Cardamom Coffee - A Cozy Winter Brew
There’s no secret that if given a choice between chai and coffee, I will always choose chai. Today, I had a morning breakfast meeting at the farm, and coffee was on the menu. Of course it had to be spiced! My spice choice was cardamom, often referred to as the “Queen of Spices.”
Cardamom coffee is nothing new, but it sure does sound fancy and is a great way to spruce up your daily Cup of Joe. I’ve had this spiced brew in the morning and afternoon throughout Turkey, Israel, India, Pakistan and parts of Europe. Each had its unique taste due to the local water and techniques used in roasting the beans. The taste of cardamom dominates their coffee, and many folks in the region is aware of the health benefits. Some liberally add cardamom to not only coffee but chai, curries, stews and desserts.
In the warmth of your cozy home you can easily make cardamom coffee, just as quickly as you make your regular Cup of Joe: Add a pod or two of green cardamom to your regular scoopfuls of beans before grinding, then proceed as usual. You can increase the pods after you acquired the taste. Everything in moderation!
Mindful Benefits of Cardamom
You’ll find that using cardamom, especially in liquid recipes such as chai, will tame your sugar cravings because its scent is strong but mellow, fruity and penetrating. I call this the mindfulness of spices, where the power of scent from cardamom, along with its sensual notes; conjures up something warm, caramel and sweet- the cardamom has sweetened the mind naturally.
Since it’s related to ginger, Cardamom can be used in much the same way to counteract digestive problems. Use it to combat nausea, loss of appetite, acidity, constipation, bloating, gas and heartburn. Cardamom is a terrific detoxifier as it helps the body eliminate waste through the kidneys. Need to freshen the breath, chew a few cardamom seeds, especially if you have Halitosis. In Ayurvedic medicine cardamom tea is used to fight depression.
Harvesting cardamom in the rainforest with smallholder farmers-it takes a village to harvest and to get the crop off the jungle trail...
Cooking with Cardamom
A pantry essential, cardamom's beautiful aromatic properties add flavor to vegetables. Light coat cauliflower or squash in a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and cardamom, then roast in the oven until tender. Add cardamom to soups, lentil stews, African, Indian and Thai curries, or use a mixture of cardamom, all-spice berries and lemon juice as a healthful flavoring for pork or chicken. Alternatively, make your chai tea mix by combining black tea with cardamom, star anise, fennel, black-peppercorn and ginger for a low-calorie healthy beverage.
5 tablespoons ground coffee beans - medium to dark roast unflavored (grind whole beans with a coffee grinder)
5 + ½ cups hot water
5 tsp. Nirmala's Kitchen Cardamom pods (approx. 20 pods)
Milk, heavy cream or coconut milk (optional)
Sweetener of choice, honey or Stevia (optional)
Garnish with fresh mint (optional -my wish full summer "green" color)
Add whole coffee beans with cardamom pods in a coffee grinder, process until coarsely ground.
Add the ground coffee and cardamom mixture into the pitcher of the French press, with the lid and plunger off. Set aside.
Bring to boil 5 + ½ cups water in saucepan.
Remove saucepan from heat and let water cool for 45 seconds.
Pour half of the water into the French press pitcher with coffee-cardamom mixture. Wait 30 seconds and stir the water.
Pour remaining hot water into the pitcher, and place the lid with the plunger all the way up on the pitcher.
Leave the plunger up and let the pitcher sit for 4 to 5 minutes.
Hold the pitcher handle and press the plunger down firmly on the French press.
Serve immediately plain black, or with choice of cream or sweetener and garnish with mint if using.
Tip: If you have extra Cardamom coffee, pour in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to use. Make ice-coffee or use as the liquid for baking coffee cakes or tiramisu.
"Teaching and harvesting are part of my little movement to recognize the passion and value of the farmers across our planet and the linkage between the holistic benefits of spices we source. We are all part of Earth’s ecosystem, not its masters."
(Image-Empowering Future Agriculture Leaders
Cardamom plantation with farmer Bhairab)