Issue 2-8-15 Website - page 11

Mixing Coffee To The Consistency Of Mortar
I’ve never been much of a
coffee drinker, although my
mornings often begin with a
stop atMcDonald’s for a cup of
iced coffee – summer or winter.
Growing up, I remember my
father was just as happy to have
a cup of instant coffee, sincemy
mother never brewed coffee for
him. My mother-in-law, on the
otherhand,hadher trustyelectric
percolator, and made brewed
coffee for breakfast anddinner.
This past summer, I spent a
weekon theBig IslandofHawaii
and we visited the Kona Coffee
Living History Farm. Friends of
mine in themuseumbusinesshad
helped develop this historic site,
and itwasvery interesting to learn
about the production of coffee.
Thisparticular areawashome-
steaded in the early1900s and in
the 1920s, Japanese immigrants
arrived and began farming the
small coffee plantations. The
workwas long and tedious. The
beans had to be picked by hand
and then dried in drying sheds
before they could be sold by the
bag. But Kona coffee gained a
special reputationasahighqual-
ity, specialty coffee that today
raised in this particular place in
Hawaii cancarry theKona label.
Wewereable to tasteawideva-
rietyofKona coffees, and I have
to admit, I discovered awonder-
ful coffee that wasn’t bitter and
that didn’t need sugar and cream
to be enjoyed. But not being a
coffee connoisseur it would be a
travesty forme tohave thiscoffee
onmy shelf.
One of the most talked about
recipes that folks experience at
the open hearth dinners at my
house, is the“boiledcoffee.” The
recipe isbasedonan1837 recipe
from theHousekeeper’sBook:
There are various recipes for
preparing and refining coffee;
the following is the best that has
ever comeunderour view, and is
available in all places. Procure
your coffee fresh-roasted and
not too brown, the proportion of
a quarter of a pound for three
persons. Let it be Mocha, and
grind it justbeforeusing.Put it in
abasin, andbreak into it an egg,
yolk, white, shell and all. Mix it
upwithaspoon to theconsistence
of mortar, place it withwarm - -
not boiling water in the coffee
pot; let it boil up and break
three times, then stand
a few minutes and
it will be as clear
as amber, and the
egg will give it a
rich taste. –
Coffee made
this way has
a wonderful
smooth mi ld
taste. The eggs
help to coagulate
the grounds in the
pot and keep them in a
clump. The shells help
clarify the coffee. A
recipe from the
can Frugal Housewife
mentions that a piece
of isenglas (sturgeon
bladder – used
to make a type
of gelatin) or a
piece of fish skin
could be used instead of
the eggs. (I’ve never used isen-
glas or fish skin, but suspect that
theymight impart a fishflavor.)
An article in
Civil War Times
byKimO’Connellmakes a case
for the importance of coffee
during the war. Soldiers were
given rationsofhard tack,porkor
bacon,flourorbread, corn,beans
andcoffee.Sometimes thecoffee
beans were green and had to be
roasted, but usually the beans
were already roasted and just
needed tobeground. Thebutt of
a riflewas theusualway topound
the coffee beans, although it is
interesting tonote, that theSharps
abreech-loading riflewith a cof-
fee grinder built into the stock.
Soldiers werewilling to give up
their other rations –figuring that
theycould forage for someof the
food, but they rarely agreed to
give up their coffee.
Before the war, New Orleans
was the port of entry for coffee,
but theblockadeshifted theships
fromCostaRica,Brazil, Javaand
Ceylon to NewYork. The irony
was that the Union was fighting
to save theUnion and to abolish
slavery, yet coffee – especially
from Brazil was produced by
slaves under deplorable con-
ditions. By 1864, the US gov-
ernment was buying 40million
pounds of coffee beans!
There were substitutes for
coffee. During the Civil War,
southern soldiers were not able
to get coffee. Chicory was one
of the options and I have read
where roasted dandelion root
could alsoproduce a coffee-like
The Frugal Housewife
published in 1832 included this
comment about coffee substitu-
“... some use dry brown
bread crusts and roast them;
others soak ryegrain in rumand
roast it; others roast peas in the
samewayascoffee.Noneof these
are very good; and peas so used
are consideredunhealthy.Where
there is a large familyof appren-
tices andworkmen, and coffee is
very dear, it may be worthwhile
to use the substitutes or to mix
them half and half with coffee;
but after all, the best economy is
to gowithout.”
1...,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20
Powered by FlippingBook