7 best coffee add-ins for an extra dose of flavour
We've picked out the 7 best coffee add-ins to give your coffee an extra dose of flavour. These delicious ingredients complement the taste of coffee beautifully and can be easily incorporated into your brewing routine.
Cinnamon can be used to add natural flavour and sweetness to coffee, with its warming aroma making it a particularly popular choice in autumn and winter. It is one of the main ingredients in most seasonal pumpkin spice lattes, usually alongside nutmeg and cloves.
How to make cinnamon coffee
You can buy cinnamon-infused coffee beans, ground coffee, or instant coffee, which can be brewed in the usual way. Cinnamon-flavoured coffee add-ins, like syrups, sugars, and creamers, are also available.
However, you may prefer to add cinnamon to coffee yourself, as this gives you more control over the ingredients and flavour. Cinnamon is a type of bark and so does not dissolve in water, even once finely ground, but there are a number of infusion techniques you can use.
- Create flavoured coffee by adding cinnamon sticks to your container of coffee beans, ground coffee, or instant coffee. The coffee will naturally absorb more flavour over time.
- Make infused milk by steeping cinnamon sticks in fresh milk on the stove. Simply bring to a simmer, leave off the heat for an hour, then strain and cool. You should be able to safely store your homemade cinnamon coffee creamer in the fridge for up to three days, reheating servings as necessary.
- Sprinkle ground cinnamon onto lattes or cappuccinos. The spice dissolves quite well in milk or cream, especially products with higher fat content.
- Make cinnamon-infused filter coffee by adding a generous sprinkling of ground cinnamon to ground coffee before brewing. Just be conscious that cinnamon can clog the filter when making pour-over, drip, or French-press coffee like this.
- Use cinnamon sticks as coffee stirrers so that the flavour is naturally infused, removing once you've reached the desired level of flavour. This works best with tall mugs.
- Create cinnamon-flavoured honey by mixing one part ground cinnamon with two parts honey. This can then be stirred into coffee to taste — perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
We recommend buying cinnamon sticks, which keep their flavour for longer than ground cinnamon — especially when stored in an airtight container. You can grind cinnamon sticks in a coffee grinder to create freshly ground cinnamon.
As well as sweetness, honey introduces a strong flavour to coffee that many people love. There are lots of different varieties to try out, such as manuka, acacia, clover and orange blossom, which can have very different flavours.
How to make honey coffee
You can buy products like honey-processed coffee beans and honey syrup. However, flavouring your coffee with honey is as simple as stirring it in (ideally when the coffee isn't too hot), so you may prefer to experiment with different varieties and quantities yourself. This is part of the reason that honey is one of the best coffee add-ins.
With beautifully hand-applied honeycomb and bee motifs, our Pollen mug and Pollen coffee can and saucer are perfect for serving honey coffee. Shop the full Pollen range or explore Collection One to find complementary pieces.
You can bring the exotic flavour of coconut to coffee by using coconut oil, coconut milk/cream, or coconut water. These products can also introduce a mellow sweetness and creaminess to your drink.
Coconut milk or cream is a popular dairy-free milk substitute. These products are available with varying levels of fat content, which will determine how thick and creamy they are. Whether you opt for a sweetened or unsweetened milk will also affect the flavour and nutritional value of your coconut coffee.
Like many dairy alternatives, coconut milk is prone to curdling in coffee because it reacts with the acidity. You can reduce the risk of this happening by gently warming your milk first or choosing darker coffee roasts, which have lower acid content.
Coconut water can be used to bring an exotic flavour to cold-brew coffee. It's also a great source of potassium. Simply mix with concentrated coffee (usually espresso) over ice. You can experiment with the ratio to find the right flavour balance for you.
Coconut oil can be used to add flavour to coffee, but it is usually added for its perceived health benefits.
Irish cream liqueur
Irish cream liqueur is one of the best spirits to add to coffee. The blend of cream and Irish whiskey complements black or milky coffee perfectly. The most popular brand, Baileys Original Irish Cream, also has notes of chocolate and vanilla, which add extra depth of flavour.
