is proven to be as an ingredient, packed with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties! You can also add some peppermint extract instead of mint leaves, for a fancy coffee concoction that's soothing to all your senses. Peppermint can be a tad overbearing in flavour, so be sure to add only a small touch.
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10. Lemon Juice
How does waking up and instantly losing some belly fat sound? If your ears just perked up, all you need in the middle of these two is a steaming mixture of lemon juice and black coffee! Both coffee and lemon are excellent tools for promoting weight loss and improving your metabolism, so needless to say, when you mix the two together the health benefits only compound. A drizzle of lemon juice can bring fresh, aromatic and citrusy flavours to the intense taste of coffee, and balance out the sharpness of your espresso.
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11. Whipped Cream
While there's no way for me to know how you feel about whipped cream, I'll take the liberty to share my feelings. Let's just say if you gave me a spray can of whipped cream, you'll find it entirely empty within an hour or so. It's my favourite addition to desserts, breakfast meals like pancakes and waffles, as well as my morning cup of joe! Just a small amount of whipped cream in your espresso can add so much sweetness, creaminess and a taste delicious enough to keep you licking your lips. The small amount bit here is crucial though, because the heavy nature of whipped cream can end up masking the taste of your coffee and putting in too many calories if added in large amounts.
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Whether it's an Espresso Martini or a classic Black Russian, vodka pairs fantastically well with the strong taste of coffee. We aren't asking you to down a mix of vodka and coffee first thing in the morning (unless you want to?), but as a coffee concoction to end the day with, it really doesn't get better than some boozy vodka-infused espresso. Especially when you want double the kick and energy, just pour some vodka, black coffee and sugar syrup into the cup, and top it off with a dollop of whipped cream!
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Also Read: 10 Coffee Cocktails You Need To Try
P.S. in case you're bored of your run-of-the-mill instant coffee powder, we have a flavoursome caffeine suggestion to make. Besko Coffee transports the goodness of high-quality green coffee beans from Southern India into your morning mug. They offer a variety of blends like 100% Organic Ground Coffee Beans, Araku Valley Ground Coffee Beans and 100% Arabica Ground Coffee Beans, just to name a few. The coffee you'll get from Besko, is exceptional in taste and quality, along with serving as a powerful boost of energy. And since you're here looking for coffee mix suggestions, we believe you'd want nothing but the best java in your cup!
Words can't espresso how much coffee means to me!