Spiced Coconut Coffee With Cardamom

I am a perpetual early riser. Every morning, I wake to the shrill beeping of my old school alarm clock and dutifully pry myself out of bed. Even when my head feels foggy and my eyelids beg to stay shut
-- even when my warm bed feels like the coziest place on earth -- I still fight for the will to stand, to pull out my sweat pants and stick one leg after the other inside. One woolly sock over each bare foot.

I then pad my way into the kitchen, open the blinds and search for sunlight. Lately, the mornings have been drenched in a light and misty fog, which I love. It makes for a cozy atmosphere of a different kind, perfect for curling up with a warm cup of coffee and my journal. On most mornings, I simply brew a regular old pot -- nothing fancy. But when I have the time to curl up in my sweats and have a leisurely morning (and, technically when I have left over coconut milk lying around), I'll kick it up a notch and make my favorite warm beverage.  

Of course, everyone's version of "kicking it up a notch" is slightly different. Some may think of adding cinnamon, or chocolate, or Bailey's (although, it's generally not that type of a morning . . ).
For me, it means adding a combination of coconut milk and cardamom, a Middle Eastern seasoning that is slightly floral and sweet. I originally heard of it on an episode of Entertaining With Beth, but have since jazzed the recipe up a bit and made it my own. The cardamom makes the coffee taste spicy in an exotic sort of way, and the coconut milk gives it just the right amount creaminess and added flavor. Try it for yourself and see what you think.

But before you do, here are a few quick tips:

1. When flavoring coffee with spices, such as cinnamon or nutmeg, I always add the spice directly to the grounds so that it can brew and get infused with the flavor, as opposed to trying to mix the spice in after the coffee is finished.

2. Dark brown sugar is coffee's best friend. Don't believe me? Try it tomorrow in place of whatever sweetener you generally use, and it just might change your life.

3. On especially cold days, pre-warm your coffee mug by filling it with water and then microwaving the mug with the water in it for 1-2 minutes. Once your coffee is finished brewing, dump the hot water out and then fill it with coffee. This is a little trick I learned while working in the restaurant industry, and it makes the mug retain its heat for significantly longer.

Spiced Coconut Coffee With Cardamom

(makes 2 cups)

3 Tablespoons ground coffee
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3 cups water
3 Tablespoons coconut milk (light or regular)
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

Combine the coffee grounds and cardamom and add them to whatever coffee-making contraption you fancy (Chemex, French Press, pour-over, etc.). Add the water and follow whatever steps are typically required to brew two cups.

When it's finished brewing, pour the coffee into your pre-warmed mug (see tip #3, above), and then stir in the coconut milk, regular milk, and brown sugar. Add more of any ingredients as necessary to adjust flavor.