This Thai Coffee recipe makes a delicious cardamom flavored iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk and cream. It's great over ice in the summer, though just as good enjoyed hot any time of the year.
Cardamom is one of my favorite spices, and I'm always finding new ways to use more of it. So I figured, why not add it into something I enjoy every day and make cardamom flavored coffee? It turns out, this is a common flavor of Thai Coffee.
What is cardamom?
But before we jump into the coffee, let's talk a little more about cardamom. Cardamom is an aromatic spice native to India, and it's part of the ginger family. While I can taste some similarities to ginger, I find cardamom is more refreshing. It's a mix of sweet and spicy with hints of citrus. I think cardamom is more balanced than ginger, though at the same time, it's more potent and a little goes a long way.
Cardamom comes in papery green pods that contain tiny black seeds. With the help of a mortar and pestle, you can easily grind up just the seeds or, as I tend to do, grind up the seeds and pods together. Of course, cardamom is also available pre-ground.
I only just recently learned that there is such a thing as black cardamom. As the name implies, the pods are black instead of green and the flavor is smoky and sweet, rather than spicy. I recently bought some black cardamom and am just waiting for a good use. Any suggestions?
Because of its sweet and spicy flavor profile, cardamom works well for both sweet and savory uses. You can use cardamom to flavor chicken, rice, baked goods, tea, and many Indian dishes. It's also good paired with oranges or spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and coriander. But for now, let's make some iced Thai coffee.
What is Thai Coffee?
Thai Coffee is coffee with sweetened condensed milk that typically has some added flavor. Often, the flavor is cardamom or a combination of cardamom and almond. It's important to use strong coffee, as well. I use Vermont Coffee Company's Dos roast, which is the coffee we brew at home just about every day. It's a well-balanced medium roast, coffee grown in the tropical climate of the Caribbean.
I really like the flavor of cardamom, so when making this coffee, I use whole cardamom pods while brewing the coffee and then add some ground cardamom into the sweetened condensed milk and cream. I use both the condensed milk and cream because in order to lighten the coffee to my liking, I'd have to use a lot of sweetened condensed milk and then the coffee ends up too sweet.
how to customize your Thai coffee
We all like our coffee prepared differently, so here are a few ways to make this your own:
- Use more or less sweetened condensed milk to adjust the sweetness.
- Don't know if you like the flavor of cardamom? Start by only using some in the brewing process and skip adding it into the cream.
- Can't have dairy? Look for jars of coconut sweetened condensed milk and use your favorite non-dairy creamer in place of the cream.
- Try other flavors in place or in addition to the cardamom. Use ground cinnamon or ginger or add vanilla or almond extract.
- Make a Thai iced coffee by serving over a glass of ice, as described below.