Grate a Little Orange Zest in Your Coffee Grounds

Grate a Little Orange Zest in Your Coffee Grounds
Photo: Claire Lower

There are two genres of coffee drinkers: purists and people with a sense of whimsy. I am (obviously) the latter, and will drink pretty much any kind of coffee, even — gasp — flavored. This horrifies my boyfriend, but he sweetens his coffee like a hummingbird, so his opinion does not count. Flavored coffee is fun, and I like fun.

One of the easiest, most elegant ways to flavour your coffee is to mix spices in with your grounds (or grind them with your beans) pre-brewing. This infuses your brew with flavour without adding any particulates to your beverage. (I’ve never understood why Starbucks sets out those little shakers of various powders next to the sugar; the powder just sits on top of the coffee! Forming a film! It’s useless!)

But spices aren’t the only thing you can mix into your grounds for fun and flavour. Orange zest — finely grated — flavours your coffee with the bright, fruity essence of orange, without the acid you’d get from the juice. It’s particularly delicious (and seasonal) when accompanied by cinnamon.

The amount of zest you should add depends on how you take your coffee. If you like sugar and cream, a teaspoon of zest per 1/4 cup of ground coffee should do the trick. If you take it black, I would only add half of that, and I would urge your try it with some sugar. It really does taste best with sugar and cream — kinda like a spicy, caffeinated creamsicle. (Also, I doubt any black coffee drinkers will do this; it seems antithetical to their entire deal.)

The execution could not be easier: grate some fresh orange zest, mix it in with your grounds, and put your ground in the coffee pot and brew it like you normally would. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon if that sounds nice. Or grate in some nutmeg. Or do both. (I did both.)

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