11 Ways to Flavor Coffee Without Fake Creamer

Sept. 29 is National Coffee Day, and for good reason: Coffee makes the world go ’round. And flavored coffee makes your day a little sweeter. But have you ever looked at the ingredients on that nondairy flavored creamer? They are typically oil + artificial flavors + sugar. Eww. 

Or maybe you use K-Cups. But have you ever calculated the cost? It may be cheaper than your local café, but it’s costing you – and the environment – quite a bit: 

  • Café: $5/cup = $150/month (one cup per day) 

  • K-Cups: $15/24 cups = a little over $30/month (two cups per day) 

  • Regular coffee: $9/42 cups (16-ounce bag) = a little over $9/month (two cups per day) 

What if I told you there was a healthier and cheaper way to flavor regular coffee? It’s more natural. It doesn’t require buying pre-flavored grounds. And it’s probably already in your kitchen. 

Ready? Here it is:

Spice Up Your Grounds

Open up your spice cabinet. Ta-dah! There are a ton of yummy spices you can add directly to the coffee grounds before brewing, for a flavor you can customize every day. Then you can use the real milk that’s already in your fridge to add a creamy sweetness. 

A generous dash of spices for a four-cup pot will do, but test out different amounts to suit your own tastes. Here are some top spice choices: 

  1. Cinnamon – Recreate that sticky-bun flavor for your morning wake-up. 

  1. Chicory – This woody root has actually been used as a coffee substitute. 

  1. Pumpkin pie spice – Pumpkin spice lattes are everyone’s fall favorite, and if you’ve ever made a pumpkin pie, you probably already have a little container of the spices in stock. You can even do the same with apple pie spice, too!  

  1. Cloves – A sweet, spicy flavor to put you in the Christmas spirit any time of year. 

  1. Nutmeg – Oaky. Nutty. Reminds me of eggnog.  

  1. Cocoa – If you love the taste of strong coffee but not the extra caffeine, add some cocoa. This creates not so much a mocha flavor, but a spicy bitterness. 

  1. Hot chocolate mix – Here’s what you use if you want the mocha flavor – just be careful of the extra sugar. A little bit will cover you, and you can add it directly to the cup. Hint: Chocolate milk works, too. 

  1. Vanilla extract – This one can go in the grounds or in the cup. I usually stick with a capful for a four-cup pot. 

  1. Cardamom – An exotic, smoky flavor people in the Middle East often use in their coffee and tea. 

  1. Turmeric – Another exotic flavor, which pairs well with vanilla. Just a heads-up: It’s a natural dye that may turn your tongue orange. 

  1. Salt – Just a pinch of salt in the grounds or in the cup helps cut the bitterness, so it may help you reduce or even eliminate sugar. 

Add Real Cream (or Milk)

Real dairy is, well, real – a simple whole food packed with nine essential nutrients, including a gram of high-quality protein in every ounce. And it’s already in your fridge! You could get yourself a milk frother to make legit lattes. Bonus: The calcium in milk also reduces the acidity of the coffee, so it’s easier on your stomach. 

Try one of these tomorrow morning and let us know how you liked it!

By Sarah Ryan, MS, RDN, LD

Sarah is a registered dietitian nutritionist and foodie. She has a special interest in sports nutrition and is certified in food allergy training. When she isn't working, you can find her in the kitchen baking delicious cakes and beautiful pies. Learn more about Sarah

Get Content Like This in Your Inbox.