Sunday, February 25, 2007

Spicing Up Your Daily Grind

In college, I made drip coffee. After college, I graduated to French press. As I turned 30, I acquired an affinity for coffee brewed in a sleek stovetop espresso-maker. One thing stayed the same – I liked my coffee dark, black and unadulterated.

Until our trip to Zanzibar. There, it is not the usual subjects – sugar and milk – that people add to their cuppa. Instead, as would befit life on the “Spice Islands,” Zanzibaris infuse their coffee with spices. Cardamom and ginger to be exact. For me, Zanzibar coffee is not everyday coffee – it can be a little too much of an event for my senses when I’m groggy and just trying to get myself out of the house. On Sundays, however, I can enjoy breathing in the aromatic steam before each sip and feeling the tickle at the back of my throat where the ginger and cardamom hit.

Zanzibar coffee is prepared similarly to Turkish or Bosnian coffee, and, like these nation’s brews, is served in tiny cups. If you choose, you can accompany your cup with a cube or two of sugar. Or, even better – and more traditional – forgo the sugar and intersperse your sipping with nibbles on a sweet, plump date.

Many people are rather protective of their morning routines, and won’t like the idea of disrupting this routine with a new method of coffee brewing. If this is you, instead of following the recipe below, try simply adding some cardamom and ginger to your normal brewing method. For example, in a French press, you can let the cardamom pods, ground cardamom and ground ginger steep along with your ground coffee. With drip coffee, make a strong brew, and then stir in the ground spices before serving. Experiment!

Zanzibar Coffee
Adapted from A Taste of Zanzibar: Chakula Kizuri
Serves 6 (small cups!)

750 milliliters / 3 cups water
3 cardamom pods
75 milliliters / 5 tablespoons ground coffee (less for weaker coffee)
2.5 milliliters / ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
2.5 milliliters / ½ teaspoon ground ginger

Boil the water for 10 minutes with the cardamom pods. Add the ground coffee, stir and boil for another five minutes. Stir in the ground cardamom and ground ginger, and remove from the heat. Pick out the cardamom pods, and serve. Like Turkish or Bosnian coffee, a bitter, coffee-grind sludge will gather at the bottom of your cup – don’t drink this!


Le laquet said...

Do you boil it in a saucepan? Or does it go in scome kind of coffee maker? I can imagine it would be a once in a while fr a change cup.

Carolyn said...

Le Laquet - Yes, this type of coffee is boiled in a saucepan. But, you can also try adding ground ginger and cardamom to your regular method of coffee preparation. It is a good change of pace!

Erin S. said... delightful. Reminds me of the Mexican coffee--cafe de la oya--I get at place near my house in LA, full of cinnamon goodness...

Anita said...

In certain regions of India, coffee is prepared similarly by boiling, with a pinch of nutmeg being added during the process.

Me, I like my coffee in plain coffee flavour! :) But, I happily add cardamoms and ginger (even a pinch of cinnamon and black pepper!) to my tea in the winter - what is popularly known in the West as chai tea. Chai, incidentally, is the North Indian word for nothing other than tea!