Somali Spiced French Press Coffee {a recipe}

You're probably thinking, why in the world is she writing about coffee from Somalia? Isn't she living in Cambodia?

I have my husband's random Google searches to thank for stumbling upon a really delicious way of spicing up your french press coffee in the morning. One night, Andrew started googling ways to travel to Somalia as a tourist - perhaps inspired by watching Captain Phillips? (although you'd think watching that movie would put someone off the idea...)

And then of course, I wondered, what do they eat in Somalia?

 We stumbled upon a website with several Somali recipes, including one for spiced coffee.

That weekend, we tried it out, and tweaked the recipe a bit.

I am addicted.

For starters, the coffee is steeped in hot milk, instead of water. Add cinnamon and cardamom, and you have a thick, milky, delicious concoction that I'm making almost every morning.

I actually tweeted a blogger I know who used to work in Somalia and asked her how authentic this recipe was. She replied saying it looked pretty good, except most of her friends use tea leaves instead of coffee.

So if you're a tea lover, just substitute whole tea leaves for ground coffee, and you'll get a similar delicious hot drink.

To make Somali Spiced French Coffee, gather your ingredients: (full recipe at the bottom of this post)

  • Whole milk (please do yourself a favor and use the real stuff for this - although my friend said they normally use sweetened condensed milk! so whole milk really is the healthy choice!)
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cardamom pods (I don't know if cardamom pods are available in the US? If you can't find them at your normal grocer, try an Indian grocery store, or order them online - you can use them in Indian food, too!) - if you can't find cardamom pods, you can use 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom - but I will say that the cardamom seeds are much more potent and flavorful!
  • Sugar (I like to use rock sugar like this)
  • Ground coffee
  • Salt

Open one cardamom pod - you'll see several small seeds. Gently roll over them with a rolling pin until they are broken up (or if you have a mortar and pestle, use that to crush them).

Also use the rolling pin (or mortar and pestle) to break two cinnamon sticks into pieces.

Next, bring two cups of whole milk to a slow boil, stirring often to prevent scalding. 

Place the spices, one tablespoon of sugar, two tablespoons of ground coffee, and a pinch of salt into your french press.

When the milk has boiled, remove from heat, and pour the milk into your french press. Give everything a stir, then cover and steep for 4 minutes.

Press, pour, and enjoy!

Here's the recipe in full-

Somali Spiced French Press Coffee

(adapted from My Somali Food)


  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 1 Tb. sugar
  • 2 Tb. ground coffee
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups whole milk.
  1. Crush the cinnamon sticks and the seeds from the cardamom pod with a rolling pin or mortar and pestle. Place spices, along with coffee, sugar, and salt into a french press.
  2. Bring milk to a slow boil, stirring frequently to prevent scalding. When boiling, pour into french press.
  3. Stir ingredients together, and steep for 4 minutes.
  4. Press, pour, and enjoy!

Serves 2 (or 1 very thirsty blogger)

What do you think? Do you have any favorite spices to put into coffee or tea that make your morning caffeine routine more exciting? I might have to try this recipe for Somali spiced tea next!

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