Swedes are some of the biggest coffee consumers in the world, and the day starts with a warm morning brew for many people in Scandinavia’s largest country.
But have you ever thought of mixing eggs with your coffee? No, us neither. Until now.
Swedish egg coffee doesn’t sound immediately delicious and honestly isn’t a big deal in Scandinavia nowadays, but it was once a common brewing method.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Swedish egg coffee, including its origins and how to brew your own if you want to try it.
What is Swedish egg coffee?
Swedish egg coffee involves mixing a raw egg (including the shell, if you’re feeling reaaly brave!) and ground coffee together before adding both to boiling water.
When the ingredients simmer, you typically get a smoother cup of coffee than you might be used to.
Making Swedish egg coffee only takes a few minutes, and you’ll find a recipe for it later in this article.
One of the reasons why Swedish egg coffee is smoother than other types you might be used to is that when you add the egg, your ground beans are less likely to stay together with the water.
The egg also allows the coffee to brew without the bitterness many associate with other brewing methods.
Generally speaking, egg coffee is brewed at home. You would have to put some serious effort in to find a café in Sweden that serves it.
The origins of Swedish egg coffee
Swedish egg coffee originated in Scandinavia, and you might previously have heard of it referred to as Norwegian or Scandinavian egg coffee.
The brewing method has been around for centuries, and Scandinavians brought it with them to the US when crossing the Atlantic in the 19th century.
Why egg coffee exists is difficult to determine, but it could be as simple as people making the most of the tools they had around at the time.
The primary reason that the egg is in the coffee is for filtering purposes rather than taste, and the eggs do a pretty good job at ensuring a smoother finish.
How is Swedish egg coffee brewed?
When making Swedish egg coffee, you’ll first boil the water in a pan. In the meantime, you can mix the ground coffee and your egg together.
The flavour of your coffee grounds doesn’t matter so much – but in terms of texture, you should aim for something medium-fine.
When the water has begun boiling, you’ll add the mixture of coffee grounds and egg. As your coffee brews, you’ll notice that the bits of egg rise to the top with your coffee grounds.
You’re also supposed to add cold water toward the end of the brewing process to ensure the separation method works as it should.
Variations on Swedish egg coffee
While Swedish egg coffee isn’t so popular in its homeland today, the brewing method has other variations worth trying worldwide. Perhaps the most famous example is Vietnamese egg coffee.
Also known as Ca phe trung, Vietnamese egg coffee involves the egg and coffee grounds – along with condensed milk.
However, unlike the Swedish version, you don’t include the eggshell; instead, you whip the yolks with the condensed milk. Sometimes, vanilla is also included in the drink.
Vietnamese egg coffee is much sweeter than Swedish egg coffee. You’ll usually brew the coffee first and add the mixture of eggs and milk to the top after.
Another Asian variation of egg coffee is Kopi Talua, which originates from Indonesia. Also known as Padang egg coffee, this variation is often sweeter than the Vietnamese variant.
The main difference is that there’s a layer of condensed milk at the bottom – with the eggs featuring at the top.
Where to find Swedish egg coffee
Finding Swedish egg coffee in Scandinavia is pretty challenging these days, and you could easily live there for years without even knowing that it exists. In fact, many Scandinavians you ask will probably be just as curious about it as you are.
In the US, egg coffee does seem to be a thing in Minnesota, specifically – but it’s often reserved specifically for certain church-related occasions.
If you’re looking for egg coffee, you’ll probably have much more luck sampling the Asian versions instead – including in Scandinavia.
Serving and pairing
Swedish egg coffee is best consumed right after brewing, and you should use a sieve when filling your cup.
Doing so will ensure that you don’t get pieces of ground coffee or egg shell in your drink that you’d rather do without.
Generally speaking, there isn’t a right or wrong way to pair Swedish egg coffee with other foods. You can try your very own Swedish fika break by having a cinnamon bun with your freshly-brewed drink, for example.
If you have your coffee with breakfast, you can always try having your drink with a warm bowl of porridge.
Other common items at the Swedish breakfast include knäckebröd (crispbread) with Kalles Kaviar, which is basically cod roe in a tube.
If that doesn’t interest you, consider having cheese and other cold cuts with your crispbread instead.
Swedish egg coffee recipe
Now that you’ve read all about Swedish egg coffee, you might want to try it yourself. First, let’s discuss what you’ll need:
- 1 x saucepan
- 1 x sieve (for filtering the coffee grounds and eggs)
- 250ml of water for boiling + 250ml of cold water
- 1–1 ½ tbsp ground coffee
- 1 x egg
You can also add sugar and milk if you want, but these aren’t mandatory.
Follow these instructions to brew your Swedish egg coffee:
- Put the first cup of water in the saucepan and switch on the stove.
- Crack your egg and stir it in with the ground coffee – shell and all!
- Add the mixture of egg and coffee to your boiling water before boiling everything together for another five minutes.
- Turn the stove off and move your saucepan. Then, add the cold water.
- Get your sieve and pour the coffee through it and into your cup.
We should note that you’ll need to consider the risks associated with using raw eggs. But if you prepare everything correctly, the boiling water should remove the harmful bacteria.
Everything you need to know about Swedish egg coffee
Swedish egg coffee may seem quite strange today, but it was once a great way to brew better-tasting drinks. The concept has become forgotten in many parts of Scandinavia today, but it’s still used in some contexts.
If you go elsewhere in the world, you’ll see other forms of egg coffee inspired by the Scandinavians – though admittedly, these are maybe more appealing to the average person.
Nonetheless, if you want to try Swedish egg coffee, the process is quite simple.
For other unusual Swedish food stuffs, see also:
Sweden’s stinkiest food!
Swedish fish: the fruity kind!
What is a smogasbord?