Scandinavian Egg Coffee: Is it Really a Thing?
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Scandinavian Egg Coffee: Is it Really a Thing?

Scandinavian egg coffee is more or less unknown in Sweden, Norway & Denmark. But what is it? And why do people talk about it?

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Asser Christensen

Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism

The Nordic countries are known for their high-quality food and coffee. This has led to the creation of some unique coffee traditions.

One of these is known as “Scandinavian egg coffee.”

This raises some questions:

  • What is it exactly?
  • Does it even taste good?
  • And why do the Scandinavians drink their coffee with eggs? Is it just a myth? 🤷‍♂️

In this article, we’ll answer all those questions and more.

➡️  Jump directly to the recipe here

egg coffee in a cup
It sounds disgusting. But how does it really taste?

The History of Egg Coffee

Egg coffee has its roots in Sweden or Norway. It’s hard to say precisely when it became a widespread brewing method, but sometime in the mid-1800s, when immigrants began to leave for new opportunities in the US, it must have been common.

It was devised initially to remove impurities from steeped coffee preparations.

People didn’t have fancy coffee machines and filters back then, so they used eggshells and other protein-rich things to filter their coffee.

Swedish immigrants brought the tradition to America. Eventually, many settled in the Midwest, more specifically in Minnesota. The coffee is still prepared this way today at many church-related events.

In contrast to what you might think, egg coffee is virtually unknown in Scandinavia today.

How do I know this?

Well, I’m from Denmark and have never heard of or seen anybody drink this beverage 🙅

When researching for this article, I even asked some of my friends from Norway and Sweden, and they said the same thing: Egg coffee is not a thing.

Scandinavia as the Birthplace of Egg Coffee?

Puzzled about this phenomenon, I did look in some old books about Danish coffee history, and it turned out that it was common to use weird substances to filter coffee back in the days. For instance, the swim blatter from fish has also been used for essentially the same purpose as the eggs.

In Norway, where steeped coffee/cowboy coffee is a lot more common than in Denmark, there’s even still a word for fish skin filtered coffee: “Klareskinn” – essentially meaning “clearing skin.” This indicates that this tradition has continued for longer up north.

Good thing that the Scandinavian settlers in the midwest chose eggs instead of fish skin! Otherwise, we’d have a lot of websites writing articles about “Scandinavian fish coffee” today!

My Experience with Egg Coffee

Personally, I have never felt the urge to drink egg coffee.

I like eggs, but it never seemed like a good idea to mix them with coffee. 

But I care about my readers, so I thought I might as well sacrifice my tastebuds, so you don’t have to do it. 

So I found a few recipes online and made my approximate version that would fit well with a slightly finer grind size and more modern roast profile. 

I cracked an egg, whisked it, added it to the coffee grounds, and dumped the whole batter into the simmering water. 

The resulting liquid didn’t look delicious, but it did seem like the egg molecules were pretty efficient in soaking up a lot of coffee grounds. 

swedish egg coffee collage
Mix the egg, including yolk, with ground coffee.

However, you still need a pretty fine-meshed colander (or paper filter) if you want to drink completely silt free coffee. I poured slowly and used a fork to keep any big lumps down in the pot. 

There were some small coffee/egg mixture bits in my final drink, but the good thing was that they stayed in the bottom. 

So ancient folk wisdom was right about that one. 

What about the taste? Well, it wasn’t bad. There was a hint of egg aftertaste, but it wasn’t that much. 

The beverage itself also looked a bit more oily than usual. It was like some tiny suspended oil particles were floating on top of the coffee. Of course, this can also occur with the French press, but it felt like there was more here. 

Would I drink it again? 

I can flat out say that I wouldn’t. Even though the egg taste wasn’t prominent, I could still taste it. 

Also, I don’t think the filtration benefits are that massive. A carefully poured cowboy coffee isn’t vastly different from this. And you don’t have to mess around with eggs to prepare that beverage.

The verdict 

Egg coffee might have been all the rage when immigrants arrived in the Midwest in the 1800s, but nowadays, it’s just a bizarre relic. There’s a reason that people in Scandinavia don’t use this method anymore. 

In general, I’m not a big fan of adding things to coffee, but if you do, at least it should make the coffee taste good. 

Egg coffee doesn’t do that, and it just seems antiquated as a filtration method today. 

swedish egg coffee collage 2
Add the batter to simmering water

Egg Coffee Recipe

In my humble opinion, egg coffee should only be prepared for educational/scientific purposes. But in case you’re curious, then this is the recipe I used for my experiment.

  • Measure out 66 grams of coffee medium-fine coffee. Bring 800 ml of water to a boil. (You can scale the recipe up or down as needed).
  • Crack a raw egg into a cup mix it with your ground coffee beans with a fork. Include the eggshell, and break it up slightly with a fork.
  • Add the batter to the pot of hot water, and let it simmer on the stove for 5 minutes at low heat. 
  • As the egg cooks, it sticks to impurities in the grounds, which get removed from the liquid you pour out and drink.
  • After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and pour in 200 ml of cold water. That will help the egg cling to coffee. 
  • Use a sieve or colander to filter the coffee. Pour into mugs or a separate carafe. 
  • Your Scandinavian egg coffee is ready to be served! You can add sugar or milk if you like.

FAQ

What is Scandinavian boiled coffee?

Scandinavian boiled coffee is a type of coffee beverage that originated in Scandinavia. This type of coffee is made by boiling ground coffee beans with eggs, including the shell.

What do Scandinavians put in their coffee?

Contrary to common belief, eggs are never added to the coffee in Scandinavia. Coffee in the Nordic countries is usually made on a drip coffee machine. It’s typically served with milk or cream and sugar or just enjoyed black.

Why would you put eggshells in coffee?

Eggs and eggshells can help to filter impurities. The technique was used back in the 1800s and is still used in some places in the Midwest today.

How is the coffee culture in Sweden 

Sweden has a long-established “Fika” culture promoting relaxed social interaction over coffee and cake with friends and family. A fika can occur at any point during the day but usually happens from lunch until the afternoon. It involves meeting up with friends, work colleagues, or family members for a coffee accompanied by cinnamon/cardamom buns.
In Sweden, coffee is a part of everyday life consumed in large quantities. As a result, Swedes drink more coffee per capita than almost all other countries in the world!

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Asser Christensen

Hello, and welcome! I'm the editor & founder of this site.
I have been a coffee geek since I started home roasting more than a decade ago. Since then, coffee has taken me on countless adventures: From ancient coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia to the volcanos of Sumatra.
My background is in journalism, and today I'm also a licensed Q Grader under the Coffee Quality Institute.