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Firstly let it be said that Starbucks, Costa, etc. only figure in coffee drinking if there is absolutely no other alternative.
We have a small expresso machine so...
First coffee the day: Frothed semi-skimmed milk, double expresso poured through it.
Mid-morning: double expresso
After lunch: double expresso
Mid-afternoon: Caffè lungo made with half normal and half water-extracted decaf.
In all cases the coffee is Malongo "La Tierra" (organic and fair-trade).
We have super-soft tap water at 6.8 pH. Perfect for coffee.
Well - anise and star anise are quite different. And neither of them is really Liquorice[^].
They former two do share at least one component in common, but what of the component that causes said problems? Licorice has it - they do not.
As for anise (little white things):
The seed wasteth and consumeth winde, and is good against belchings and upbraidings of the stomacke, alaieth gripings of the belly, provoketh urine gently, maketh abundance of milke, and stirreth up bodily lust: it staieth the laske (diarrhea), and also the white flux (leukorrhea) in women.
No problems with actual star anise, but Japanese star anise, a different species, is quite toxic.
So, your fears are well founded, except not for anise of either type! <br.
I can't give you any scientific or evidence for this, but I make it a point to not let the cinnamon or anise start get wet with the milk. They steep in the coffee. If I were to put in milk I'd remove it (and put aside for reuse !).
On the other hand, if that's inconvenient, you can just use ground cinnamon.
An option I left out: for regular anise, I grind a bunch of it with the coffee beans and perk through it. Not good with star anise on many levels. Just throw them (or cinnamon) into bottom of pot and perk on them until you decide you need to refresh.
But, after 47 years (just a beginner), we are still "WE". Fortunately, on the critical issues that typically break up marriages (finances, in particular) we are quite compatible.*
One place I lucked out: she was never taught to cook at home (nor allowed to), so she learned to cook from me - thus, it's all according to my taste and style. That, and all the money is all available to both of us - the moment you don't trust your mate is the time to find one you do trust. Since she's trusted to spend wisely, she does. I'm a minimalist. Alas, she likes bars and I hate them. If we agreed on everything, we'd be board.
Obviously, you've been at it a while longer than I, so the above is not advice - just opinions.
*The human interest stories (a/k/a Gossip), however, drive me insane
I must admit I was being a bit flippant. Marriages don't last long unless there is trust on both sides. And love and respect. However, there is some truth in it in that it is sometimes easier to bite your tongue and do as you're asked/told rather than have an argument.
All the works pensions go into my wife's bank account; the state pensions go into mine as she spends the larger part of the expenses. That way we get through life without any problems. Any large items are decided together; I leave her to buy her own clothes and she has the final say on mine, as she thinks I have no taste.
We are very comfortable in each other's company and almost never argue; and I am looking forward to a good few years to enjoy together.