Spicy coffee isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we’re here to tell you not to knock it until you try it. Turkish coffee uses cardamom, Mexican coffee uses cloves, and we’re pretty sure most espresso drinkers have tried cinnamon in their cappuccino a time or two.
Cayenne pepper is a potent spice and packs tons of flavor, so it might seem like a bad choice to add to coffee, but we’re going to try to convince you otherwise. In this article, we’ll explain how to add cayenne pepper to coffee to make a unique, delicious style of coffee that many people have never heard of. Grab your favorite coffee and some milk—maybe some extra, just in case—and let’s get started.
Why Cayenne Pepper?
If you’re wary of adding cayenne pepper to your morning cup of coffee, you’re not alone. We get it. To motivate the decision for those of you who aren’t spicy food fanatics, let’s start with some benefits of including cayenne pepper in your diet.
Cayenne pepper has been studied extensively in clinical research programs and has been linked with various health benefits. One of the most well-supported claims is that cayenne pepper boosts your metabolism through a process called thermogenesis. One study found that subjects who included capsaicin—a primary component of cayenne pepper—in their breakfast burned an average of 51% more calories than a control group.
Other benefits of adding cayenne pepper to your diet include lowering your blood pressure, suppressing your appetite to assist in weight loss, and pain relief.
Besides health and nutritional benefits, a simple reason to add cayenne pepper to your diet is that it tastes good! Many people love the spicy kick they get from cayenne, and in small amounts, it can spice up your coffee too.
Drinking Coffee with Cayenne Pepper
So, how should you go about adding cayenne pepper to your coffee? We recommend starting with a small amount of cayenne pepper as a trial run, especially if you’re not overly fond of spicy foods—a dash would be the largest amount we’d start with.
As a rule, we recommend starting with less than you think. You can always add more, but once it’s in your coffee, there’s no removing it.
If you like the trial run, you could consider adding more straightaway, or you can concoct a more complex coffee that uses cayenne pepper as a central ingredient.
Here’s our favorite simple recipe.
Cayenne Pepper in Coffee
- 1 cup average-strength coffee
- A dash of cayenne pepper
- Milk to taste
- Sugar to taste
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Brew a cup of average-strength, medium-strength coffee. We're going to add a bunch of stuff to the coffee, so the details of the roast aren't too important.
- While the coffee is brewing, melt 1 ounce of semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can melt more if you're a chocolate fiend, but at least 1 ounce should be enough to hold its own in the flavor mix.
- We recommend adding milk to this coffee, even if you don't usually take your coffee with milk. It helps round out the flavor profile and provides a cooling effect that keeps the cayenne pepper in check.
- We prefer to skip the sugar since we're using chocolate, but you might want to add some anyway if you have a sweet tooth.
- Add the chocolate and stir until it is well-mixed.
- Now, carefully add a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper. If you're feeling bold, you can add more, but don't say we didn't warn you. It's tricky to get the balance right, so you might need to try this recipe a few times before you find the sweet spot.
We like this recipe as a showcase of how cayenne pepper can make coffee shine and take on a completely different characteristic. This recipe is basically a mocha with a spicy twist, but we like it. If you don’t like this coffee, then cayenne in coffee probably isn’t for you since this is relatively mild.
As strange as it sounds at first, cayenne pepper in coffee is quite good. Spice in coffee has a long tradition in Turkish and Mexican cultures, and spiced coffee is a common holiday treat for many people. Cayenne pepper in coffee is the natural extension of these ideas and works well, as long as you like spicy flavor profiles.
We recommend starting slowly with only a tiny dash of cayenne as your first exposure. If that goes well and you want to try a bit more, give our spicy mocha recipe a spin. It’s balanced with milk and melted chocolate to help keep the cayenne pepper from being overwhelming.
Featured Image Credit: Dementieva Iryna, Shutterstock