1.20.2016

Old Fashioned Coffee Directives from 1874-1914

My love of history is fairly well known if you've been around the blog or my Twitter much... and this post combines the love of history and coffee together!  This is from an old Household Discoveries book published in 1874 and republished a couple more times until 1914 (and past that but I haven't got a copy of those).

Back in 'the day' coffee wasn't always made from coffee beans as many Americans couldn't afford coffee.  Houses on the prairie often made their coffee with barley, wheat or bran with a little molasses.  And "crust" coffee!  Have you ever heard your Great Grandparents discuss having to drink crust coffee? 



Coffee Substitutes. — Cereal products as coffee substitutes appear to be made of parched barley, wheat and other grain, sometimes mixed with pea hulls, corn cobs or bran. Such grain parched with a little molasses in an ordinary oven makes something undistinguishable in flavor from the cereal coffees on the market. The claim of the manufacturers that these substitutes yield more nourishment than   coffee   is   entirely   unfounded.
 

        They contain little or no nutriment, skim milk being about twenty times as nutritive. If strict economy is necessary it will be found equally as satisfactory to use old-fashioned "crust coffee" made by toasting broken crusts of white, brown, or preferably "rye and Indian" bread, steeping them in hot water and straining until comparatively clear. Or parched corn, rye sweet potato or other old-fashioned coffee substitutes may be used.

I found this interesting; even over a hundred years ago, manufacturers were trying to scam consumers by adding 'bulk' and 'fillers' to the coffee.  This informative paragraph tells you how to look for the


         There is hardly any adulterated tea on the market, although there are some very poor grades and there may be too much "tea siftings" in the sample. Ground coffee is very often adulterated. Some simple tests for adulterants may be made. If ground coffee is dropped into a glass of cold water, the genuine coffee will float, and will not discolor the water for several minutes. Most of the adulterants sink to the bottom and leave a brown trail in the water. But little coffee is contained in the so-called "coffee substitutes." The proportion of coffee in a sample may be ascertained approximately by dropping it into cold water, as very few coffee substitutes will float


Further along in the book are two 'recipes' for coffee.  We've discussed "egg coffee" on Coffee Talking before but back then it was just considered coffee.  It's how you made it.  Period! Here it is, straight from the 1800's!


French Coffee.
        1 cupful finely ground coffee, 6 cupfuls boiling water.

There are a number of pots on the market for making French coffee; any of them are suitable, provided they contain a fine strainer, which holds the coffee and prevents the grounds from getting into the infusion. To make coffee in this fashion, put the coffee into the strainer, which is generally set into the mouth of the pot; place the pot on the stove and slowly pour the water over the grounds, allowing it to filter through. If you wish to have the coffee stronger, pour out the infusion and pour it a second time over the grounds, but do not allow it to cool.

Boiled Coffee.
        4 heaping tablespoonfuls ground
        coffee, 1  quart freshly boiling water, white of egg.

Mix the white of egg with 3 table-spoonfuls cold water, beating with a fork; add the coffee and stir till wet. Scald coffeepot, put in prepared coffee, pour in boiling water, cover the spout, and boil five minutes. Pour in quickly -i cupful cold water; stand three minutes to settle. Strain into a hot pot or have strainer on table.









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