• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Shel_B

Adding Salt to Coffee?

19 posts in this topic

A couple of weeks ago we had an event here at my apartment building.  The woman who made the coffee told me that she added a small amount of salt to the freshly brewed coffee.  I was stunned ... never heard of such a thing!

 

A few days ago I was watching an old episode of Good Eats, and there was Alton adding a pinch of salt to his fresh-brewed French press coffee, saying that the salt reduces bitterness.  Once again I was surprised.

 

So, what's the story behind adding salt to fresh-brewed coffee?  Is it done if the beans are mediocre or poorly roasted?  Or when certain methods are used for brewing?  Or is it just something people do because they heard about it and don't know better ... like how searing a steak seals in juices?  Do you put salt in your coffee? 

 

Thanks!


 ... Shel


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a trick that's been around a very long time—it's especially useful in suppressing the bitterness of cheap robusta coffee.

My grandparents—extremely frugal folks—added a tiny pinch of salt to the coffee pot for decades.

4 people like this

~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I heard about it a long time ago, tired it once or twice. I couldn't tell any real difference but I am not very discerning at the differences between differences in the coffees I generally use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well,  well,  just to review, well ....

 

percolator coffee , ....   well;

 

it's  true that a tiny  ( tiny ) bit of salt, changes the ability of Le Tongue to transmit "  taste "  or just get better at it transmissions.

 

it should not ' taste ' salty, so if you try this and it tastes salty use less.

 

however, well, Percolator ?

 

it does indeed need a big boost for  ' flavor '   a Big Boost.

 

and no In not a Coffee Snob.

 

I have looked into my Personal Cup   ( a double espresso now days and forever )

 

and indeed a tiny tiny tiny bit of salt

 

( 4 molecules, no more ) changes Le tongue's dynamics.

 

Id use more than 4 molecules for the percolator.   just saying.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Seems to me I recall something about eggshells being tossed into percolating coffee.  I definitely remember salt but it goes back many decades. 

1 person likes this

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Egg shells and even whole eggs, plus a pinch of salt were used in boiled coffee, Norwegian or Swedish coffee or as many call it "Cowboy Coffee"  boiled in a big graniteware coffee pot over a campfire (or nowadays a grill).

 

I was introduced to it in 1956 when I went to Minneapolis to attend baking school (Dunwoodie) and lived with a Norwegian family.

They made coffee that way.  

 

I'm sure coffee was made that way on my grandpa's farm but by the time I was a child in the '40s, there were more sophisticated and modern brewers.  My grandpa loved gadgetry - no question where I got the trait.


Edited by andiesenji (log)
4 people like this

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, egg shells and egg whites helped clear coffee when it was simmered in water without any thing to keep it separate from the water. "Cowboy" coffee: just throw the grounds into a pot with water then worry about removing the grounds later.  Egg and egg shells' ability to remove solids has been long known. Jaques Pepin, in La Technique uses egg whites to clear stock when making consommé.


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks!


 ... Shel


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something weird is going on with egg shells. I have no desire to prove the science or debate it. After I read somewhere on here that if you are trying to fish a small fragment of shell out of eggs that you've broken into a skillet or bowl, your best tool is the shell the eggs came of. I didn't believe it because it made no sense within the science I know. After a bout of attempting to fish a piece of shell out of eggs with a stainless teaspoon several times, I tried one of the discarded shells in desperation. Like it had some sort of magnetic property, it magically fished out the shell fragment on the first try. I haven't deviated from the method since. Works efficiently every time for me, but I haven't a clue why this is so.

 

I have also had this cowboy coffee and it does help to settle the grounds when just cooking coffee grounds in a pot of water. Can't explain that either, but it works. Handy during a power outage.

 

I believe that a little salt would balance out an overly bitter flavor, but since I've never run into a coffee too bitter for me, I haven't tried it. I will keep it in mind if I ever do. 

