It’s fully pumpkin-spice season, but did you know that there are many benefits to adding a little spice to your life? In fact, one of the main components in your beloved fall coffee drinks can do you good even after gourd season is over: cinnamon.
There are two main types of cinnamon available to buy: true cinnamon (also called Ceylon cinnamon) and cassia, which is more common and less expensive. Both contain a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which is what gives them their strong, spicy flavor and aroma. Both also have many benefits, besides being tasty: Here, we’ll share some reasons to consider adding cinnamon to your morning cup.
It makes coffee taste sweeter
True cinnamon flavor has a sweet, woody taste (similar to brown sugar) that when paired with the bitterness in black coffee, can make your mug taste like a pinch of sugar was added. When combined with the creamy sweetness of milk, this can give your taste buds a special treat even without added sugar—a big help when you’re trying to cut back.
And might give your metabolism a boost
High-fiber cinnamon takes more effort for the body to process, which can give the metabolism a little extra kickstart. Cinnamon has also been shown to improve metabolic syndrome—a combination of various conditions that increase one’s chances of developing diabetes, stroke, and heart disease—in test subjects.
Cinnamon is high in antioxidants
Through trials, scientists have found that a daily serving of 1.5–4 grams of cinnamon daily can reduce C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein that’s synthesized by the liver in response to inflammation. Reducing CRP can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. Combine that with recent research that shows moderate coffee consumption may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 10–15%, and you might just want to start wearing an “I <3 Cinnamon” t-shirt for your morning coffee runs.
Adding cinnamon to your coffee might save you money
No, not because it’s a lucky spice that can win you the lottery: But considering that cinnamon is the main ingredient in pumpkin spice—and, therefore, in those expensive coffeehouse treats—you could save yourself the daily splurge at the café by simply making your own version of this coffee taste at home.
How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Blend
Love PSL but hate the cost and inconvenience of making an extra stop for one on the way to work? You can easily mix up your own spices to add to the ground coffee you brew at home. It’s also great sprinkled on buttered toast, or mixed into oatmeal—and, of course, you can use it to make pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin spice lattes do not typically contain pumpkin; rather, they are flavored using the type of spices that commonly go into a pumpkin pie. It is a cinnamon-forward blend, with several other warm spices that complement the spicy sweetness with a little heat and more toasted flavors.
Basic Pumpkin Spice Blend – use about 1 tsp per cup of coffee (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground clove
The two ways to spice up your coffee recipe are to mix in some of the coffee blends before brewing, by combining it with the coffee grounds, or to sprinkle it in after brewing. Neither way is wrong, per se, but consider the following: Adding the spices to the filter basket may cause their pungent flavors to leech into your coffee maker, especially if you’re using an automatic drip pot. However, adding the spices to the finished coffee liquid means you will likely have a bit of silt in the cup, as the blend won’t dissolve in the drink.
Other Coffee and Cinnamon Drinks
Here at Trade, we’ve got a few of our other favorite cinnamon coffee recipes below.
Spiced Mocha Cinnamon is a wonderful compliment to the sweet creaminess of the chocolate.
Mix ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder together. (For a sweeter spice, add 1 tablespoon of white sugar.) Dissolve the spiced chocolate mixture in fresh espresso or strong brewed coffee, and top with the steamed or stovetop-heated milk of your choice.
Five Spice Latte A common spice blend in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine, five spice is a warm, aromatic, and slightly savory combination that plays wonderfully with espresso and milk. Mix ½ teaspoon of the following spice blend into freshly brewed espresso and top with your steamed milk of choice for a surprising and complex flavor experience that will make you forget the initials PSL. Sweeten to taste. For a fresher-tasting blend, you can toast and grind whole spices; we’ve included a blend that calls for preground spices to make an easy blend. (We’ve also omitted the traditional Sichuan peppercorn for this coffee-friendly blend.)
Five Spice Blend
- 2 tablespoons ground fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground anise
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ tablespoon ground clove
Alongside the recipes above, you can also try adding cinnamon to a traditional Mexican coffee recipe to add extra flavor as you brew coffee at home.
*Note: This post is not intended to serve as medical advice. Consult a physician before making any dramatic changes to your diet, and be sure to exercise in moderation. Both cassia and Ceylon cinnamon contain a compound called coumarin, which has been found to cause liver damage if over-consumed. It is found in higher concentrations in cassia, so remember to be cautious—especially if you have any known liver conditions. *