In recent years, turmeric has been propelled into mainstream media in the form of shots, milk, and many fadish items, but should you mix it with coffee or not?
One of the most popular turmeric combinations is coffee with turmeric, so here is everything you need to know about turmeric and coffee.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice made from the root of a flowering plant. Scientifically named Curcuma Longa, the plant is a distant relative of ginger, and contains similar looking tuberous roots that are powdered, blended, or boiled into different forms of the turmeric spice. The resulting spice is a pungent, warm, and slightly bitter flavor that is often used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking.
The spice is well known for its medicinal properties, which are derived from Curcumin, the compound in turmeric that gives it a bright orange color. Curcumin has proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can assist with preventing cancer, lowering cholesterol, and possibly preventing heart disease. The compound has even been compared to ibuprofen, due to its effectiveness.
Although turmeric’s health benefits have made it widely popular in Western diets, the spice originally comes from India, and is over 4000 years old. It was used in cooking for nearly 2000 years before the first instances of its medicinal uses were cited. Around 500 BCE, turmeric was used in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient Indian medicine system that still exists today. The root was used to heal bruises, smallpox, chicken pox, shingles, and much more. It was believed to be so beneficial that it was dubbed Jayanti, which translates into “someone who is victorious over all diseases”.
By 700 AD, turmeric spread to China, and the spice eventually made its way across the globe, existing under different names in every culture.
When and Why Did Coffee and Turmeric Become Trend?
2017 marked the beginning of the turmeric trend, a viral food movement that started with the turmeric latté. The turmeric latté is a drink made from steamed milk, turmeric, and some sort of sweetener. Popular cafes carry turmeric lattes that often contain additional spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper. The drink is a hybrid of Chai, and has grown in popularity because of its said health benefits.
As turmeric lattés became more popular, cafes also began serving turmeric coffee, to combine the health food with an everyday beverage that people could enjoy. Along with regular coffee and turmeric, coffee was also added to the turmeric latté to create a caffeinated version of the drink.
Turmeric lattés are now popular beverages that are carried by many mainstream coffee chains including Starbucks, Peet’s, Philz, and many small coffee shops. Retailers have even begun selling turmeric coffee items such as turmeric creamer, turmeric coffee powder, and more.
How to Combine Turmeric and Coffee
The most popular way of combining turmeric with coffee is through a turmeric latté. The multidimensional drink is the perfect way to combine turmeric with coffee, since the additional spices and textures take away from the strong turmeric flavor which can be bitter in excess. Since a large amount of turmeric is added to the drink, the addition of ginger, cardamom, and pepper balance out the turmeric taste, creating an elevated spiced latté.
Although this is the most popular form, turmeric is also used as an additive in regular, brewed coffee. The trend of turmeric in coffee has exceeded commercial coffee shops, and people have begun adding turmeric powder into their daily coffee, as well as requesting it in coffee shops.
Another popular way to add turmeric to coffee is by combining it with coffee grounds and brewing the mixture with hot water. This results in a gentle but flavorful turmeric coffee with less intensity.
Taste: Coffee and Turmeric
Turmeric is known for its warm, peppery, gingery, but also slightly bitter taste. It is often used in savory foods and Asian curries, so the combination of turmeric and coffee might not seem very cohesive. However, it has proven to be a very popular and tasteful combination that many enjoy.
Turmeric lattés are often spiced with a variety of potent spices, so the resulting drink is an orchestra of sweet, spice, ginger, pepper, and more. In this setting, the vibrant and exquisite flavor of turmeric fits right in and creates an even bolder spiced ginger flavor. The slight bitterness of turmeric also pairs well with the frothy milk in a latté, creating a tangible contrast between the light and creamy milk and the sharp and woody turmeric. These flavors and textures all work together to create a uniquely flavored latté which cannot be replicated without the key ingredient: turmeric.
Contrarily, turmeric mixed with regular coffee, whether it be black coffee or coffee with milk, has a completely different effect. This kind of drink generally contains much less turmeric, since the flavor can get overpowering. A small amount of turmeric mixed in coffee, or brewed with the coffee, creates a gentle, warming flavor, but too much turmeric can add to the natural bitterness of coffee and overpower the drink.
Health Benefits: Coffee and Turmeric
While turmeric has proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, many studies have found that it can assist with other health conditions and provide additional health benefits. Combining turmeric with coffee does not create any additional health benefits, but it doesn’t take away from any of the existing benefits either.
According to some studies, turmeric has been observed to lower the risk of brain disease, heart disease, and cancer. It can also help prevent arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. Turmeric also provides ample amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
What Other Drinks are Made With Turmeric?
Aside from coffees and lattés, turmeric is also a popular additive for an assortment of other drinks, including teas, wellness “shots,” spiced milk drinks, smoothies, and more.
Turmeric tea, a mildly flavored yellow tea, is carried by many popular tea brands and cafes. Turmeric wellness shots, concentrated shots of turmeric and other beneficial herbs and foods, have taken over health restaurants such as Whole Foods, Pressed Juicery, and more. Turmeric milk, also called Golden milk, is a sweet and spiced drink that is often made with a milk substitute. It is also sold in many health food stores and farmers’ markets.