Traditional Swedish Egg Coffee

A measuring cup in a pile of coffee grounds

Steven Brisson Photography / Getty Images

  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
8 Calories
1g Fat
0g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 8
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 1g
Calcium 28mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

According to legend, this unique way of brewing coffee originated en route from Sweden to America in the late 1800s. It has become a long tradition for Lutheran church gatherings of Scandinavian-Americans in the Midwest, dubbed "church basement coffee" for the large quantity it usually makes. Before brewing 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's optional.

Adding the egg helps clarify the coffee, allowing the grounds to separate from the water easily. The egg white extracts the bitterness from the grounds, as well as enhancing the caffeine. The result is a light, clear brew with absolutely no bitterness or acidity and a velvety texture that's easy to drink.

You can use a saucepan or coffee pot for this recipe. You'll notice that after a few minutes of boiling, the grounds will clump together and float to the top. This 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. 

Ingredients

  • 9 1/4 cups water, divided
  • 3/4 cup freshly ground coffee (medium to coarse grind)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of cold water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Bring 9 cups of water to a rapid boil in a saucepan or enamel coffee pot.

  3. While waiting for water to boil, stir together the ground coffee, remaining 1/4 cup water, and egg in a small bowl or measuring cup.

  4. When the water is boiling, carefully pour in the egg and coffee mixture, turning down the heat if necessary to prevent it from boiling over. Boil for 3 minutes.

  5. The coffee grounds gradually bind together into a single mass that floats at the top of the pot. Immediately remove the pot from heat.

  6. Pour in 1 cup cold water and let the coffee sit for 10 minutes.

  7. Once the grounds have settled to the bottom of the pot, pour the coffee through a fine-meshed sieve or strainer into cups and serve. The longer that it simmers, the flavor grows stronger without becoming bitter.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.

Tip

  • The longer you let the coffee simmers, the stronger the flavor grows without becoming bitter.