We were completely jet lagged when we arrived. After a midnight bus ride from Canal Street in New York on the Chinatown Express to 14th street in Washington D.C., where we took a taxi to Dulles airport and slept for four hours on plastic benches before flying ten hours to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, cue an eight hour layover before arriving in Stone Town, Zanzibar five hours later where we learned that the hotel we'd booked online was overbooked as were all of the hotels and guest houses in town that night, we were in desperate need of a pick me up.
Dragging our rolling luggage behind us over dusty cobblestone streets, we came upon an ocean view cafe.
Perched on silky cushions, we ordered food and began to panic.
The air smelled of cardamom and salt water. In the distance, waves noisily lapped at the beach.
Our coffee came out first. It was served in tiny silver cups, warm to the touch. At first I was confused, the cup smelled more like chai tea than coffee. Don't get me wrong, chai is lovely, but I really wanted coffee and wasn't in the mood for another disappointment.
I took a sip. Equally stimulating and grounding, the coffee bathed my mouth with flavor. Zanzibar does many things well, their spiced coffee, they do really well.
We stayed in that cafe until it closed. Until we were forced to wander the streets once more in search of a place to stay, which we finally found several hours later as the sun began to rise. Thank goodness for that coffee!
Rarely am I nostalgic about that evening, but when I am, it centers around that coffee.
That's why tonight, after putting the kids to bed, I decided to brew a cup of my version of Zanzibar spiced coffee.
It was almost as good. Here's what I did-
1 rounded scoop of french roast coffee
1 teaspoon fresh cardamom
1 teaspoon fresh sliced ginger
5 whole cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
In a french press add your ingredients along with 1/2 cup boiling water.
Let the coffee sit for five minutes before straining and pouring into your mug.
I added a pinch of almond milk but you can dress your coffee however you'd like.
This recipe makes a strong single cup that is sure to get you through any tough spot you may find yourself in.