Mar 4, 2011

A better fix....

Some time ago I wrote about my addiction to caffèlatte. This is still my mainstay to make it through long days, but how I make it has undergone a significant change. For the past 13 years or so I have been drinking French press coffee most of the time. Lately, however, I've been reading about the single-cup, slow drip methods that were developed by the Japanese and are now popular in the US and UK, and I tried to find a source of the equipment in Germany. No luck. However, I found something else that looked interesting: a special press for strong, well-balanced coffee without sediment. I've been getting a little tired of the dregs at the bottom of my French press, so I thought I would give the Aerobie Aeropress Coffee Maker a try. I ordered one from the German Amazon site (it's also available in the UK and US, probably elsewhere as well). Wow. This is the most interesting coffee I've had since a friend treated me to some from a cold process extractor years ago. It's simple, fast and very, very easy to clean. Beats the heck out of a French press for taste and ease of use and maintenance.

And since Christmas will be upon us once again in less than ten months, I've gone back to an old vice with this wonderful brew: egg nog latte. No commercial egg nog mix available here AFAIK, but several shots of Eierlikör (egg liquor) cut with an equal portion of milk, dosed liberally with ground nutmeg and heated blends wonderfully with the good coffee. Just the thing for a busy day of translation.

For those living in places where egg liquor is unavailable, here's a recipe from my late father-in-law, an old-time pharmacist from the days when they mixed lots of things interesting and alcoholic for the health and delight of their customers:

Herr Urban's Egg Liquor
Shake six egg yolks with 300 g sugar in a bottle (or use a blender). Add 350 ml brandy (the best quality you can afford), add vanilla sugar or tincture to taste as well as 50 ml of 90% grain alcohol. Prost!


  1. Mmmm, I never thought to blend Eierlikör with coffee. I'll have to give it a try...

  2. Don't forget the nutmeg if you do, Jill!

    There's also a Viennese coffee concoction a friend of mine raves about - Kaisers-somethingorother. It uses egg, maybe a raw one. I'll have to see if I can get the information somewhere and try that too.

  3. The instructions for this coffee press suggested that the paper filters could be re-used if rinsed off carefully. Although the 350 or so included with delivery should last for a while, I thought I would try this out. So far I've used one filter 15 times and it's still going strong, just slightly discolored. It still keeps the sediment out as well as it did at the start.

  4. That Viennese coffee drink I mentioned is a Kaisermelange. There are numerous recipes for it on the Internet with variations, my interpretation of it all was as follows:

    Whisk a large egg yolk, a shot (2 cl) of brandy and 1 tablespoon of honey (or sugar) together until foamy. Add 1 or two shot of espresso (depending on how strong you want it) and 1/4 cup of hot milk.

    Since the person who told me about this took great delight in telling me how much the concoction looks like the contents of a babys diaper, I served it in a wine glass. Actually, it was just a pleasant light brown like the lattés I usually drink. The taste was good, but I think an eggnog latté is better. But then I'm a nutmeg fanatic.

  5. I use the espresso machine with 300 ml capability for keeping me a steady flow of coffee. That way I can get my bucket a day of full "American" 250 ml cups of coffee per day (3-4 cupped teaspoons of grounded coffee per cup).

    There is one drawback though- here I have to use bottled water for that, with tap water the machine gets stuck with calcium and have to be replaced with new one every few months.

    As to any additions to the coffee, I go by the principle "though shall not spoil one good thing by mixing it with another good thing :)


  6. Wow, you are quite the coffee expert, huh? Dagy has a fully automated espresso machine, which is quite amazing. The American side of the business only has a drip machine, but with integrated bean grinder, which comes in handy. We both love coffee, but for some reason are completely not addicted to it. Just really enjoy the taste.
    Yum, craving a regular Melange now. :)

  7. Also try the Aero(bie)press upside down for a change. It gives the coffee some of the rich oily goodness of crema. You'll find descriptions of the process on the intertubes. I generally do it upside down for the first half, then just flip it and do the rest normally, because UD is not the most convenient way to use the thing. Also, yes to reusing filters. You can backflush them out too. The real purists are talking about substituting felt discs for them, but I haven't sourced any pure untreated felt yet.

  8. @panjandrum: Now how does that work without burning yourself? Doesn't seem to be a practical way to invert, and I'm not sure what you mean by "intertube". Online video?

    J&D: Not an expert, just like coffee a lot and enjoy the variety of its use around the world. There's often something good to learn from how others prepare a favorite drink. I remember reading about rancid yak butter and salt in tea in Tibet once, and tried that with some butter I had left out too long that summer. Not bad. I suppose I should look into Tibetan coffee culture if there is such a thing....


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