Various coffee brewing methods

How do you prepare the perfect cup of coffee? Image: Yamanaka Tamaki via Flickr CC

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” – Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

Coffee is just one of those things that is universally beloved, despite the fact that almost no one can agree on what constitutes the perfect cup. Whether it’s French pressed, filtered, cold brewed, comes in an espresso cup, or made with a Chemex brewer, it seems like there are countless ways to make coffee. Perhaps the only thing more overwhelming than choosing how to brew your coffee are the seemingly endless condiments you have the option of adding to your perfect cup.

It may seem trivial, but people take this kind of thing very seriously. Even strictly black coffee drinkers are choosing to take a stand against coffee condiments, preferring instead the pure coffee taste. There are sugars and syrups, creams, milks, non-dairy additives, synthetic flavors, spices, alcohol, and much more that can be added to compliment your cup of Joe. Go to any coffee shop or café and you’ll likely find soymilk, whole milk, half and half, raw sugar, artificial sweeteners, organic sweeteners, honey, powdered vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon all crammed together on the coffee bar. That’s a whole lot of options for the varying palates of coffee connoisseurs and the no-fuss caffeine lovers alike.

In stumbling across an article called “You Should Put Butter In Your Coffee,” I got to thinking about the less “mainstream” things people prefer to put in their coffee. Smithsonian.com contributor Amanda Bensen details some of the more unusual things she’s heard used as coffee condiments, and notes that there are entire blogs dedicated to this very subject. She recalls her Norwegian grandmother adding reindeer bones to the coffee grounds before brewing them. Other cultures add crushed eggshells, which are just as rich with calcium as animal bones, into their coffee grounds to counteract the acidic taste. Some people enjoy cracking an entire egg right over their cup of coffee, another Scandinavian food tradition.

Many cultures love mixing coffee with ice cream. Germans love making a drink called Eiskaffee, a mixture of coffee and ice cream topped with whipped cream, served cold. An Affogato is an Italian dessert that entails pouring a shot of espresso over a scoop of ice cream. Pretty brilliant, right? Iced coffee in general, served with plenty of cream and sugar is how some people like their coffee, while others only prefer it hot.

If so many people enjoy ice cream in their coffee, perhaps butter isn’t such a strange addition after all. All at once salty and creamy, butter can replace the dairy options often used to balance the flavors of coffee. Still not convinced? Try out this recipe for Vanilla Coconut Bulletproof Coffee, a velvety concoction that dares you to add vanilla, honey, coconut oil, and butter to your coffee and let me know what you think. All of those ingredients combined might just be crazy enough to work.

What unusual things have you heard folks put in their coffee? How do you take yours?

Featured Image: Harald Hoyer via Flickr CC

About 

Sarah is a freelance writer with a wide variety of interests, including international relations, politics, education, humanitarianism, women's rights, yoga, mental and physical health, and natural remedies.