Last fall, I made a poor attempt at making Swedish Egg Coffee. I had no idea what I was doing, and I ended up making something that looked like dead birds in an oil spill. I did a lot of research and figured out the error of my ways. In short,
I. Was. Wrong.
There. That’s the last time you’ll ever hear me say that.
Anyway, here is the RIGHT way to make Swedish Egg Coffee, and you’ll thank me for it. Trust me.
Swedish egg coffee is one of my favorite brewing methods. It makes an extra-mellow, non-bitter cup of coffee and can be scaled up to brew huge amounts of coffee for huge amounts of people. It’s a fantastic way to tantalize kids and adults at Scout camp, which I did last fall, and it’s a great way to make coffee for people who don’t like bitter coffee. It’s a strong flavor for those who like strong coffee, but not so strong that you need milk to tone it down.
According to legend, Swedish Egg Coffee was an immigrant recipe developed “on the boat” from Sweden to America back in the late 1800’s. Coffee filters didn’t exist like they do today, so your option for coffee was percolator coffee, which is bitter and acidic and generally pretty awful. Definitely not appropriate fare for us culinarily timid Scandinavians. Enter egg coffee.
It’s wicked easy. In fact, it’s probably the easiest coffee I’ve ever made. You can make it on a stove, you can make it on a fire. You can make it in a teapot or in a cup or in a coffee can. I’ve used a percolator pot, but today I used The Patient Wife’s nice nonstick Rachael Ray Saucepan.
To make egg coffee, you’ll need the following:
1 tablespoon Coarse Ground Coffee for each cup of coffee you’d like to make
1 cup of water for each cup of coffee you’d like to make
1 cup of icy cold water
1 wooden stir thingy
Paper towel for when you spill
A friggin coffee mug
1. Boil your water
You won’t get anything if you don’t boil your water. Put the pot on the stove and boil the water.
2. Assemble your ingredients
While your water is boiling, assemble your ingredients. Our eggs come from Sunshine Harvest Farm in Webster, Minnesota. They didn’t pay me to say that, they just kick butt and they have organic, free-range eggs. Buy your eggs from them.
3. Break your egg
Break your egg into your cup. Crumble up the shell and put that in there too. Trust me. There’s a lot of controversy over whether or not you should put your shells in, but us Norwegians make it with the shell and all. Those lousy Swedes may waste, but my people are FAR too practical for such nonsense. Also, the calcium carbonate in the shell neutralizes the acid extracted from the coffee.
3. Mix your coffee and egg and 2 tbs of cold water
Mix all the coffee and the egg together. You’ll know when it’s mixed. It’ll be like sandy mud.
4. Dump it all into the pot
Dump it in and stir. You have to be vigilant here. Your water should be at a rolling boil, but if you dump your mix in there and aren’t careful it’ll boil over in a heartbeat.
Let it boil/simmer for a solid 5 minutes.
5. Add the cold water
After the five minutes are up, remove the pot from heat and add your cold water. This part is crucial because the cold water makes the clumps of coffee sink to the bottom. If your water isn’t cold enough, it flat out won’t work and your clumps won’t sink.
Also, be careful, because while spilled coffee is mildly irritating to clean up, spilled egg chunks hitting your red hot burner SUCK to clean up. Mop up your spills or my wife is going to kill me.
One of the reasons that egg coffee tastes so good is that since we don’t use a paper filter, all of the essential oils in the coffee beans make it into the drink. You can even see them in the picture.
More oils = better coffee.
Not only does the egg solidify around most of the grounds, but as I said before, the shell contains calcium carbonate which neutralizes the acid in the coffee. Additionally, several enzymes in the egg neutralize most of the bitterness so you get a REALLY mellow cup of coffee. Most people who drink cream in their coffee don’t need to with egg coffee.
It’s an old immigrant trick and a lot of the Minnesota Lutheran churches still make it. As far as smooth, mellow coffee goes, it’s about as good as it gets.
If you make some, let me know how it turns out!