23

I hope the question isn't too broad or fuzzy. But quite a while ago, I stumbled across coffee that was prepared with eggs. The basic recipe involved mixing ground coffee with raw eggs (I think even with their shells), then cooking that mix with water and filtering it afterwards. The end result of that was in consistence and taste not much different from classic (drip, so to say) coffee, but had a notable and interesting by-taste of egg.

This was quite bit unusual to me and I didn't ever encounter this recipe again (yet am not an expert on the topic either). So I would first and foremost like to know if that preparation method is some kind of established or regional variation of coffee and how that actually developed or what the reasons/advantages for this somehow unusual combination are, be they nutritional, historical or just because it tastes good.

  • I thought for sure it came from Steve Martin... youtube.com/watch?v=I6Bjt0Z0psY. ;-) – Scott Feb 18 '15 at 22:01
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    I'm not adding an aswer as I don't have the source on me right now, but egg coffee was invented before the moka pots and the filter paper, and the concept was to use the egg that coagulates due to the heat as a filter. Then it can be separated mechanically more easily. You just scramble your eggs, add your ground coffee, mix them, then pour it into the boiling water. The egg becomes one big blog that keeps the ground coffee together while it still brews the usual way. I tried it once, however I found it much weaker than regular brew and I didn't like the taste, but that's my problem... :) – András Hummer Feb 23 '15 at 7:59
  • @AndrásHummer That sounds interesting, though. Too bad you can't make it an actual answer. – Christian Rau Feb 23 '15 at 15:01
14

So I did a bit of research, and found a number of regional claims to 'egg coffee', including Swedish, Norwegian, Vietnamese and the American Mid-West. Of course I also found an article on Putting Weird Things In Coffee, which should be taken with a pinch of salt1.

There seem to be a variety of approaches, but they seem to fall into three main camps:

  • Add just the white and the shell
  • Add just the yolk and the shell
  • Add the whole egg, including the shell

Across the different techniques, adding the shell was the only real unifying theme! It's said to reduce bitterness (I imagine because the shell is essentially calcium-carbonate, which is basic). The technique is to just crush up the shell, mix it and the egg contents with the coffee and pour over boiling water.

The grounds will bind with the egg protein and sink in the cup. They can then be strained off.

The only other recipe I found is specifically for Vietnamese egg coffee, which I found here:

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 3 teaspoons of Vietnamese coffee powder
  • 2 teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk
  • Boiling water

Directions

Brew a small cup of Vietnamese coffee. Crack an egg and discard the whites. Put the yolk and the sweetened condensed milk in a small, deep bowl and whisk vigorously until you end up with a frothy, fluffy mixture like the one above. Add a tablespoon of the brewed coffee and whisk it in. In a clear coffee cup (we’re going for aesthetics here), pour in your brewed coffee, then add the fluffy egg mixture on top. Presto. Egg coffee.

enter image description here

1: No, not like that.

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    Except for the crack in the mug, it looks... interesting. However you do it, don't forget to temper your egg, which appears to be what the "Add a tablespoon of the brewed coffee" bit is doing. – hoc_age Feb 18 '15 at 17:25
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    @fredley You forgot a step. EAT AND DEVOUR WITH AWESOMENESS!... I am Vietnamese by the way :-) – Anthony Pham Feb 18 '15 at 23:57
4

I don't know any history behind the practice but I learned it myself during a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon back in the early '90's. The method was to put a couple of fistfuls of loose grounds in one of those giant porcelain coffee pots that look like they came out of a Zane Grey novel. Follow with two whole uncooked eggs and with a big metal spoon, stir the whole mess in the bottom of the pot, breaking the eggs and mixing it well with the dry grounds. Fill the pot with cold water and put on a hot fire until the thing boils. Take the pot off the fire and open the lid, dribbling about a cup of cold water over the top of the liquid inside. Somehow this settles all the solids to the bottom of the pot and the coffee really tasted pretty good. My take was that the egg sort of smoothed out any harshness the crude method would have introduced to the coffee otherwise. The grounds pretty much stay at the bottom of the pot and were not really a problem in the cup.

I couldn't believe it would work as well as it did but I'm a believer. Where it originated, I have no idea, but I have to believe it was away from civilization because the method was so crude.

  • It sounds like a crazy waste of otherwise perfectly fine eggs though. Why would someone do that? Or did you eat the poached egg/coffee grounds mixture? – avocado1 Feb 6 '17 at 22:23
  • The eggs stay suspended in the coffee so you end up with high protein coffee! Actually I think it also mellows the taste because the coffee isn't harsh at all, which I would normally expect with such a crude method and from using boiling water. – PJNoes Feb 7 '17 at 14:28
  • Were I live. Water can vary well to well. Egg shell is said to smooth the taste of some water. As for eggs in the coffee. Same reason as cooking hard boiled egg with the rice. Many families only have a 1 burner stove. Or 1 pot stove for cooking. So to fix hard boiled eggs with there coffee. To save the use of gas or wood. Also it is a lot of work to go to the pump pump water & haul it into the house. The photo looks like a way to poach eggs in coffee. Save having to use as much wood or gas to cook. As much water to pump & haul in. Women in the S Pacific are very lazy. Try to avoid work. – J Bergen Sep 30 '17 at 15:48
2

It's an old cowboy campfire recipe. The egg helps to absorb the grounds to keep them out of your cup, but it also helps to neutralize the acidity of the coffee. I can't tell you where it originated, but I know that's how my German grandmother used to make it. It does make the coffee a lot smoother.

2

I am familiar with the use of eggshell only. The reason is for the benefit of calcium carbonate as has been mentioned before. It takes the bitter edge off coffee brewed using methods which do not provide proper extraction i.e. poor quality drip machines. The lack of proper extraction can make the coffee bitter or sour tasting. The egg shell removes those unpleasant flavors....

  • +1 I'm familiar with it (shells only) as a camping/cowboy technique, with some "coagulating the grounds" help as well from the white that clings to the shells - not with wasting entire eggs on that job. Fried eggs and coffee... – Ecnerwal Feb 10 '17 at 3:25
0

Egg shell boiled in the bottom of the pot reduces the acid in water used. This would be well water or stream water.

0

Pretty sure it originated in the old West. Chester makes reference to putting eggs in the coffee he brews for the sheriff's office in the TV show Gunsmoke. That show ran for 20 years beginning, I believe, in the late 50's. I would think the writers incorporated the use of eggs in the coffee because the concept was used by cowboys on the prairie. It made cheap coffee taste better and provided a way to separate out the coffee grinds.

-1

No It originated from people who boiled egges in the shell in water. Then used that hot water to brew coffee

  • 2
    Interesting. Do you have evidence for this? (Anecdotal or written) – Mayo Jun 29 '17 at 13:03

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