A mug of this Cardamom Coffee will excite even the coffee purists out there. Strong black coffee with the subtle scent and exotic flavour of freshly ground cardamom seeds.
Welcome to my newest addiction: Cardamom Coffee.
I have learnt to love coffee in so many different ways. At home I drink it black and decaf’d.
In the big chain coffee shops I drink soya cortados (a tiny glass with 2 shots of coffee and roughly the same amount of steamed soya milk).
If I’m hungry and food is elusive (which, let’s be honest, rarely happens in my world) then a soya cappuccino quietens the rumbles a treat.
Equally, I am also partial to a cold brew or iced coffee (black or white, I don’t care. A single dash of hazelnut syrup if I need pampering).
I am a brazen hussy when it comes to my cup of Joe.
Waiting for this mornings coffee to brew whilst gazing at my spice rack made this coffee and cardamom brew come to pass.
I love coffee, and I love cardamom.
Why not mix the two and see what happens.
A good thing happened friends. A very good thing.
According to Google, coffee has been scented with spice for eons in the Middle East. Most commonly cardamom, cinnamon or nutmeg.
So in this cardamom-spiced version, we bring together two of my most favourite flavours and scents into one magical concoction.
It has the kick of a strong black coffee but the emotive overtones of the beautifully scented cardamom pod.
Coffee is a flirty little bean that works well in so many ways.
Keep playing with it and promise me you’ll never allow yourself to get stuck in a caffeine related rut.
What Cardamom should I use in Coffee?
Before we talk coffee, let’s think about the humble little cardamom pod.
Above are the three choices you’ll be faced with when shopping for cardamom here in the UK. On the left are green cardamom pods, in the centre is ground cardamom, and on the right are black cardamom pods.
Green cardamom pods
These are the most common cardamom pods you can find here in the UK.
They are small, ribbed pods in the shape of little rugby balls!
They are the seed pods from the cardamom plant (Elettaria cardamomum), which is a herbaceous perennial, native to India.
Inside each pod is a bunch of small black and brown seeds.
They smell wonderful, exotic and to my mind at least, like dessert! These are by far the easiest cardamom to find here in England.
Black cardamom pods
These are the exact same seed pods from the exact same plant.
However, they are left to mature on the plant longer, so they’re much bigger. In fact, they’re double in size.
They are dark brown rather than green partly because they are more mature, and also because they are dried over an open fire.
This gentle roasting over woodsmoke means that they smell like a bonfire!
These are not the right pods for cardamom with coffee. Their flavour is far too strong and overpowering.
Black cardamom is usually used in savoury dishes like curry. They’re usually left whole so that they can lifted out easily before serving.
The third way of buying cardamom is ready ground. This is actually pretty hard to find in rural England, And honestly, best avoided unless you get through a lot of it.
Like most spices, as soon as cardamom ground it starts losing its scent and flavour.
So if you (like most of us!) have jars of spices sitting on your shelves for months. By the time you come to use it again you might be very disappointed.
The powder I’m holding in my hand below is possibly 18 months old. There is very little fragrance or flavour left in it.
(don’t worry, I composted the content of the whole jar after I’d taken this photo!)
Another reason that I prefer not to buy ready ground cardamom is due to quality.
When you grind your own green cardamom, you remove the seeds from the pods and only grind them.
However, when you buy it ready ground, the husks are ground along with the seeds.
Now, this isn’t necessarily bad, the shell is still edible.
But it won’t have the punchy clean flavour of cardamom that we all love.
It’s kind of a diluted flavour (albeit with plenty of fibre!)
Other cardamom recipes
If you’re also a big fan of the exotic little cardamom pod, you may like to go and explore these recipes:
One of my favourite recipes I’ve ever made here on the hedgecombers is this frugal Cardamom Treacle Tart. Oh boy. It’s no good on the waistline (or teeth enamel for that matter). But it is a bake you seriously need to try at least once in this lifetime.
The ingredients are so cheap, yet it tastes like a million dollars.
And My Cardamom Scented Shortbread is to. die. for. The smell as its baking is enough to drive any calorie counters totally bonkers :)
How to Make Cardamom Coffee
OK, it’s coffee time!
Assuming you’re using pods too, first you’ll need to grind them up.
I prefer to use a pestle and mortar for this job as it’s easier to clean before and after.
You can also grind them right along with your beans. But the smell and taste will linger in your coffee grinder for several days.
I tend to rip each pod apart with my nails.
If your manicure doesn’t like the sound of that, simply split them open with a sharp paring knife.
Scoop out the teeny little seeds into a pile.
I recommend you start with the seeds from four pods per cup of coffee.
As with all recipes you’ll then need to play around with the amount. ie use more or less per cup until you find your perfect balance of flavour.
