July 8, 2008

Old Fashioned Coffee Flavoring

Category: Feasting :: Permalink

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I like breves, coffee made with cream.  Sometimes, I’ll add sugar to coffee, and I do enjoy the occasional bit of hazelnut or vanilla.

How mild these additions seem in comparison to the way coffee was served in the past, say in eighteenth century England:

The “bitter black drink,” as Pepys used to call coffee, was made in various ways, all equally peculiar.  Usually served black, it was boiled with egg shells, and sometimes mixed with mustard or sugar candy.  Some concoctions included “oatmeal, a pint of ale or any wine, ginger, honey or sugar to please the taste . . . butter might be added and any cordial powder or pleasant spice.” — Claudia Roden, Coffee: A Connoisseur’s Companion, p. 29.

Posted by John Barach @ 2:33 pm | Discuss (1)

One Response to “Old Fashioned Coffee Flavoring”

  1. RevJATB Says:

    From what I’ve been told, the eggshells are to absorb some of the oils when making coffee in a pan on the stove or over a fire (“cowboy coffee”). Can’t tell you what the mustard might’ve been for, except perhaps as an emetic?

    I guess boiling it with hard candy isn’t much different from the different kinds of syrups people use to flavor their coffee nowadays.

    Butter? Oatmeal? I guess you could just make it a complete meal in a cup: the original Instant Breakfast.

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