Things you never thought to add to your coffee

I'll be the first to admit that a cup of coffee with just a touch of flavored creamer is pretty much the perfect way to start your day. But that's not the only way to drink your cup of Joe. In fact, there might be some coffee add-ins out there you've never even thought of. It's scary to step outside your coffee comfort zone, but if you're brave, you might just find a new way to take your morning mud.

Salt

For some coffee drinkers, the bitterness of the brew is what gives it such appeal. For others, the whole point of milk and sugar is to conceal that bitter taste. Unfortunately, it also conceals much of the coffee's actual flavor. To keep the flavor but counteract some of the bitterness, try adding a pinch of salt. You won't actually taste the salt (unless you're a little too loose with the shaker), but some of the bitterness will disappear.

Vanilla extract

If you're a fan of French vanilla creamer (I'm definitely raising my hand right now; you aren't alone), you might want to think about swapping out your sugary creamer for a drop or two of pure vanilla extract instead. You'll get that tasty vanilla flavor you love without all the unhealthy additives. If all the coffee drinkers in your house are fans of vanilla, consider adding it to your carafe before you brew your coffee. Not only will you have a pot of ready-to-drink vanilla coffee, but your entire house will smell amazing.

Cinnamon

Do you like a little coffee with your sugar in the morning? The next time you're ready to sweeten your bean juice, reach for the cinnamon shaker instead of the sugar bowl. Just a few shakes of cinnamon will sweeten your coffee — probably even more than you would expect — and it'll do it without adding a ton of calories.

Cardamom

Cardamom is not a cheap spice — but just a little bit goes a very long way. This Middle Eastern spice is a little sweet and a little savory, with some cardamom fans saying its flavor is similar to ginger, but stronger. It's also a great source of fiber, iron, and magnesium, so you're definitely starting your day on the right foot when you add this to your coffee. Plus how fancy and exotic will you sound when you recommend it to all of your friends?

Chocolate

Chocolate and coffee are two foods that get most of us through the day, so why not just throw caution to the wind and enjoy them both at once? Make your favorite coffee, then add chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, or even chocolate chips. If you're desperate, you can even get into your kids' candy stash and add a mini candy bar — it'll melt into that hot coffee in seconds and they'll never know. In fact, my dad swears by Cadbury Creme Mini Eggs in his coffee, and if you're a big fan of sweet, you probably will, too. If you're trying to stay at least somewhat healthy in the mornings, reach for the dark chocolate instead.

Maple syrup

Move over pancakes, maple syrup has a whole new use. Believe it or not, it's a rich and tasty way to sweeten your coffee. Natural syrups obviously give your coffee a better flavor, but the artificial stuff will work in a pinch, too.

Butter

As unappetizing as it might sound, butter coffee is an actual thing. It was started by a guy named Dave Asprey, who claimed that adding unsalted butter to your coffee would give you more energy throughout the day and help you stay full all morning. Whether or not it does what he claims is doubtful and is ultimately unproven, but plenty of people just swear by the taste.

Eggs

Are you brave enough to try this one? Some fearless souls are adding raw eggs (the whole egg or just the yolk) to their coffee. Not only does it start your day with a punch of protein, but if you add a pinch of sugar, it creates something like a coffee custard. Still not sold on the raw eggs? I don't blame you. Use pasteurized eggs to stay on the safe side.

Ice cream

Maybe you're not trying to be adventurous at all. Maybe you're just out of creamer and oh my goodness, it's way too early to deal with problems of this magnitude. Reach into the depths of your freezer, pull out that ancient carton of ice cream — I'd go for vanilla, but the choice is yours — and add a spoonful to your coffee. It may not be the healthiest way to start your day, but it'll give your coffee the sweet and creamy flavor you're craving right now. And let's be honest, that's all that matters in the moment.