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CHEESE WEEK DAY 3: Cheddar Coffee

June 17, 2010

Sue writes:

I stumbled on your blog, and wanted to tell you about a tradition in my family. I’m from rural eastern North Car0lina, and my family has been having “cheese in coffee” as a treat as long as I can remember. It should be hoop cheese, or “rat” cheese — a medium cheddar that is NEVER refrigerated, and has either a red or black rind. Cut the cheese into large-ish chunks, pour very strong, very hot, very fresh coffee over it in a big, deep cup. Let it steep while you toast two pieces of bread. Once the bread is toasted, fish the cheese out in wonderfully warm, soft globs and eat them off the toasted bread. Then you dump out the coffee — it’s done its part by melting and flavoring the cheese.

Well I didn’t have any rat cheese around, but I did have some regular cheddar that’s about to go moldy.

I should’ve cut off a bigger chunk, because half of it seemed to go missing after mingling with the coffee. I only managed to scoop out a little smear to put on my bread.

It tastes great on the bread. The coffee added just a bit beyond melting cheese directly on bread, and it wasn’t as soggy as I feared it may be.

Of course I didn’t waste good coffee by harvesting its goo and tossing it aside like a cheap male escort. It had taken on an aesthetically pleasing bubbled look. HEY I DIDN’T THINK THIS WAS SWISS CHEESE LOL.

At first it was fine. I didn’t notice much difference in taste except for a bit of oiliness. But then that missing cheese came back, in the form of fuzzy bits gradually appearing in the coffee.

The weird part was, even when the coffee had been sitting perfectly still for a few minutes, the fuzzy bits danced and swayed in the coffee’s convection current. It was actually quite lovely.

Here, I’ll show you. I present the very first PWTIC movie. Please hold your applause until after the film has concluded.

But while it was lovely to look at, I was less inclined to continue putting self-locomotive fuzzy things into my mouth.

Stay tuned for CHEESE WEEK’s exciting conclusion.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    June 18, 2010 7:32 pm

    It’s strangely soothing…

  2. June 22, 2010 11:07 pm

    if you put cream in your coffee that has gone off, it does that same rolling thing – very soothing to watch but tastes terrible.

  3. June 27, 2010 4:24 am

    I considered myself a coffe expert and have never heard of people putting cheese in coffee. Outstanding! I will have to explore this further…:)

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 13, 2010 6:16 pm

      I’ve done this my whole life. A tradition my grandparents have nurtured. We use a spanish chz equivalent to a mild cheddar, any chz w/ that texture or firmer is good. I like a sharp cheddar or firm Edam or Gouda. I suggest fixing your coffee to your liking, then add cubes of chz while its piping hot. Let it sit for a minute and you can enjoy the coffee and the chz with crackers or bread w/ butter…

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 13, 2010 6:16 pm

      I’ve done this my whole life. A tradition my grandparents have nurtured. We use a spanish chz equivalent to a mild cheddar, any chz w/ that texture or firmer is good. I like a sharp cheddar or firm Edam or Gouda. I suggest fixing your coffee to your liking, then add cubes of chz while its piping hot. Let it sit for a minute and you can enjoy the coffee and the chz with crackers or bread w/ butter…

  4. Retroboy permalink
    July 15, 2010 7:33 am

    I am so glad that I have found others who have experienced this tradition. My father raised us on “cheese in the coffee”. He was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia. He used to tell us kids that this was done by both his mother and father when he was growing up. I am fifty years old now and must confess that the tradition was never one of my favorites. However, from time to time, I do get a craving for it. We always drank the coffee and just ate the melted cheese on the side. For dad, it was more to flavor his coffee than to flavor the cheese. He always used a medium cheddar. When I’m in the mood, I like a sharp cheddar myself.

    • Anonymous permalink
      October 15, 2011 2:12 pm

      My grandmother from the lower eastern shore of md. fixed this for me 60 some years ago. I have also heard it is a tradition on followed on Smith Island in the middle of the the chesapeake bay.

      • Anonymous permalink
        December 22, 2012 3:59 pm

        My Grandmother was from Northampton County, her family from Tangier. Cheese went in her coffee too !!!

