Logger Coffee

What’s in Mrs. Hales’ Receipts for the Million 1857?Green coffee beans3American soldier

Substitute for Cream in Tea or Coffee. — Beat the white of an egg to a froth, put to it a very small lump of butter, and mix well. Then turn the coffee to it gradually, so that it may not curdle. If perfectly done, it will be an excellent substitute for cream. For tea, omit the butter, using only the egg. This might be of great use at sea, as eggs can be preserve fresh in various ways.

I’m preparing for my annual trip to San Juan Island to demonstrate 19th century folkways at English Camp. This year I hope to roast my coffee beans on the fire and then make logger coffee.  It is something 19th century folk did all the time.  The soldiers stationed at American Camp and in camps throughout the Civil War did it in their pans.

Mrs. Hale’s, unfortunately was no help as she assumes that everyone knows HOW to do it. Coffee, after all, is for the literary and sedentary (See earlier post) My copy of  The American Frugal Housewife is AWOL off my research bookshelf.  So I went down to our local farmer’s market and spoke to an Ethiopian immigrant who has a popular food stand there. I was told by a local coffee roaster that she does it every day at home.  It’s tradition.

“Just put some green coffee beans in a  pan on top of the stove on medium heat and it will roast.”

“How will I know it’s done?”

“The color will look right.  You will be able to tell.”

I suppose that it will smell good too. I’ll practice this week.  Next step: Should I use a rifle butt like the soldiers did or a coffee grinder? Hmm.

Here’s the receipt for logger coffee. Notice a green alder “chip” off a freshly felled tree.  It works.  It settles the grounds and I believe, takes the acidity out of coffee.

Logger coffee (Old Pacific NW receipt)

1. Fill pot halfway with water.

2. Add an alder “chip” preferably green.

3. Bring it to a boil.

4. Throw in about 2/3 cup of coffee.

5. Bring to a full boil and let boil for 1 Minute.

6. Remove from heat.

7. Check to see if grounds have settled.