Eggs and coffee in the morning are a breakfast classic, but you might be surprised to learn that some people swear by putting eggs in their coffee when they want their morning buzz. A recent post by How Stuff Works explains how to make two types of eggy java, and if, like me, you’re imagining a stomach-curdling mixture of scrambled eggs and bitter coffee, take heart: These caffeinated concoctions actually look pretty tasty!
Vietnam is home to cà phê trứng (also known as Vietnamese egg coffee), a drink that includes coffee, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and sugar. A bit like coffee combined with custard, Vietnamese egg coffee has a thick, creamy texture and a flavor that a how-to video by MokaBees describes as similar to “liquid Tiramisu” (so, YES, give that to me, right now, please). Making cà phê trứng looks fairly simple: You pour a whipped mixture of egg yolks, condensed milk, vanilla, and sugar over a cup freshly brewed hot Vietnamese coffee. After waiting thirty seconds or so, you top up the mixture with a bit more coffee and gently stir the whole thing together. Et voila! You have what looks suspiciously like dessert in a cup:
This video will show you how to make it:
Scandinavians drink a lot of coffee, and they have their own version of egg coffee: Norske egg kaffe. Unlike the Vietnamese version, Norwegian egg coffee doesn’t actually have egg in it (or at least it shouldn’t if you make it correctly!). Instead, this type of coffee uses the egg as a filtering mechanism. You make it by first creating a paste of coffee grounds, egg, and a little cold water. You add the eggy-coffee paste to boiling water and let it simmer for a few minutes before adding cold water to the mix. To serve the coffee, you use a ladle or strainer. The idea behind this method is that the egg will bind to the coffee grounds and create clumps that will at first float on the surface of the liquid. According to How Stuff Works, egg whites are “a natural protein fining agent,” meaning that they help separate organic compounds from the rest of the coffee. Eventually the clumps (called “floc”) sink to the bottom of the pot, filtering out sediments on its way down. Like so:
Lovers of this method believe that the egg-filtration process makes the coffee less bitter than usual.
Egg is far from the only unusual ingredient that people add to their coffee. Read on for 5 ideas for how to make your morning Joe more adventurous:
1. Kaffeost — Coffee with cheese!
Kaffeost is made with Leipäjuusto, or Finnish squeaky cheese. The cheese is firm and chewy (or squeaky) in texture. You can make Kaffeost (which appears to be a Swedish invention) by adding cubes of the cheese to coffee.
2. Condensed milk.
Vietnamese egg coffee uses condensed milk, but, if you want to forgo the egg, you can simply add condensed milk to your coffee for some sweet, milky goodness. Sweetened condensed milk is nearly ubiquitous in coffee (hot or iced) in Vietnam, used to offset the bitterness of the country’s famously strong coffee.
The last couple of years have seen the birth of the butter coffee craze. Also known as “Bulletproof Coffee,” butter coffee is basically what it sounds like: Coffee blended with a couple tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed butter and MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil. Devotees of butter coffee claim that the drink, consumed as breakfast in the morning, can improve brainpower, increase energy, help weight loss, and prevent caffeine crashes. Others have argued that Bulletproof Coffee is simply a diet fad, and that the drink’s very high fat content (even if they are “good fats”) isn't part of a sustainable diet.
4. Coconut oil.
As you’ve probably heard by now, coconut oil is a magical panacea that heals all ills. The idea behind putting coconut oil in coffee is similar to that behind butter coffee — that coconut oil’s medium chain fatty acids (similar to what you’ll find in MCT oil) will increase energy, boost immunity, and improve overall health.
The usual salves to overly bitter coffee are milk or sugar, but some coffee lovers add a pinch of salt to their coffee to prevent bitterness, either to the grounds before brewing or to the brewed coffee itself. Serious Eats tried out the salted-coffee trick, and found that, although salt wasn’t a miracle cure for bad coffee, the “flavors of an acidic and lively coffee did smooth and even out with a pinch of salt in the grounds.” They were also surprised to find that adding a bit of salt didn’t actually make the coffee taste salty.
Images: YouTube (3); Karyn Christner/Flickr