You can add a splash of Irish cream liqueur to any coffee as an indulgent treat — this makes for the perfect after-dinner drink. You can even go one step further by making an Irish coffee.
How to make Irish coffee
An Irish coffee usually combines Irish cream liqueur or whiskey with hot black coffee, brown sugar, and a whipped cream topping. It is traditionally served in an 'Irish coffee glass', which has a small stem and a handle, and often topped with coffee beans, grated chocolate, or a pinch of nutmeg. However, Irish coffee can be served in a cappuccino cup or coffee mug.
Please drink alcohol responsibly. For more information, visit https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/
Like cinnamon, ginger is a warming spice that's great for perking up your coffee in the autumn and winter months. This is a popular flavour combination in Yemen, where a traditional hot drink called qishr is made from coffee husks and ginger.
How to prepare ginger coffee
When making filter coffee, it is best to let the ginger flavour infuse during the brewing process. Simply add ground or grated ginger to the coffee grounds, being careful not to let it block the filter.
You could also adopt the Yemeni approach of boiling coffee grounds with ginger in a traditional ibrik coffee pot or saucepan. Qishr is then served in demitasse cups, better known as espresso cups. Make sure to let the grinds and ginger settle before sipping.
If using an espresso machine, it's best to introduce the ginger flavour through an infused milk or syrup. You can make these coffee add-ins yourself by steeping freshly sliced root ginger in milk or simple syrup over a gentle heat. Another option is to create an indulgent and flavourful coffee topping by whisking crystallised ginger into cream.
Chocolate is one of the best things to add to coffee because the flavours balance so well, and there are ingredients with varying levels of bitterness and sweetness to experiment with.
When you ask for a chocolatey coffee in a coffee shop, the barista will usually serve a mocha, also known as a caffè mocha. This is a latte with added chocolate.
How to make chocolate coffee
If you have an espresso machine at home, you can make your own mocha by dissolving around a tablespoon of hot chocolate mix, cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, or chocolate shavings in espresso before topping up your coffee cup with steamed milk. You can experiment with different ingredients and amounts to find your favourite combination. For added indulgence, top with whipped cream and marshmallows.
Filter coffee drinkers could try mixing their ground coffee with a hot chocolate mix or cocoa powder before brewing as usual. The best ratio will depend on your tastes and brewing method, so it's well worth some experimentation. Another option is to melt a piece of chocolate with coffee in the bottom of your cup before slowing stirring the rest of the coffee in.
Bear in mind that powdered drinking chocolate usually contains cocoa powder and sugar. Cocoa powder is unsweetened and so may provide a better base to work from.
Vanilla is a comforting flavour that pairs wonderfully with coffee, as fans of affogato, the traditional Italian dessert of vanilla gelato with espresso, know well.
The easiest way to add vanilla flavour to your coffee is with a few drops of vanilla extract. (Try to avoid vanilla flavouring and essence, which are made from artificial ingredients.) For a sweeter result, you can make your own homemade vanilla syrup:
- Slice a vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds, and then add both parts to a pan with 250g sugar and 250g water.
- Stir and bring to the boil over a gentle heat, allowing the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to thicken.
- Let the vanilla syrup cool then funnel into a sterilised, airtight glass bottle. This will keep in the fridge for up to a month.
Cold brew vanilla coffee
If you enjoy cold brew coffee, consider trying a German Eiskaffee (vanilla iced coffee). Simply brew a black coffee using your favoured brewing method, chill in the fridge, then add a scoop of vanilla ice cream before topping with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
There are so many ways to drink coffee, and we hope these add-in ideas help you to find a flavour combination you love.
If you are looking for new drinkware to enjoy your coffee from, take a look at our ceramic mugs and coffee cups and saucers. We also have espresso cups that are perfect for caffeine pick-me-ups. Handcrafted at our Staffordshire pottery and skilfully hand-decorated using a unique tissue-transfer technique, they make a luxurious addition to any refreshment break or meal. We also offer lots more ceramic tableware in matching designs, including sugar bowls and milk jugs.