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Putting an Egg in Coffee (Eggspresso)

January 28, 2010

The Smithsonian’s Food & Think blog has just posted about coffee, and putting weird things in it. They gave a much-appreciated shout-out to this here blog, and also gave me lots of ideas for delicious coffee additions.

The long tradition of putting egg in coffee caught my attention. John Steinbeck once wrote: “I cracked an egg and cupped out the yolk and dropped white and shells into the pot, for I know nothing that polishes coffee and makes it shine like that.” Me, I’ve learned a few things in my time, for example: 1) Don’t argue with John Steinbeck; and 2) Shiny things kick ass.

lol! jk!

I crumbled the shell by hand and just dropped it right in there.

Then put the rest of the egg in the mug to await its caffeine infusion. I know I know, Steinbeck recommended just the white, but it’s not like I’m on a freakin’ diet.

The brewed coffee didn’t look any more shiny than usual, but it had yet to meet the rest of the egg.

I saw a few floaty chunks as I was pouring, but I was surprised by how well the majority of the egg blended smoothly with the coffee.

Of course, when you dig for them, the chunks are still there.

The taste is actually quite good. Honestly the egg doesn’t affect the flavour much (or the shine), but it does have a slightly thicker texture that is quite nice. I barely needed to add cream or sugar. The aftertaste seems to linger longer than regular coffee. As if the flavour is glued to the roof of my mouth for a few minutes rather than washing away like regular drinks.

As usual, the only real problem comes at the bottom of the cup. I’ve used the “warm snot” analogy before, but, well, it’s even more appropriate here.

I think, what the world needs now, is love swe coffee mugs that, somehow, have bottoms that can be cut off from the rest of the coffee and removed after a few minutes. Sure, I could put it through a filter, but I think that would mess with the flavour. This invention is, um, copyright and patent pending and stuff.

In the interest of science I also tried the egg shell brewed coffee on its own. It may have had a less-bitter, more-chalky flavour, but it’s subtle at best.

Until next time, coffee lovers. It was eggsellent to see you.

Disclosure: I got paid for one of the links in this post. Yay money.

56 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 7:38 pm

    Ok… about the strangest thing I’ve ever dared put in coffee is a pinch of salt on top of the dry grounds before brewing.

    • Elf permalink
      February 19, 2010 3:21 pm

      You put salt in so that you don’t get the hard water layer on top..

  2. January 28, 2010 7:44 pm

    When I saw the title, I was thinking of egg-drop soup; that is, whip an egg into a piping-hot cuppa joe. The act of whipping increases surface area enough that the egg will cook. At least, it does in soup. Maybe that’s might be a “good” variation?

  3. mel permalink
    January 28, 2010 8:30 pm

    Perhaps just the white adds the body & texture without adding the snot-like remnants that dwell at the bottom of the cup?

  4. January 28, 2010 8:51 pm


    Twitch: Whipping as I mix them probably would change the texture. Not sure if I’d want it more cooked or less cooked, though. Having even more solid chunks would be… interesting, at least.

    Mel: Possibly. I’ll have to try all these variations someday.

  5. January 29, 2010 7:05 am

    Re: the sludge/grit problem: Have you tried using a French Press? It probably wouldn’t help with more viscous sludge, but it should keep big particles and semi-solid junk out of your brew.

  6. Muir permalink
    January 29, 2010 8:03 am

    You are flirting with a bona fide culinary thickening process with the egg. Relatively obscure how to do it correctly. Here it is! You will in effect create ‘thick’ coffee with a creamy sauce-like consistency and if you follow this technique it will have no lumps! Before adding the egg, whisk the egg thoroughly. Beat it well with a fork if you don’t have a whisk. The secret is adding the egg at not too hot a temperature while still being hot enough to cook the egg and cause the thickening magic. About 185-190 degress (off boil for a couple of minutes) should do the trick. Whisk a little of the hot coffee into the egg and then whisk the rest of the egg quickly into the coffee (you might find this easier yo do in a bowl). If it curdles, the coffee was too hot!. If it thickens like magic, turning creamy, you did it just right! Enjoy your ‘thick’ coffee. Feel free to add cream and sugar at the end!

  7. Cliff H permalink
    January 29, 2010 8:32 am

    You should try making Klava!

  8. January 29, 2010 2:30 pm

    just found your site thanks to metafilter. this is the first post i’ve read. and i LOL’d because my great aunts and uncles always did this with their coffee, though they put the egg on top of the grounds in a percolator-type coffee maker. that would keep the solids from infiltrating the rest of the brew. i think it’s a very scandinavian or perhaps just very european thing.
    can’t wait to explore the rest of your experiments!

