I, like most Americans, am addicted to my morning cup of coffee. Three cups, to be exact. I’ve gone through more coffee makers in my life than I care to admit.
Lately, I’ve gone a little “hipster” with my coffee, switching between French press and pour-over. I feel like the small amount of effort these “hand-crafted” approaches require produce a bit more flavor than any machine I’ve tried over the years.
Besides the energy boost, flavor is why most of us drink coffee… also why a lot of us have at least one or two bottles of flavored coffee creamer in the refrigerator door. I went through that phase, too.
I never much cared for flavored coffee, but I sure enjoyed pouring in a little cream after it was done brewing.
But my love affair with non-dairy coffee creamers came to a screeching halt the day I decided to actually read the label on the back of the bottle.
I’m not sure why I expected anything other than what I found, but I was disappointed, nonetheless.
I would never put up with eating foods with these kinds of unhealthy and unnatural ingredients… so why was I allowing myself to pour them all into my cup of coffee?
What’s Really in Your Coffee Creamer?
I can tell you my own laziness is what kept me from doing something as simple as reading the list of ingredients on that bottle of coffee creamer.
When I finally did, here’s a sample of the common ingredients I found in the creamers I had accumulated in my fridge:
- Corn Syrup
- Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative)
- Dipotassium Phosphate
- Mono and Diglycerides
- Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
- Artificial Flavor (which could be anything)
- Artificial Color (again, it could be anything)
Who in their right mind would take something as simple and pure (not to mention healthy) as coffee and pour in all that junk?
For me, there was no going back. I dumped all my store-bought coffee creamers down the kitchen sink and started investigating healthier options to flavor my coffee.
Healthier, Natural Ways to Flavor Coffee
Skipping the non-dairy coffee creamers (and their potentially toxic ingredients) is not only the healthy choice; it also inspires your creativity and saves you money.
Consider what all those flavored Starbucks drinks contain… they’re dumping in the same unhealthy ingredients used to make those store-bought creamers and flavored syrups. So skip the drive-through coffee joints, too. Instead, try these ideas to add some natural flavor to your home-brewed coffee.
Use Natural Spices
It seems obvious after you hear it, but you can add spices directly into the grounds when you’re brewing to add natural flavor to your pot of coffee.
For decaf drinkers, this trick can be a godsend, as the typical selection of decaf coffee at the store is notoriously lacking in flavor.
Try these go-to spices for starters: cinnamon, pumpkin spice (think pumpkin spice lattes!), nutmeg, cardamom and ginger.
Add a Drop of Your Favorite Extract
Just like spices, liquid extracts like vanilla, peppermint and maple are a super simple way to add flavor without artificial ingredients.
You can add flavor extracts to the grounds before you brew, or cup-by-cup after the coffee is ready. And don’t be afraid to combine flavors, too! Maple and cinnamon make a great combo.
Make Your Own (Natural) Coffee Creamer
If you’re not ready to completely give up on creamers, you can simply make your own natural version at home.
All you need are equal parts organic sweetened condensed milk and organic whole milk mixed with a few drops of your favorite liquid extract (or a combination of flavors). To keep it non-dairy, you can simply add extracts to organic almond milk or coconut milk.
Use Natural Sweeteners
Knowing what’s inside those bottles of non-dairy creamers should be enough to convince you to leave them at the store… but knowing how easy it is to still add the right flavor and sweetness to your morning cup of Joe definitely seals the deal.
Say goodbye to artificial ingredients and stick to the healthy, natural flavors provided to us by Mother Nature.