How to enjoy coffee with a German kick

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How to enjoy coffee with a German kick

Germans consume more coffee each year than beer or mineral water and outdrink the French when it comes to caffeine. Food writer Nadia Hassani explains how to enjoy the drink with a German kick.


My earliest memory about coffee is not coffee itself. It is the “Kaffeekanon” by German composer Karl Gottlieb Hering (1766-1853). We often sang it in kindergarten and elementary school:

C-A-F-F-E-E, trink nicht so viel Kaffee!

(C-O-F-F-E-E, don’t drink that much coffee!)

Nicht für Kinder ist der Türkentrank,

(This Turks’ drink is not for children,)

Schwächt die Nerven, macht dich blass und krank,

(It weakens the nerves and makes you pale and sick,)

Sei doch kein Muselmann, der ihn nicht lassen kann.

(Don’t be a Muslim who cannot stay away from it.)

From today’s thankfully more politically correct perspective, this is quite outrageous. At the time, nobody thought anything of it, not even my father, who is an Arab Muslim.

Nobody took offence to Muckefuck either - a coffee substitute made of grains and chicory root. The word Muckefuck goes back to the French mocca faux (“false mocca”). In the heyday of Muckefuck, the English language, let alone English street slang or curse words, were not as commonplace as they are in Germany today.

Coffee anecdotes aside, here's one way to enjoy Germany's favourite drink. 

Flambéed Coffee with Whipped Cream (Rüdesheimer Kaffee)

Whether you like brandy or not, living in Germany you may know the slogans of the Asbach distillery, founded in the late 19th century in Rüdesheim on the Rhine. One of the brandies produced by Asbach is named Asbach Uralt (“ancient”).

In German slang, something outdated is sometimes called “Asbach uralt”. That’s successful advertising.

In 1957, the Rüdesheimer Kaffee was invented by Asbach, and it has been a popular drink in traditional cafés ever since. You do not need Asbach brandy to recreate this drink, any good brandy will do, but you will need: 

-Two to three tablespoons brandy

-One tablespoon sugar, or more to taste

-1⁄3 cup freshly brewed coffee

-Whipped cream for topping

1. Rinse a serving cup with hot water.

2. Heat the brandy in a small pot. Put the sugar in the cup, pour the brandy over it, and stir. Ignite the mixture with a long match and flambé for about one minute, carefully stirring it with a bar spoon. Add the hot coffee and top it with whipped cream. Serve at once.

Makes one serving.

For more recipes see Nadia’s book and blog Spoonfuls of Germany.

SEE ALSO: Ten of the best English-language blogs about Germany


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