Every year, at around this time, once the novelty of pumpkin spice lattes has worn off but the excitement of gingerbread lattes has yet to reach its fever-pitch, I become enthralled by the shiny red packets in Starbucks.
I’m sure you know the ones I am talking about – metallic red with splashes of white and a smattering of Christmas characters or seven.
Starbucks Christmas Blend Coffee.
Each year I buy it. And each year I am disappointed.
Because it tastes just like coffee.
I can’t detect any spicy notes, or citrus undertones. Heck, even if I was to be smacked round the face with a not-so-subtle hint of peppermint, it would be something. Something is better than nothing. But nothing is all I get.
The coffee itself is perfectly acceptable. But at this time of year, I want more. I want coffee laced with spice. Why should ‘Christmas in a Cup’ be the exclusive right of flavoured hot chocolate? Why should coffee have to be tainted with sugary flavoured syrup in order to get its tinsel on?
So I decided to have a go at creating some myself.
It was while I was having a coffee with my dad, whilst also lamenting my woes of ‘Christmas Coffee’ not tasting like, well, Christmas, that I had this idea.
Yes, I used a stove top coffee maker (I don’t know what they are actually called. Even the internet seems confused). It seemed the easiest way to achieve my desired results. I apologise if you don’t have one (I got the one pictured below in Homesense for a grand total of £6). You could try it with a percolator or even one of those cafetieres with a plunger, but I can’t guarantee the results.
You don’t need to add lots of the spices for it to impart a delicate flavour. I also didn’t want to add too much in case it stopped the steam from travelling through the coffee and the whole thing exploded on me. Over-reacting much?
To call this a ‘recipe’ feels like a gross over-statement. There really isn’t that much involved. All you need – in addition to coffee – is a cinnamon stick, some cloves, nutmeg and dried clementine skin (eat one the day before and leave the skin out on the kitchen counter for 24 hours).
My coffee maker is a 3-cup and to the coffee I added one whole clove, 1/4 stick cinnamon – broken up into small pieces, a grating of fresh nutmeg and a small piece (not much bigger than my thumbnail) of clementine skin. Orange peel will work just as well.
Let the coffee maker do its thing and you will end up with a delicately spiced hot beverage that is a lot more satisfying that the pseudo Christmas coffee you can buy in the shops.
Sorry Starbucks, on this occasion you have been ousted.