  9. Kara permalink
    January 29, 2010 4:40 pm

    In the 1960’s my gramma used an egg in her coffee pot, but she used a percolator, not a drip coffee maker, just like BeccaJo mentions. She separated the yolk from the whites (kept the yolk to add to omlettes later, we neither knew nor cared about cholesterol, taste was king), whipped the white slightly with a fork, then dropped it and the slightly crushed shell into the basket of the percolator on top of the grounds (definitely not into the cup or the pot itself). In addition to the basket, the percolator had a strainer on the spout, so any gooey egg parts that did drip through the basket couldn’t pour into the cups.

    The whites must have done something to the “greasiness” you sometimes see in a cup of coffee, because when poured into her clear glass coffee mugs (very mid-century cool, I still have them), the coffee was crystal clear, too. I still have a percolator in the basement, I might try this, I had forgotten all about this technique. Thanks for the memories!

  10. Kara permalink
    January 29, 2010 4:41 pm

    Bwahahahaha, the avatar next to my name looks just like me! Same shape glasses, at least…. But I’m not frowning.

  11. Mad permalink
    January 29, 2010 11:40 pm

    Salt in with the grounds is delish… cuts the bitterness but leaves the strength.

    I found a recipe for egg-coffee.. it involved cooking the coffee in a kettle, adding the egg with the grounds and boiling it up. Sounds like theres just an execution error here (link: )

    Have you tried butter in your coffee? When i worked at “a popular chain store whose name i will refrain from mentioning” we had a regular often order pats of butter with her coffee. I tried it camping once, for lack of cream and it was definitely stanky, though probably better than your ‘blue cheese’ experiment.

    Another camping experiment with coffee that turned out DELIGHTFULLY was…. marshmallows!!! Again… found myself camping with no cream or sugar and a single packet of instant coffee…. equally delicious if you melt the marshmallow in, or if you dip it then roast it 😉

    For something truly delicious, try pouring a solo shot of espresso over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. One of my favoritest treats EVER.

    Another coffee related deliciousness:

    1 bite brownie
    1 shot of baileys (or two)
    2 shots of esspresso
    dash of milk or scoop of ice cream if you like it extra sweet
    some ice

    blend in your magic bullet… nice iced coffee drink especially good in summer.

    Anyway, great & interesting blog. Keep it up!!

  12. January 30, 2010 7:07 am

    That didn’t look as gross as I thought. I say, better then the salmon in coffee looked, perhaps not as good as the banana? Either way, better you then me to put that in your mouth.

  13. Veronica permalink
    January 30, 2010 4:02 pm

    Is it possible to slow-cook an egg in coffee? I mean, it’s hot, and of you don’t crack the egg it shouldn’t break. Finish you’re morning cup, eat breakfest. Try it!!

  14. January 30, 2010 10:09 pm

    i have a suggestion for u.go to the bathroom with the espresso coffee and shit inside coffee and drink it and tell us how it tastes ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!loooooollllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!get a life stupid freak…..

  15. Sara permalink
    January 31, 2010 6:20 pm

    blueberry pie! i’ve had thhat as a coffee flavor and its lovely. but would the actual pie give the same result?

  16. February 3, 2010 4:19 pm

    Maus: I do have a French press. I’ve been considering using it in these experiments, but I’m afraid of ruining it by clogging it with something nasty. I suppose I could always buy another one though. 🙂

    Muir: That sounds delicious! Thank you!

    Cliff H: That sounds delicious too! I’d never heard of Klava. Thanks!

    Beccajoe & Kara: Glad to know it’s not TOO unusual to mix eggs with coffee.

    Mad: Great suggestions. I regularly put marshmallows in my coffee, and I have tried butter before (wrote about it here: ). I’m craving that brownie/Bailey’s one right now. Mmm.

    Hey Lady! It definitely could’ve been worse. This could be a really great treat with a little more refinement.

    Veronica: Hehe, that’d certainly save some time wouldn’t it? I dunno if the coffee would stay hot enough to cook the egg all the way through. Maybe if we put it right in the coffee pot for a while.


    Sara: Perhaps it would! We shall see. 🙂

  17. February 4, 2010 1:27 am

    From a cookbook called “A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband” circa 1917

  18. February 4, 2010 1:36 pm

    You can get egg coffee at the Minnesota State Fair.
    It goes well with the deep fried Spam curds. gack

  19. February 7, 2010 6:00 pm

    I wonder if the egg white was used as a fining agent. It says egg white in pot (rather than in cup). People who make stock use egg white and shells to get the clear stock.

