Astonishing as it may seem, cold brew coffee as a drink has not been around very long at all in the U.S. and other parts of the world, except in Japan. Some experts say it was the Dutch who invented cold brew coffee as far back as the 1600s. There are many theories as to who started it, which you can read on Daily Coffee News, as far as I know, I’m glad someone invented coffee machines to make it! It’s easier than ever before to have a nice cold brew coffee on a hot summer day.
The natural sweetness of cold brew coffee
Cold brew coffee at its purest form is without any additives and not like ordinary “iced down” coffee – meaning hot coffee placed in the fridge or just adding ice. Cold brew is brewed by steeping ground coffee in cold water for an extended period of up to 24 hours.
It is never exposed to heat, so if you make it correctly, you can expect a degree of sweetness and deep, intriguing flavor profiles on your palate. Cold brew coffee brings out the original taste of coffee beans and preserves its taste characteristics.
I love cold brew coffee, but there are times that I don’t like it plain, or simply want something different than the ordinary cup of joe. For the past few months I tested my cold brew coffee with various natural sweeteners and spices in my home test kitchen. I was surprised with the result and the health benefits that these ingredients add to the drink I love.
So, here are 5 healthy ways to sweeten and spice up your cold brew coffee and get the satisfaction out of a cup. Let’s start jazzing it up!
1. Cinnamon & Maple Syrup
I came to find out cinnamon is a high source of antioxidant, and it may contain anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that cinnamon may protect heart health, fight diabetes, and protect brain function. So add a dash to your cold brew coffee.
Maple syrup contains some antioxidants and minerals (zinc and manganese) that will benefit your body compared to refined table sugar that has no nutrients at all.
Add these two ingredients and place a cinnamon stick on the side.
2. Cayenne Pepper & Cocoa Powder
- 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
I read from several reports that cayenne pepper is a powerful spicy pepper that can stimulate our body’s circulation, help digestion, contains vitamin E, and reduce acidity.
Also, unsweetened cocoa powder is low in calories and contains essential minerals that support your heart, bones, and immune system. It is also a good source of antidepressant according to some research. When you’re feeling low, add a dash of cocoa powder and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper powder to your cold brew coffee and excite your senses.
When you’re feeling low, add a dash of cocoa powder and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper powder to your cold brew coffee and excite your senses.
3. Ginger & Honey
- ¼ teaspoon of ginger powder
- 2 teaspoons of raw honey
Per studies by health experts as found in a report by Authority Nutrition on 11 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger, ginger is a powerful mainstay against heart attacks and stroke. It has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, morning sickness, motion sickness, and pain.
Raw honey may help boost low energy, may aid sleep problems to fight pollen allergies, as well as used as a weight management remedy. Serve yours with a piece of ginger on the side.
4. Nutmeg & Vanilla Extract
- ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 2-3 dashes of vanilla extract
Nutmeg may have the ability to relieve pain, help digestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, brighten skin, and boost blood circulation. According to Glamour magazine in its article 5 Surprising Health Benefits of Nutmeg, nutmeg may help you sleep better and help regulate your GI tract.
Vanilla extract is an excellent source of antioxidant, may have potential to reduce inflammation in the body, and may be able to improve mental health says some health experts.
5. Lemongrass & Molasses
- ¼ teaspoon of lemongrass powder
- 2 teaspoons of molasses
Lemongrass is also known as an aromatic healer. It may help digestion and control cholesterol levels. Quoting directly from WebMD:
Lemongrass might help prevent the growth of some bacteria and yeast. Lemongrass also contains substances that are thought to relieve pain, reduce fever, stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow, and have antioxidant properties.
Molasses contains vital vitamins and some minerals. Molasses may stabilize blood sugar levels, improve bone health, relieve menstrual cramps, and boost skin health.
I try to avoid refined sugar, high frutose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. The American Heart Association reported that American adults consume about 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. The recommended amount for men is no more than nine teaspoons, and for women, no more than six teaspoons. The association said sugar could significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Did you know Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino has 69g of sugar? Four grams of sugar is equivalent to one teaspoon says Michigan State University Extension. Which means a 16 oz of Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino contains 17.25 teaspoons of sugar! I read that in Buzzfeed’s Do you know how freaking much sugar is in your Frappuccino?
Like me, if you’re looking for ways to jazz up your cold brew coffee or hot coffee, give the ingredients listed above a try. You may find the perfect combination that is right for your taste buds and cut back on sugar.
Let us know what you think.
Article and photos by Latte Art Guy