Coffee with garlic? Why not! 8 excellent and 8 strange combinations with spices

White porcelain cup with coffee, sunglasses, summer hat, slippers and pink herbs are arranged next to it

Coffee's best friends, aside from sugar, and how it's consumed in Mexico, Finland, Tunisia, USA...

Somewhere, sometime in the deep East, someone decided that the caffeine in coffee is harmful, and in order to neutralize it and enhance its stimulating effect on the nervous and digestive systems, they began to add various spices. Thus, the exotic “oriental coffee” was born, but not all experiments with spices are successful – some give the drink an intrusive aroma, others change its taste. There have been countless trials and errors until the most excellent combinations were reached, making life more interesting.

At ATRIUM we love coffee and its exotic varieties. Sometimes we alternate the traditional espresso with coffee with oriental notes.

coffee beans
Photo: Unsplash

Coffee with cinnamon and cloves

Cinnamon gives a warm and bitter aftertaste and complements the acidic Arabica variety perfectly. This is the most commonly chosen combination by people who want to feel an additional aroma and don’t like their coffee pure. It is equally pleasant to melt a cinnamon stick for a few seconds or sprinkle with 1 gram of cinnamon powder.

Clove is a bright spice and makes the coffee quite spicy and strong, neutralizing the effect of caffeine. This spice is a good antiseptic, and you can add it if you have problems with your throat and respiratory organs. However, it may lower blood pressure.

a cup of coffee with cream and chocolate crumbs, clove seeds and orange peels are arranged next to it
Photo: Unsplash

Coffee with cardamom and ginger

Cardamom – a spice from the ginger family, is quite special: cooling, with a slightly sharp taste, but it adds sweetness and a sense of bliss to the coffee due to the abundance of essential oils. It has a pronounced good effect on strengthening the stomach. Do not add a whole pod to hot coffee, only 1-2 grains are enough to feel its unique aroma.

Ginger – juicy, spicy, and with a warming effect, it pairs wonderfully with coffee because it fully reveals its properties in the hot drink. You can add a little powdered ginger to the cup or grate 1-2 grams of fresh root.

a cup of coffee, around it you can see 3 macaroons biscuits, green sprigs and the inscription "enjoy the little things"
Photo: Unsplash

Coffee with vanilla or black pepper

Vanilla has a stunning aroma, warm, slightly sweet, and very gentle. Overall, this spice has a highly attractive character, so feel free to add a pod to your coffee cup – it has a calming effect and brings a sense of joy and happiness.

Black pepper is a very special partner to coffee because it adds sophistication to its taste and warms it up. Moreover, it has the ability to clear the mind and sharpen focus. Adding 1 gram of freshly ground black pepper would accentuate the character of the coffee, and besides, this spice has the property of cleansing the body of toxins.

coffee in a white china cup, cherry fudge and vanilla pods around them
Photo: Unsplash

Coffee with indian nutmeg or cocoa

Indian nutmeg is invigorating on its own, and as an addition to coffee, it’s an exciting pleasure, along with the fact that it enhances concentration. However, it should not be used in large quantities – a few tiny specks of it are enough.

Cocoa is a great friend of coffee, but not when boiled together. To the prepared coffee, add 1-2 grams of cocoa powder, and you’ll get a true drink fit for the gods.

red octagonal road sign that says "Coffee" instead of "Stop"
Photo: Unsplash

What is the "marriage" between coffee and some special spices

Traditionally, Arabs season their coffee to obtain a pronounced sharp and pungent taste. In addition to the spices listed so far, they use spicy accompaniments: cumin, anise, garlic, and baharat, with cardamom being the most strongly represented. In Iraq, they not only give the drink a strange taste but also a strange color by adding saffron to it, which, as you know, is orange.

In many cold climate countries, such as Mongolia, people often add a knob of butter to their coffee. In Finland, they go even further by dropping a piece of high-fat hard cheese or melted cheese into the cup. In this way, they don’t actually drink the coffee but eat it with a spoon.

Vietnamese people also have a creative addition: they pour an egg beaten in condensed milk into their coffee. It results in something like a sweet brown liquid omelet.

