How To: Mastic Coffee at Home

I wanted to write this blog post because, like many of you, I miss having Mastic Coffee every day at the shop.  I did not invent Mastic Coffee; Mastiha has been used to infuse a variety of foods, including coffee, for centuries.  However, I adapted it from the Greek and Turkish mastiha-infused coffees that I had found through my work and travels, and made it my own.  After I first tried it, I began infusing goat milk at home with mastiha oil, partly because everything in my life was becoming goat milk based, and partly because I like to drink my coffee with a little milk.  I would lightly sweeten the infusion, and then pour it over freshly brewed espresso.  It quickly became a morning ritual for my mother and me, a tradition that was as therapeutic as it was gratifying.  When I opened Victory Garden, I had to serve Mastic Coffee, because it was such an intrinsic and joyful part of my day, one that I wanted to share with my customers.  The VG version was the same infusion that I would make at home, but it also had cardamom in it, and we served it over hot or cold brew coffee.  One of my friends once told me, "after having mastic coffee, all I ever think about is having mastic coffee".  I had been in a cooking rut until really recently, where I felt disconnected from my kitchen, and disconnected from the flavors that connect me to my own self.  As I started to emerge from that, I began craving mastic coffee intensely, and I had to reintegrate it into my morning ritual.  Through doing so, I developed a little trick that you all can use to make Mastic Coffee at home.  I simply add a few drops of mastic oil to the coffee grinds before I brew it in my Italian Moka coffee maker.  You can add any type of milk to this preparation, or even no milk at all.  You can also use this trick for any coffee brewing method, just put the oil on the grounds before brewing.  The original VG Mastic Coffee recipe is below, for those of you who wanted to prepare it the way we used to serve it at home. Both versions are good to have on hand. Note that mastiha oil is expensive, but it is still harvested by hand, and only grows on one part of the island of Chios in Greece.  In addition, a little goes a long way, and it is totally worth it.  

VG Mastic Coffee (this recipe can be halved, quartered, and adapted)
1 cup organic cane sugar
4 cups goat milk
24 (about) cardamom pods (you can roast these for a deeper flavor if you want)
8 drops mastiha oil

Slowly heat up the milk, sugar, and cardamom pods until steam rises and the sugar dissolves.  Do not boil.  Add the mastic oil and strain into an ice bath.  Cool completely.  

For more information on Mastic, read here and here