Same-old, same-old got you down? With the short, dark months of winter in full swing, we want to make sure your coffee stays interesting — so a few of us here at Planetary Design compiled a list of common, everyday ingredients that we thought might liven up your coffee. We ended up mixing six different tastes in with our usual office brew, hoping to find a new favorite… and we came out with some winners!
Keeping in mind that a score of 3.0 would be just a black cup of coffee, here are the results of our office trials:
Our first pick was more a control than anything, but we picked our favorite half-and-half from a local dairy farm to top our first cup off. With an average score of 3.7 out of 5, turns out most people like half-and-half in their coffee — nothing too revolutionary there!
But we’re just getting started…
If you’ve ever seen something called “bulletproof coffee” on the menu at a coffee shop and wondered what the heck it was, we’ve got an answer for you: it’s 8-12 ounces coffee and a couple teaspoons unsalted butter. Seems like an odd combination, right?
At first, putting butter — a notorious source of fat — in coffee seemed like it was just going to ruin a good thing. After researching a bit, however, we found that adding the healthy fat in organic butter to your coffee boosts production of fat-burning bacteria in your liver. Plus, the fat slows down the release of caffeine in your cup, preventing those awful jitters that happen when you drink coffee too quickly.
With all this in mind, we gave it a shot (pun intended). The verdict? Most of us couldn’t really tell the difference in taste or texture, while others were off-put by the shimmery layer from butter settling on top — the team score of 2.3 reflected this.
After reading the health benefits, however, and confirming the addition of butter didn’t take a toll on taste, we’re giving bulletproof coffee second considerations.
Now it’s gettin’ interesting! We put some of the finest bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup into our next cup and came out with a 3.0 out of 5.0 team score. Some of us aren’t keen on sugary drinks to begin with, so maple syrup was already fighting an uphill battle; however, all taste-testers agreed that the syrup provided a familiar comfort to the cup. For those who enjoy a sweet treat in the morning, the warm and woody taste of maple syrup was the top choice!
One of our experimenters described this one as a “light mocha”, which we thought was a pretty good description of the taste. Tied for top score with the classic half-and-half, we used quality 2% chocolate milk from a local dairy farm, and the addition did not disappoint.
So go ahead and snag some of the kids’ favorite from the fridge and sneak it into your coffee!
Despite it being a combination of two traditional additives, a fluffy dollop of whipped cream seemed a little foreign on top of our black coffee. We’ve heard rumors that this topping is common in Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, which is technically foreign to us. The milky, not-too-sweet taste, however, spoke our language just fine.
Receiving a team score of 3.7, whipped cream was an almost-unanimous improvement to our everyday cup.
Both last and least, we topped off our experiment by adding honey to our final cup. Honey is a great natural sweetener especially close to the hearts of tea drinkers, and the sugars present in honey are less likely to be stored as fat than those found in white sugar. Plus, honey often contains great things like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Though it made for a thick, smooth texture (and we wanted to love it for the health benefits alone), most of us found honey to be a little too sweet to satisfy — turns out, the tastes just don’t blend very well in the mouths of the majority. Thus, we reluctantly saddled honey with the lowest score.
If you’re thinking of giving it a try, we recommend adding less honey than you would sugar to avoid spoiling your brew.
Do Our Scores Measure Up?
After a full morning of over-caffeinating ourselves, our team came out with strong opinions and jittery hands — anything to help you guys find the perfect cup of coffee!
Have you tried some of these ingredients in your coffee before? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments.