Tips From a Former Barista: Simple Ways to Spice up Your Coffee

Something happened when I started college- I began guzzling coffee. It was really bad coffee too. I'm talking Costco sized tins of Folgers that I'm pretty sure I was brewing wrong. I've since bettered my ways, mostly in part to being a barista for a few years. I've learned some tricks and I'm here to save you from having to drink bland coffee. 

Here are some simple things you can do to make rolling out of bed less dreadful: 

1) Add a dash of cinnamon to your grounds

This is my go-to trick for cheap grounds that don't really have much of a flavor profile. Adding a little bit of cinnamon to your basket (the part of your drip coffee machine where your grounds go) can give a pleasant hint of spice. You might get more of an aromatic experience and not so much of a flavor, but this will depend on how much cinnamon you add. 

2) Brighten up your iced coffee with lemon or orange peels

This is best with iced coffee or cold brew. Try adding rinds to your brewing basket or inside your cold brew pitchers. Pair this technique with Starbucks' Kenya blend to complement its bright acidity. Some recipes even suggest adding an orange slice inside your glass of iced coffee. 

3) Cafe de Olla 

Traditionally Mexican, this is my personal favorite way to drink coffee. It takes more time than your regular brewing methods and doesn't require the used of a coffee machine. With the seasons changing, this is the perfect drink for a cold Saturday morning to fuel your study sessions. Here's a recipe that you can follow. 

4) Latte lover for life? Get a frother

As much as I would love to have my own espresso machine with a milk steamer, I've settled for frothing my own milk. I personally have this frother. I brew my coffee at double strength(twice the amount of grounds with half the amount of water) to imitate espresso. Over a stovetop warm your milk up and remember that the milk will double in size when you froth it, so be short on your pour. Make sure not to boil your milk to avoid having a skin form. Once your milk starts to steam over, pour it into your frother and foam away! This takes some practice, but you'll end up with something between a latte and a cafe au lait. I like to sprinkle some cinnamon on top of mine. 

If you try some of these and like it, tweet us @HerCampusSJSU and let us know!