Although spiced coffee isn’t as popular in Morocco as it once was—having been eclipsed
by espresso—it’s still enjoyed around the country by coffee aficionados. I have found café
épicé in homes (where the heady smell of the brewing coffee is dazzling), in places in the
countryside, and in certain medina cafés, the kind where older men gather to play cards
and talk politics.
Cinnamon, ginger, clove, aniseed, nutmeg, freshly ground black or white pepper—these
are some of the classic spices that give the drink its name. Friends in Morocco, selfconfessed
coffee aficionados, add toasted sesame seeds to their brews for a slightly
nutty, savory flavor. One grinds four toasted chickpeas with the coffee beans and spices.
The measurements here are general. Much depends on the roast and grind of the coffee,
and the desired strength of both the brew and the level of spice. Ideally, grind the
coffee beans and spices together just before preparing.
The directions below are for preparing the coffee in a saucepan, which allows the recipe
to easily be doubled or tripled. To prepare in a stove-top espresso maker—one of the
popular pots with two parts that screw together, such as the Bialetti Moka Express—mix
the spices and coffee and prepare as usual for a two- or three-serving pot.
Heaped 2 Tbsp ground coffee
1⁄8 tsp ground cinnamon
2 pinches aniseed
2 pinches ground ginger
2 pinches freshly ground white or black
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
In a small bowl, mix together the coffee, spices,
and sesame seeds.
In a saucepan, bring 2 cups/480 ml water to
a boil. Add the coffee mixture, stir well, and let
boil and foam for 1 minute, watching that it does
not boil over. Remove from the heat, stir again,
and cover. Let sit undisturbed for 4 to 5 minutes.
Gently pour the coffee into cups through a
fine-mesh strainer to catch the finer grounds,
herbs, and seeds. Sweeten with sugar as desired