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As a total Java-head, I drink at least a couple of cups of coffee a day. My morning coffee routine is sacrosanct, and I don’t even try to talk to people, write emails or do much of anything until I’ve sipped my morning cup of Joe. Sound familiar?
It probably does, because Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee every day, or about 146 billion per year. America is the largest consumer of coffee in the entire world.
Thomas Jefferson called coffee “the favorite drink of the civilized world,” so we are just carrying on a long tradition started by our founding fathers! You wouldn’t argue with the author of the Declaration of Independence, would you?
Coffee is even good for you – a recent study showed that having one or more cup of coffee a day correlates with a lower chance of developing periodontal disease, and drinkers are also less likely to develop certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, or even stroke.
However, sometimes those mugs full of deliciousness can become too routine and mundane. Some mornings I dream of a slightly different coffee experience, or I’ll wonder if there is more I could be doing with the leftovers. Here are 7 ways to improve your coffee drinking experience today.
Many a cup of coffee is ruined by pouring hot or warm coffee over ice cubes to try to make iced coffee. All that you get is watered down, weak warm coffee with melted ice cubes. Instead, pour leftover or cooled down coffee into ice cubes trays, let them sit in the freezer overnight, and use them keep your iced coffee cold for days afterwards. You could also add the cubes to a cup and pour in milk for an iced latte in minutes.
Speaking of lattes, those of us without a fancy coffee machine may think we have to stop at a coffee shop for the latte we crave. Not so! Put milk in a jar or glass container with lid, shake it for thirty seconds. Then remove the lid, and pop the milk in the microwave for another thirty seconds. Fill your mug three quarters full with coffee, add some of the warm milk, then use a spoon to scoop the foam onto the top of the cup. Think of the money you could save by making the latte at home!
Another way to save money on your morning coffee routine is to browse the creamer section of the grocery store. Popular flavors like pumpkin spice and French vanilla have been turned into creamers. Dunkin Donuts recently released their creamer in grocery stores and Starbucks has a flavored iced coffee line as well. Bringing the flavors into your home for your morning cup of Joe will save money and time when you need a change to your coffee routine.
Let your cup of Joe keep working for you long after your last sip by saving the coffee grounds for your compost pile. If you are an uber-coffee-consumer, just be careful not to let the grounds make up more than 25% of your compost pile.
If you’ve made enough coffee ice cubes and want other ideas for the coffee left in the pot or press, try saving it in an airtight container in the fridge until you make your next batch of cookies or brownies. Here is a recipe for coffee brownies, or you could try replacing the water in your favorite recipe with coffee.
Sometimes the pot of coffee at work is weak, other times it is bitter. You never know what you are going to get when a different person makes it every day. So if you’ve got a pot of coffee that is unreasonably bitter, add a pinch of salt (not sugar) to counteract the tartness. That salt will react with your taste buds to take away the bitterness, and you can go on drinking like you normally would.
Say you want a more subtle taste than that of flavored creamers and syrups. You can add bits of cinnamon, orange peel, chocolate or other flavorings to your grinder with your coffee beans. Then grind away and you’ll get a nicely flavored coffee without needing flavored syrups and creams.
Coffee is serious business to a lot of Americans. Did you know that 52% of coffee drinkers said they’d rather forgo a shower in the A.M. instead of miss their cup of coffee? Some might think that’s gross, but I know a lot of you are shaking your heads in agreement! 49 percent said they’d rather live without a cell phone for a month than live without coffee. Clearly, coffee is a survival mechanism for a lot of us, but there is room for improvement. I hope you consider these seven tips mix up your daily cup of coffee!
Have you changed the way you drink or use coffee? Do you know of other creative uses for coffee or delicious ways to drink your brew? Leave your advice in the comment section!