3 people like this

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I've always heard of this as camp or canoe coffee but some call it cowboy coffee (not too many cowboys in my part of the country) :D

Always made by boiling water, taking it off the fire, throwing in the grounds, waiting a few minutes then pouring in some cold water to settle the grounds.

 

 


I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had never heard of putting salt in coffee until I met my husband.  As I was growing up, my parents always drank coffee twice a day, using beans my mother ground before she made it.  He insists on a pinch of salt in with the coffee before brewing.  We buy coffee that is ground for us when we buy it.  I can't tell the difference between the salt added and no salt added.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎4‎/‎29‎/‎2016 at 10:17 AM, DiggingDogFarm said:

It's a trick that's been around a very long time—it's especially useful in suppressing the bitterness of cheap robusta coffee.

My grandparents—extremely frugal folks—added a tiny pinch of salt to the coffee pot for decades.

 

And that's the coffee used by the woman who suggested salting the coffee ...

1 person likes this

 ... Shel


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/30/2016 at 1:17 AM, DiggingDogFarm said:

It's a trick that's been around a very long time—it's especially useful in suppressing the bitterness of cheap robusta coffee.

My grandparents—extremely frugal folks—added a tiny pinch of salt to the coffee pot for decades.

 

 

Huh. This is interesting. So I guess that's why some people add salt to chocolate too.

It's curious though if you think of it, you add salt to coffee to block out the bitterness and same principle applies to chocolate, but people add coffee to chocolate to enhance its flavour. Food for thought. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a dear friend from Germany that taught me about salt in the coffee  I met her when I was doing post grad work and working 2 jobs, finding it necessary to consume great amounts of coffee.   I noticed that when she made her coffee, she'd get a good pinch of salt and drop it into the grinds before brewing, or sometimes she'd drop it into the brewed pot of coffee.  Puzzled, I ask her what the heck she was doing.  She was equally as puzzled at me for asking, as I was with her putting salt in!   She had grown up with this practice her whole life---so it was just normal to her.  But, she explained that the salt removes some of the bitterness.  

I came to appreciate this greatly.  Relatively speaking, we were both pretty poor, working long hours, and trying to get through school.  So, we weren't in a position to buy the best coffee, and the salt improved things. Given how much of the stuff we drank, its one of those things that made life a little more pleasant during those lean and hungry years. 

1 person likes this

-Andrea

 

A 'balanced diet' means chocolate in BOTH hands. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only thing I add is sugar and milk. Salt shouldn't be necessary, and it can be unhealthy if you get too much salt..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On September 4, 2016 at 7:48 AM, lisaSon said:

Only thing I add is sugar and milk. Salt shouldn't be necessary, and it can be unhealthy if you get too much salt..

I don't think the pinch you add to the coffee grounds is enough to be unhealthy - if indeed salt is evil. 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK I know I'm dragging up a slightly dated thread, but I have to say I have always found this to be a very irritating practice.   I have never been a coffee snob  being employed in either construction or the military, neither ever affords good coffee (well until recently setting up a coffee shop and then I had to up my game).  I have always found this to be a psychological red herring for bad coffee so that somehow they could convince themselves it wasn't so bad.  News flash, it is still bad coffee.  More over it seems in my experience it is perpetrated in one of two ways, either by the person who makes bad coffee waaaay too strong anyway guaranteeing it will be bitter, and the person who will add enough you can actually taste it making it exponentially worse.  Either way when I see someone putting salt in coffee I know I'm not going to be drinking it for the enjoyment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What folks like to eat/drink, what they can afford to eat/drink, and how they prepare it is their business.

Can't hate them for taking the edge off of cheap bitter coffee with a little salt.

I'm thinking mostly of some folks I know who lived through the depression-era....they developed a taste for things such as lightly salted coffee or tea , sour milk curds, gruel, smashed potatoes and hot milk, bread and milk, cornmeal mush, lard sandwiches, etc.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
3 people like this

~Martin

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist, contrarian and natural born skeptic who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.