Coffee, salt, and a love story

It never ceases to amaze me, all the things some people add to coffee. Butter. Yak butter. Coconut oil. Egg. Egg?! Coca-Cola?! Before I diverge into the weeds, I came across this article, The science behind adding salt to coffee. I had never heard about doing that, but who knows everything? It’s fun to explore, learn, and experiment. Supposedly salt might take away some of the bitterness in coffee and enhance the coffee’s flavor. I was wondering if people added this to cheap or Robusta coffee. I haven’t tried it. Big Joe, the great culinary experimenter, probably has at some point in his life.

There’s this quote by W. Somerset Maugham:

“But there are people who take salt with their coffee. They say it gives a tang, a savour, which is peculiar and fascinating. In the same way there are certain places, surrounded by a halo of romance, to which the inevitable disillusionment you experience on seeing them gives a singular spice. You had expected something wholly beautiful and you get an impression which is infinitely more complicated than any that beauty can give you. It is the weakness in the character of a great man which may make him less admirable but certainly more interesting.

Nothing had prepared me for Honolulu...”

I stumbled upon a sweet, bite-sized love story called Salty Coffee A Love Story. Check it out. I like the domain name, alltimeshortstories. I couldn’t find out too much about who’s behind the domain or facebook group, though.

While writing this blog post, I learned about egg coffee, credited to Scandinavians or, I think more likely, Scandinavian-Americans. My favorite Norwegian from Norway has never heard of it. This article, Eggs in Coffee – How to Make Norwegian Egg Coffee, seems to experiment in a similar way that I would, if I wanted to engage in this experiment (which I don’t at the moment). This similar article about Traditional Swedish Egg Coffee was interesting for the how-to steps with pretty photos and the comments at the end.

My mother-in-law would often start her day with a cigarette, a glass of Coca-Cola, coffee, and an egg with salt. Just think, she could have thrown everything in her coffee, stirred it with her cigarette and started a new trend — salty coke egg coffee with a cigarette stirrer.

3 thoughts on “Coffee, salt, and a love story

  1. You got me fired up today! Thanks to you I finally dove into this salt in coffee thing. It seems the recommended amount of salt is about a pinch per cup. In the world of cooking a pinch is about 1/16 of a teaspoon. This means about 1/4 teaspoon per 4 cup pot. This also means about 100 mg of sodium pe cup. And remember that table salt is twice the concentration per volume is kosher salt, so I guess my portions are kosher salt.

    In my side-by-side taste test, the salt dampened the bitterness, the acidity, and a lot of the flavor. So, I’m not really a fan yet, but from what I read the salt could be helpful for people sensitive to bitterness and for poorly made coffee that is over extracted. I do like milk and sugar in my coffee which I think our flavor enhancers but there is good argument that I am mostly moderating bitterness. so if I was looking to reduce calories I suppose salt could be an option instead of milk and sugar. On the other hand, with black coffee I still prefer no salt. I could be wrong but milk and sugar seem to add flavor and complexity, while salt is tricking my tongue to deemphasize bitter and acid.

    And finally, I read some suspicious posts that claimed salt reduces acidity of coffee and may be good for people trying to avoid heartburn and acid reflux. Sorry, but salt is neutral in pH. It will not change the acidity of liquids. It will merely trick your mouth to think there is less acid.

  2. A somewhat wacky and therefore interesting post. I want to hear from you and/or others about experiments with salt, egg, etc. I may even give salt a try myself. –Jon

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