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 13, 2013 8:22 pm

        Interesting. My grandfather, also from Tangier, used to put cheese in his coffee. I’m beginning to see a Tangier/Smith Island connection in this. I just tried it for the first time myself, with sharp cheddar. It was pretty good, but I think next time I will try it on toast.

      • Keith permalink
        December 19, 2021 10:11 pm

        My grandmother was from Bishop’s Head, south of Cambridge. We have carried on this tradition as part of our family’s Christmas breakfast. Our version uses Extra Sharp Cheddar only. It is the only one hard enough to not melt into a glop in the bottom of the mug. We break it into tablespoon sized chunks and pour hot coffee over it. After it sits for 3-4 minutes the chunks are softened but can still be lifted out on a fork. We put this on biscuits.

  5. July 16, 2010 8:56 pm

    now i’m hungry.

  6. Lana permalink
    August 22, 2010 5:51 pm

    I thought my sisters and I were the only people on earth who did this. Cheddar coffee is great, especially if it’s strong Puerto Rican coffee with steamed milk.

  7. January 12, 2011 10:00 am


    found your site after reading a recent “Basic Instructions” webcomic on cheese in coffee.

    Your site is strangely fascinating and curiously inventive. I like it!

    Keep up the weird work!

    • jeff c permalink
      January 13, 2011 12:22 pm

      I came here the same way, googling this madness after reading “Basic Instructions.”

    • January 14, 2011 2:37 am

      Haha, it’s incredible how many people have Googled their way here after that comic was posted. Thanks for the kind comments. Glad you found what you were looking for. 🙂

      • May 10, 2018 10:34 pm

        One more, after all these years! As for the video, it looks to me like a lava lamp of puke!

  8. Anonymous permalink
    June 25, 2012 9:34 pm

    My South Carolinian grandparents handed down a family tradition of sometimes putting cheddar cheese in their coffee and then eating the nicely melted cheese straight out of the cup with a spoon or placing the melted cheese on toast, usually a combination of both. It is very tasty every so often.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    November 5, 2012 7:41 am

    Ive heard about this shit but never tried it. My homeboys dipped they chese in my draws when we was on lockdown. We calld it butt cheese. Or my girlfren is real big.. not real big .. but hot big… ah shit who am i kiddin she fat as a hoppopotimus dawg. Anyway i would tell her to not clean out the rolls of love meat on her belly fir a couple weeks. What would happen was all the sweat and grease and lint would ferment up under there and we would harvest that every 4 to 6 weeks and sold it vabvfs “Fromunda Cheese

  10. Blair permalink
    March 13, 2013 4:51 pm

    My grandmother from gates county taught me that back in the sixties.

  11. aslowhite permalink
    January 6, 2015 12:51 pm

    Try it with a very sharp, crumbly cheddar. My gf’s grandmother used to drink it this way.

  12. Jackie permalink
    February 8, 2016 11:23 am

    I also do this, for as long as I remember. Try to put mozzarela…. yummy!

  13. Anonymous permalink
    November 22, 2016 2:50 am

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one from Eastern NC that grew up doing this. Delicious!

  14. December 22, 2016 12:09 pm

    my grandparents in north eastern new mexico did the same thing with commodity cheese

  15. April permalink
    December 26, 2017 10:21 am

    I googled cheese in coffee because my mom said my granddaddy used to do this. Funny, we are from rural eastern NC also! Wonder if it’s a regional thing (using cheddar anywayl)?

  16. Cia permalink
    September 8, 2019 7:41 pm

    My mother passed chz in coffee down to me. I love it .l tell everyone. My family, which were English, is from nenc still not met anyone who does this. Someone told me it was an English thing. Verry happy read )

  17. Jason Trull permalink
    November 2, 2020 10:35 am

    My family is from Southeast Georgia and I watched my Grandfather do this almost every morning since I was very young. There was always a wheel of hoop cheese on our diner table. He would make his coffee, sit at the head of the table and place several slices of hoop chees into his coffee. He would then stir it until it was melted and soft. He would then spoon it out to eat before drinking his coffee. I now live in rural Eastern North Carolina and do this sometimes. My kids think it is gross but maybe one day they will enjoy it and pass it on as I did.

  18. Shelley brenneman permalink
    December 29, 2020 5:53 pm

    I’ve been eating this since I was a kid. My father ate it since he was a kid and my grandmom ate it since she was a kid. It’s the best on a cold winter day.


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