Cardamom in coffee might sound strange, but cardamom is typically added to Turkish and/or Arabic coffee. Cardamom is related to ginger, and it has a eucalyptus-like aroma and a warm flavor similar to cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, but with lemon-citrusy undertones. Not only does it add a very complex flavor to coffee, but according to The Herb & Spice Companion, there is some evidence suggesting that cardamom reduces the effects of caffeine in coffee.
I really like the use of cardamom in mocha because all of its flavor complexities pair well with the various flavor notes in the cocoa powder. And it’s even better when complimented with a square of your favorite dark chocolate. ;)
(Yield: 2 servings)
2 c hot water
3 – 5 TB medium-coarse ground coffee (depending on taste)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar or turbinado sugar
2 cardamom pods
Splash of milk (optional)
Bring the water up to a boil; shut off the heat and let the water cool for 3 minutes. The cardamom pods can be lightly crushed (using a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a large knife – similar to crushing garlic) or ground (using a coffee grinder, blender, etc.); grinding them will give the mocha a more intense cardamom flavor.
Add the coffee to a French press and once the water cools, bloom the coffee grounds by adding just enough water to cover the coffee. Now add the rest of the water, along with the cocoa, sugar, and cardamom, and stir 5 times.
Place the plunger on top of the French press so that the coffee stays hot, but do not press the plunger down; let the coffee brew like this for 3 – 5 minutes. Slowly push the plunger down. Serve the mocha with a splash of milk if desired.