To create a more complex cup of coffee, spices can be added to the brew. Spices known to add flavor to coffee include cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. For those who seek lesser known, coffee-enhancing spices, allspice, cardamom and coriander can be added to regular coffee to give it flavor reminiscent of the type of coffee often served in other countries.
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Allspice comes from the dry berry of an Allspice tree. Its flavor and aroma are similar to a mixture of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, hence its all-encompassing name. The spice, cultivated in the Caribbean and Latin America, is used to flavor condiments, chocolate and liqueurs. Allspice adds an earthy flavor to coffee and must be added in small quantities because of its intensity.
Cardamom, the ground seed of a tropical fruit, has an intense and pungent taste. Although it is commonly used to flavor baked goods and curries, cardamom is also popular in Middle Eastern coffee brews. Whole cardamom seeds can be placed directly into the coffee to infuse as the coffee brews. Coffee infused with cardamom seeds is usually strained before serving.
Coriander seeds add a gourmet taste to regular coffee. The highly aromatic seeds add robust flavor to Latin American and Indian cooking. The seeds have long been used to flavor beverages such as liqueur and gin. Coriander seeds give Turkish coffee its distinctive flavor. Plain coffee must simmer until it thickens before coriander seeds can be added. The coffee is then poured directly over crushed coriander seeds and sweetened with sugar.