    If that’s the case, your whole egg didn’t work.

    Perhaps try the egg drop soup method to avoid the glug at the bottom?

    Suggestion: Try Coffee with vanilla ice-cream (look up affogato)

  20. February 8, 2010 9:52 am

    Years ago in the movie “Dead Man Don’t Wear Plaid” there is a funny scene of Steve Martin making coffee in a pot and he added an egg into the grounds and crushed it shell and all and pour hot water over it. I assume he was going to strain the coffee, but the scene ended before he could.
    I thought it was a big joke, but it turns out that it is a scandinavian recipe. There seem to be a lot of variations of it, and I have never tried it frankly, but now I am going to give this a shot.
    Thanks for all the info everyone.

  21. Dave permalink
    February 15, 2010 11:13 pm

    One word: Salmonella? OK, two words: Uncooked eggs?

    • Stefan Lahti permalink
      July 28, 2011 7:10 am

      Yes, this is very much an American problem due to factory farms and extremely poor choices in livestock management. American eggs are also a VERY odd color of yolk compared to what most of Europe has. Too pale and yellow instead of a rich golden/orange color. I think perhaps beta-carotene from good and natural feed and seeds for the chickens. Anyway, if you are concerned about salmonella (with good reason perhaps!), you can wash the egg THOROUGHLY in quite hot water and SOAP. It will kill off any bacteria and not begin to cook the egg. When I make bread and have not set eggs out to reach room temperature, I soak my cold eggs for 10 minutes or so in VERY hot tap water and they never precook in the least. 🙂

  22. Brothajohn permalink
    February 16, 2010 12:34 am

    Three words: Mostly in America. No offense Dave, but I live in Japan and we don’t have the salmonella problem. We put raw eggs and semi-cooked eggs in many dishes (Sukiyaki is awesome!) besides, the temperature of the almost boiling water should be hot enough to take care of any bacteria.

  23. February 16, 2010 3:21 pm

    One word: Rocky.

    Rocky never got salmonella.


  24. Anonymous permalink
    February 18, 2010 9:26 pm


  25. Xenocryst permalink
    March 26, 2010 11:04 pm

    Some Ethiopians put butter and salt in their coffee. The butter HAS to be fresh and made from GOOD milk..(know anyone with a grass fed cow?)…the butter adds a wonderful flavor and mouth feel to the coffee…salt (just a bit) enhances the butter in the coffee….DO NOT MAKE SALTY COFFEE…that tends to a bit off putting..

  26. March 29, 2010 4:49 pm

    Oh Xenocryst, I wish I listened to you before I did this:


  27. Lorella permalink
    April 6, 2010 10:12 pm

    Hey Phronk, I just came across this, lol.

    When I was little, my mom used to make us egg milk shakes, and they were amazing. Of course, as a kid, I had no idea what she put in it, nor did I care.

    Warm milk, beat one egg, one shot of espresso and some sugar. She actually had a “milk shake, shaker?” Anyway, it came out extra thick and creamy. It was soo good.

    Kind of, like breyer’s all natural vanilla icecream.


  28. jamie permalink
    July 18, 2010 2:41 am

    cowboys would put egg whites in the pot to coagulate and catch all of the grounds. it was simply a way to collect all of the coffee grounds that made it into the pot.

  29. October 21, 2010 4:34 am

    this will surely ‘perk up’ your morning.

  30. Anonymous permalink
    October 10, 2011 2:11 pm

    You are not supposed to put the egg in your cup. It goes in with the grinds and shell. =)

  31. thebest permalink
    November 6, 2011 11:40 pm

    learn to spell

  32. December 27, 2011 12:08 pm

    This is called BOILED COFFEE from a cookbook 1951 vintage. 1/2 cup coffee (regular grind). 1 egg OR 3 egg shells, 1 cup cold water, 6 cups freshly boiling water, a few grains of salt. – Heat coffeepot by rinsing with boiling water. Wash the egg, break and beat slightly. Dilute with half the cold water, add CRUSHED shell, and mix with coffee. Add salt. Turn into coffeepot, pour on freshly boiling water, and stir throughly. Stuff spout of pot with soft paper to prevent escape of fragrant aroma. Set over direct heat, bring slowly to a boiling point and simmer for 3 minutes. Add remaining COLD water, which aids in clearing. Set coffeepot in pan of hot water and place over a very low heat to steep and keep hot without boiling. You will NOT need a stainer to pour crystal clear coffee, since the egg and the coffee grounds combine and stay in the bottom of the pot.

