If you’re looking for a way to spice up your coffee – literally – nutmeg should be high on your list of things to try. Nutmeg is a potent spice that most people associate with cold, wintry days, and it’s surprisingly good in coffee. Purists will wrinkle their nose at the blasphemous thought of adding nutmeg to coffee, but they’ll also be missing out on a tasty treat that can give old beans new life or add intrigue and nuance to your favorite coffee beverage.
In this article, we’ll give you a quick explanation of why you should try putting nutmeg in your coffee, starting with some background information about nutmeg and concluding with a few of our favorite recipes. Let’s go!
What is Nutmeg?
Nutmeg is the seed of the fruit from an evergreen tree indigenous to Indonesia called myristica fragrans. These trees thrive in warm, humid climates and are grown in tropical countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Grenada, and Sri Lanka specifically to produce nutmeg.
Culinarily speaking, nutmeg has a warming quality that works equally well in sweet and savory dishes depending on the culture and desired effect. Many Indian recipes use ground nutmeg to season meat, while European cuisine regularly adds nutmeg to baked goods and desserts.
Nutmeg is often sold ground or grated, and virtually all recipes call for one or the other version. Whole nutmegs are difficult to find and generally less useful than the pre-ground variety.
Why is Nutmeg Good in Coffee?
Nutmeg is a primary ingredient in many mulled wine and cider recipes and one of the flavors that Western society associates strongly with autumn. Spiced rum and punch also usually feature nutmeg, and it is the nutmeg that gives them some of their characteristic warming tingliness that people love. If you’ve had spiced rum or cider and like the general flavor and mouthfeel, the chances are good that you’ll also be a fan of nutmeg in coffee.
It might seem strange that a spice often used to season meat can also taste good in coffee, but it’s true. Nutmeg is very versatile and blends nicely with the flavors in medium and dark roasted coffee despite having a powerful taste. Turkish coffee is one of the most popular versions of spiced coffee, and some recipes include nutmeg in the spice blend.
What Kind of Coffee Should You Use With Nutmeg?
Our recommendation is to start with medium or dark roasted coffee. Light roasts have brighter, fruity flavor profiles that clash with nutmeg and produce a strange, muddy mess of flavors. By contrast, medium and dark roasts are more chocolatey and nutty and typically blend harmoniously with nutmeg.
One of our favorite uses of nutmeg in coffee is to revitalize old, stale beans that otherwise would be a chore to drink. Sometimes we forget about a bag of coffee, and by the time we realize it, it’s gone stale. Old coffee beans make flavorless coffee at best and bitter, harsh-tasting coffee at worst. Whenever we have an old bag of coffee beans lying around that we don’t want to waste, we break out the nutmeg and give them a new lease on life.
To start, we’re going to present a bare-bones recipe to get you started. This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a single measurement, but still.
Now we’ll spice things up even more – sorry, we couldn’t resist the pun. This recipe is slightly more complicated, but not by much. It’s our go-to recipe when we’re craving a cup of spiced coffee.
This recipe isn’t purely a nutmeg coffee recipe, but even with a one-to-one ratio of cinnamon to nutmeg, the nutmeg will still dominate the flavor. We love making spiced coffee to help us stay warm in the heart of winter.
Nutmeg is surprisingly delicious in coffee whether you use it by itself or as part of a larger spice ensemble. If you like spiced rum, spiced cider, and mulled wine, nutmeg in coffee is something you should try. Start by following the simple recipe and if that goes well, consider upping the ante and going for the full spiced coffee recipe. Both feature nutmeg and are excellent options to add an extra kick to your favorite coffee.
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Featured Image: terrapp, Pixabay