In case you were wondering, there are 66 seeds in my four pods.
Yep, I counted them for you!
They also measure out to 1/4 of a teaspoon in case you’re scaling this up for more than one cup.
Grind them up however you choose (coffee or spice grinder, pestle and mortar, small food processor etc).
This will leave with you with a heaped 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom.
This is how much you need if you are using ready ground cardamom.
Making Cardamom Coffee in a Cafetiere or French Press
The cardamom needs steeping in the hot water along with the coffee grounds. It doesn’t need cooking or boiling.
In a French Press this means you simply tip the spice powder in along with the coffee. Let it steep for the four minutes as usual. Then plunge down the filter and serve.
Making Cardamom in Coffee with an Aeropress
This is hands down my favourite coffee maker whether I’m at home or out in my campervan.
An Aeropress is a wonderful coffee maker that is cheap, requires no power and makes a perfect brew every single time.
If you want to go and read all the amazing reviews on Amazon, here’s a link: Aeropress (affiliate link).
To pimp your brew with spice, simply tip the ground cardamom into the Aeropress coffee chamber along with your freshly ground beans.
Top up with water that is just off the boil. And steep for around 1.5 minutes.
Then push down the plunger into a waiting mug.
I tend to just rinse my Aeropress under hot running water after every use.
However, the cardamom flavour lingered for a few days (which I actually quite liked!)
However, scrub it in hot soapy water if you want to removed all traces of the spice.
Can I put milk or sugar in my cardamom coffee?
Of course! This is your brew, so make it perfect for you taste.
If you want your coffee white, simply top up with as much cold milk as you usually use.
Or you can use a milk frother to make a cardamom latte or cappuccino!
Here’s a link to the one that I use. It’s cheap as chips, USB chargeable and works a treat. (Amazon affiliate link)
I don’t usually sweeten black coffee, but sometimes I like to add a little bit of honey to my coffee with cardamom. It really brings out the exotic flavour a treat.
I only add about 1/2 a teaspoon of honey, and sugar would work too. But obviously go ahead and add more if you prefer your brew much sweeter.
- 1 measure coffee grounds - this will depend on the coffee you buy and how strong you like your brew. Start off with about 2 tablespoons or 7 grams of coffee per serving and adjust to suit your taste and beans in future.
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 cup water - just off the boil
Rip or cut open the four cardamom pods. Remove the tiny seeds from inside.
Grind the seeds with a pestle and mortar, spice or coffee grinder, or small food processor.
Add the ground cardamom into your coffee maker.
Top up with the perfect amount of water and let brew.
Plunge and pour into a waiting cup.
Serve black, sweeten with a little sugar or honey and top up with milk if you prefer.
Jonny & I recently travelled to West Cornwall to visit a small artisan coffee roastery on the outskirts of Falmouth.
Yallah Coffee is well off the beaten track, but is well worth hunting down if you’re in the area. Run by Richard and his mate Phil, the passion that is poured into every batch is apparent from the moment you enter the door.
The roaster is from the 1950’s and has been lovingly restored.
The beans are all directly sourced from small farming co-ops with which Yallah are forging on going relationships with. And they pay well above the average price to the farmers to ensure everybody wins.
The beans are never blended, but instead prized for their unique notes and celebrated for their differences. In fact one of my favourite things about Yallah Coffee is their three categories of the coffee they sell:
House Range: These change roughly every six months but each batch of beans are chosen for their traditional flavours. If you are new to coffee, or like to know that every cup will be consistent in flavour, then go for House.
Explore Range: These are the beans to buy if you need a bit of excitement in your coffee drinking life. You’re going to find new and unique flavours. These are the beans that make Phil the chief bean hunter at Yallah go ‘Wow’, but are a little bit outisde the box.
Trust Range: I love the trust range, although it is ever so slightly bonkers. During our visit we tried a cup of their latest Trust coffee, and in the cup it looked red rather than black. And to my (admittedly immature) palate it tasted more like tea at first sip, than coffee. These are the beans to go for if you are an intrepid coffee explorer, not wanting to miss out on a single coffee experience. You will never get bored with the fun, wacky and totally unique flavours that the Trust Range delivers. And that’s a promise!
Please go and have a rummage through Yallah’s gorgeous website for more info, or to place an order.
You can buy one off bags or set up a regular subscription to the range of your choice. Freshly roasted beans (whole or ground) delivered to your door, just when you need them.
Disclosure: This review was not sponsored in any way (other than being fed enough coffee during our visit to make me talk really really fast, and coming away with a bag of perfectly ground beans!). This non-sponsored recipe post is my way of supporting small artisan producers in Cornwall. If you know a small Cornish food or drink producer that deserves a similar review, please ask them to get in touch with me at hello(at)hedgecombers(dot)com.