Legend has it, this unique way of brewing coffee originated on route from Sweden to America in the late 1800s. It has become a long tradition in Lutheran church gatherings of Scandinavian-Americans in the Midwest (it has actually been dubbed "Church Basement Coffee" for the large quantity it usually makes). Before boiling the coffee, a raw egg is added to the grounds, creating a potting soil-like mixture. Some diehard egg coffee lovers use the crushed eggshell as well, but it works fine to leave this out.
The science behind adding the egg is that it clarifies the coffee, allowing the grounds to easily separate from the water. The egg white helps extract the bitterness from the grounds (while enhancing the caffeine!). The result is a light, clear brew with absolutely no bitterness or acidity and a velvet-like texture that simply glides through your mouth.
You can use a saucepan or coffee pot for this recipe. You'll notice after a few minutes of boiling that the grounds will clump together and float to the top—this action is why the coffee has such a mild taste. Adding the cold water creates a "French press" effect, causing the mass of grounds to sink to the bottom of the pot.
- 9 1/4 cups water, divided
- 3/4 cup freshly ground coffee (medium to coarse grind)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup cold water
- Bring 9 cups of water to a rapid boil in a saucepan or enamel coffee pot.
- Meanwhile, stir together ground coffee, remaining 1/4 cup water, and egg in a small bowl or measuring cup.
- When water is boiling, carefully pour in the egg-coffee mixture, turning down the heat if necessary to prevent it from boiling over. Boil for 3 minutes. (You’ll see that the coffee grounds will gradually bind together into a single mass that floats at the top of the pot.)
- Immediately remove the pot from heat and pour in 1 cup cold water. Let the coffee sit for 10 minutes; the “lump” of grounds will settle to the bottom of the pot.
- Pour through a fine-meshed sieve or strainer into cups and serve. The flavor of the coffee grows stronger, without becoming bitter, the longer that it simmers.