    • Anonymous permalink
      December 28, 2011 8:21 am

      That sounds great. I’m going to give a whirl tomorrow.

  33. January 21, 2013 11:15 am

    The origins of putting an egg in coffee and doing the way Steinbeck did are from back in the days of loose grounds boiled in water in a coffee pot. No perculator, no drip coffee, just cowboy coffee. The purpose of the egg and shells was to keep the grounds at the bottom of the pot. It works surprisingly well. It is not for extra flavor or so you can cook and eat an egg at the same time.

  34. August 8, 2013 5:02 pm

    Steinbeck brought me here. Thanks !

  35. Rain permalink
    January 29, 2014 6:23 pm

    I accidently poured eggs whites into the latte I just made instead of half & half. Both products came in packaging that looked a lot a like! I didn’t want to throw away my home made latte so I took a taste…it’s delicious! The latte is thick and creamy! I looked online to see if I was the first person to have done this, lol!

  36. March 20, 2014 4:59 am

    For some reason this really seems like something people would legitimately consume in Southeast Asia (sort of akin to eating ice cream on bread). I googled to try to confirm…but this page was the top hit. :/

  37. Kim permalink
    July 17, 2014 11:04 am

    I use liquid egg whites that are in the cartons and 6 tbls = 2 eggs I put in my 24 oz travel mug of coffee with milk and sugar off to work I drink it, I dont taste them, it thickens the coffee just a tad and I get the protein from the egg whites since Im not a breakfast person this was an alternative recommended by a personal trainer.

  38. November 15, 2014 12:31 pm

    Okay, I’ve arrived to this coffee klatch a bit late, but…
    as a kid, I owned and loved the book, ‘Nightbirds On Nantucket’ by Joan Aiken. The two little girl heroines, having been forced to live with a wicked, old, imposter ‘Auntie’, are ordered to make her a very specific, large breakfast, ending with: “…and don’t forget to clear the coffee with eggshells!” Pondering that was what inspired me to google ‘clearing coffee with eggshells’ — there are a surprising number of posts. This is certainly the most illustrative : )
    The ‘Auntie’ turned out to be one of a gang of English (London) criminals, btw, circa 18th century.

  39. Diego permalink
    November 18, 2014 5:55 pm

    Last Friday for breakfast, I tried a slightly different eggspreso and I fell in love with it!

    My receipt:
    1 slightly beaten egg (that means no bits at the bottom of the mug)
    2 Italian style espresso
    1 tea spoon of maple syrup
    1/3 of cup of unsweetened almond milk.


  40. Thunder permalink
    September 29, 2015 7:53 am

    My mom made this for me every morning as a kid; what you should do to avoid the “snot” , is to beat the egg while adding two table spoons of sugar first; until its texture is smooth ; then pour the hot coffee in and add hot milk! It’s the best!

  41. May 26, 2016 11:55 am

    Well I just made scrambled eggs in my coffee! I got a small freezer bag, put 2 eggs and some sliced onions inside, smashed the yolks a bit and zipped it up. I placed this bag in my coffee pot with the zipper edge over the lip of my pot and ran a normal pot of coffee. After I drank my first cup I pulled the bag out (about 10 minutes) and ate perfect scrambled eggs!!! This works incredibly well in a percolator if you are ever camping. You can cook lots of bags at the same time! Everyone gets their own custom mix and they stay hot til you’re ready to eat them. Plus no cleanup!
    I even placed an un-cracked egg with the grinds of my large percolator and 11 minutes later I had a hard boiled egg. Why bother with pots and pans…

  42. Alej permalink
    June 13, 2017 8:13 am

    The comment by Kara is very good, and describes what Steinbeck wrote about in his “Travels with Charley”.
    yo do not eat the egg white (nor the shell either), you just use it to clarify the coffee.
    You did something completely different from Steinbeck by eating the whites, eating the yolk, and leaving the shells away.

  43. Chris S. permalink
    November 7, 2017 1:55 am

    I came to this thread by way of the Ink Spots’ “Java Jive,” which calls for “a slice of (sliced up?) onion and a rawwww one.” One sensible translation of “raw one” is “raw egg.” Haven’t found any references to the onion, although one writer suggested it might just be 1930s slang for a really strong cup of coffee. Any thoughts?

  44. March 1, 2020 4:53 pm

    I saw on a “I love Lucy” episode that she dropped an egg and the shell in a coffee pot. She let it brew on stove that way. She said my Grandmother was Swedish.


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