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Spices Add Flavor, Aroma to Coffee Drinks

How do you like your coffee? Regular, black or with steamed milk in a latt or cappuccino?

Or perhaps you prefer your java with non-dairy lighteners like soy or almond milk and honey or agave instead of sugar; with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a grating of nutmeg on top; maybe adding a shot of chocolate to make it a mocha?

However you like to drink it, coffee is more than "the cup that cheers," to quote the slogan of Hawaii's Lion Coffee brand. This rich and powerful brew has inspired many rituals and traditions around the world, as well as the name of a coffee company that has become one of Napa's cult destinations: see Ritual makes a religion of drinking coffee.

Yemenite coffee is traditionally served black, spiced with a mixture of cloves, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom called "hawaj for coffee." You can sample it at our Napa shop, next door to Ritual Coffee Roasters.

If you visit Ethiopia or Eritrea, you may be honored with an invitation to a coffee ceremony that begins with roasting dried coffee beans so that guests may smell the aroma before, during and after the grinding and brewing process.

The Turkish tasted their first coffee in the 16th century, dubbing it "the milk of chess players and thinkers," developing their own ceremonies to prepare and serve it and adding spices to heighten the flavors.

You can make your own Turkish coffee, with as much or as little ritual as you like, by adapting Ronit's method to your own taste.

"There is no one way for making Turkish coffee," she explains. "Same as in the U.S.A., everyone likes their coffee differently. This is how I like mine."

Get Ronit's recipe »»Turkish Coffee