In countries along the southern latitudes, it’s quite normal while brewing coffee to add coconut flakes or dried orange and lemon peels, resulting in a very interesting tangy taste.

Europeans also love exotic flavors, and common combinations include coffee with dried figs and/or dates, with essences of citrus fruits, or ground nuts: cashews, almonds, hazelnuts. This turns the drink into a real dessert with a complex structure and composition.

To avoid overdoing it with any of the ingredients in the coffee, there are a few rules to follow.

a cup of coffee, a circle of orange and small sweets, a phone and a purse, photographed from above
Photo: Unsplash

Coffee and spices - rules

If you’re trying a spice combination for the first time, regardless of what it is, add a tiny amount of it because the unusual taste may not appeal to you – an amount at the very tip of the knife is sufficient.

Spicy spices always require moderation, not just when initially mixing, so be especially careful with black pepper, Indian nutmeg, and cardamom.

It’s important to consider that ground spices lose some of their charm over time – some change their aroma, while others almost disappear, especially if stored improperly – in sunlight, outdoors, or in open containers. They can thus give a completely unexpected and even unpleasant taste to the coffee, so it’s best to buy whole spices and grind or crush them immediately before consumption.

coffee shop - you can see a coffee machine, cups, plates, various jars full of coffee, and on the wall in a dark color in white letters are written the various types of coffee that are available
Photo: Unsplash

Coffee customs in different countries

Greeks most often flavor their coffee with cinnamon, which they always place in the drink in the form of a whole stick. If they want to sweeten it, they use cane sugar.

In Italy, it’s nothing surprising to be served coffee sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom, and a spoonful of fresh lemon juice – resulting in a unique tropical aroma.

In many Mediterranean countries, people prefer coffee with added ginger, coriander, and nutmeg.

Scattered coffee beans, in the middle a white coffee cup full of coffee beans with flames coming out of it
Photo: Unsplash

Irish coffee is a classic among cocktails and is made from equal parts whiskey and coffee, with a spoonful of cream and chocolate shavings.

Scandinavians also add a stable amount of concentrated alcohol to their coffee – whiskey or vodka, but sweeten it appropriately and sprinkle it with many warming spices.

A glass of Irish coffee next to it an alcohol jigger and a coffee pot
Photo: Unsplash

In Brazil, known for its numerous coffee plantations, you might be offered coffee topped with grated dark chocolate. However, this way of serving coffee is also quite common in Europe.

Mexicans simmer cinnamon, cloves, and cane sugar in plain water for a long time. Then they add this liquid to brewed coffee and sprinkle with a pinch of vanilla. Instead of a stirrer, they use a cinnamon stick.

A brown glass bottle turned into a vase from which a creamy rose is dispensed. Next to it is a glass filter coffee pot, a copper coffee pot and an open notebook
Photo: Unsplash

Americans can drink liters of coffee made from chicory roots. This plant with blue flowers, which grows like a weed, contains no caffeine and is widely used in folk medicine. It contains a high content of probiotic inulin, various vitamins, macro- and microelements, from which it has many benefits for the immune, nervous, digestive systems, and liver. In the USA, the beverage made from or with dried chicory roots is called “chicken coffee”. In our country, in Poland, and in some other countries, it is known as Inka coffee, made from chicory, acorn flour, ground rye, and barley grains.

In some states, however, such as Louisiana, they don’t limit themselves and add to coffee a “devil’s mix”, prepared from brandy with cloves, cinnamon, and citrus peel soaked in it. Before pouring it into the coffee cup, this mixture is set on fire.

Close-up of chicory blossom photographed in nature. A bee can be seen in the center of one flower
Photo: Unsplash

Yemeni coffee has a long history, an integral part of which is cardamom. The drink is prepared in special teapots with a spout designed to hold a cardamom pod, so when pouring, the coffee passes through it and aromatizes it.

In Tunisia, coffee is boiled in rose or orange water, giving it a romantic flavor.

Black metal kettle placed on a burning fire in the nature


Give us a call or fill in the form below and we will contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.