Orange Zest Is The Citrus Twist Your Morning Cup Of Coffee Needs

Coffee purists often cringe at the mere thought of adding anything beyond a touch of creamer to their beloved cup of coffee (and even that might be pushing it). But if you're up for trying something different, here's an idea to consider: Try adding a few flakes of orange zest! The natural acidity found in the zest can surprisingly mellow out the coffee's bitter undertones. Plus, the zest, brimming with aromatic essential oils, can give your brew a lovely, fresh aroma.

Incorporating zest into your coffee is a simple process. Just finely grate the outermost layer of an orange's skin, mix it into the grounds, then brew it. Be careful with your rasp and zester, and make sure you don't dig too deep into the peel, however. Underneath the orange coat is a white layer called the pith, which is notorious for being bitter. It's definitely not what you want in your coffee! How much zest to add depends on your taste. 

For those who prefer their coffee on the sweeter side (with sugar and cream), adding a teaspoon of zest per quarter cup of ground coffee will do the trick, since the zest will compete with the flavor and aroma of the sugar and cream, too. However, if you like it black or want to savor the coffee's natural flavor (especially recommended for specialty or premium coffee aficionados), just half a teaspoon should suffice. It'll infuse your coffee with the desired citrusy aroma while still allowing the coffee's robust character to shine through.

Other zesty coffee variations to try

You can also make your coffee from other kinds of citrus zest, such as lemon and lime. Of course, each of them will bring a unique set of flavors and aromas to your brew. Lemon zest brings a sharper, tangier taste compared to orange zest because it's much more acidic. Its scent and flavor are also noticeably distinct due to having a different essential oil composition. 

This bright and slightly tart zest is perfect for those who enjoy flavored coffee (like Starbucks' Orange Spice coffee) and want the zest to stand out by balancing the coffee's bitterness. You can also try using lime zest, which will offer a stronger flavor and aroma due to its higher acidity. It's an excellent choice for adding flavor to darker roasts that lemon zest might not be able to tame. Adding lemon or lime zest to your coffee is just as simple as using orange zest. 

All you have to do is finely grate the zest (making sure to avoid the white pith), and then mix it with your coffee grounds before brewing. You can adjust the quantity to your preference, but keep in mind that you'll require a bit less lemon and lime zest because their flavors are more potent. Start with half a teaspoon, and if you want more zestiness, you can go for a bit more in future batches!