When I was in Barcelona last summer, I stayed in an Air B&B owned by a wonderful local couple. She was Dutch, and he was Moroccan, and they greeted us with hot coffee and warm honey crepes upon our arrival. It was such a simple yet kind gesture. Their hospitality started my stay in Barcelona off on an amazing note, and the light afternoon snack was heavily influenced by his Moroccan roots… especially this spiced coffee I’ve managed to re-create at home on a regular basis.
After coming back from Europe, I could no longer handle my watery drip coffee maker, and immediately bought a Bialetti stove top espresso maker. While my method is different (he boiled the coffee grounds in a pot) and the spices aren’t exact, they are a warming and different addition to your normal latte.
I highly recommend a Bialetti stove-top espresso maker if you like lattes and want to try your hand at making them at home. Don’t let the odd-looking device intimidate you – it’s extremely simple to use and produces 3 shots of strong coffee more similar to espresso. (A “cup” of espresso is way different than a standard cup measure. The sizing on these means small demitasse espresso “cups” or, shots of espresso. I go for a 3-shot latte, so I own the 3-cup size).
You’ll also want to make sure your coffee is espresso-ground. Let me jump in here and say that, as a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, there is no such thing as an “espresso” coffee. Espresso is the style in which the beans are ground (much more finely than for French Press or drip makers) and the coffee is made (with pressure, to force out more of the oils). Also, it is “ES-presso”, not “EX-presso”.
Get your Bialetti set with water and grounds. Then, to the top of the grounds, add 2 dashes each of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg, and 1 dash of ground ginger. Brew the coffee on the stove as per usual and pour into a mug. While the coffee is brewing, warm 1 cup of whole-fat milk in the microwave (about 1 minute and 30 seconds) and add to the 3 shots of espresso.
If you’re like me and can’t seem to kick the sugar habit, add a teaspoon of sugar to sweeten it. The spices add a little flavor and sweetness on their own, so I go light on the sugar. The spiced combination with warm milk brings me back to sitting in a warm, breezy Spanish apartment near the ocean every time I drink it, and is a nice subtle change of pace from my normal iced cold brew or hot latte in the morning.