Why would you put egg shell in coffee?

Adding eggshell to the grounds of coffee is said to take away some of the bitter taste that can be associated with cheap or over extracted coffee. The eggshells are typically cleaned after making eggs and allowed to dry, then simply added to the drip coffee filter where the coffee grounds go.

Alternatively, they can also be added to a fresh press before depressing the plunger, but may slow down the press.

People also use eggshell to settle the grounds of the coffee.

It’s an old practice dating back to the early 1900s (and earlier) and I believe this to be fairly rare now.

65 thoughts on “Why would you put egg shell in coffee?”

  1. Egg shells added to grounds

    I recently read a depression era cookbook, how to use eggshells to prepare a smooth cup of coffee. I do remember something of this from my childhood as well. I boiled the eggs peeled them then baked the shells at 350 for about 10 minutes, crushed them and placed them in a zip look bag. I placed about 1 teaspoon full with my grounds this morning. Wow what wonderful smooth tasting coffee. I just love to find and use these old tips. Oh be sure and save these grounds for the spring flowers. God bless and enjoy your cup!

    1. dangerous practice

      This would be a very dangerous practise because there are many people who are anaphylactically allergic to eggs (fatally allergic). Please tell your guests if you do this.

      1. I would guess that the egg

        I would guess that the egg shells (calcium carbonate) buffer the coffee by neutralizing the acid ordinarily found in the beans

          1. I am swedish. Hence

            I am swedish. Hence scandinavian… we discussed this at work and have NEVER heard about this usage of egg shells…

          2. Swedish coffee

            My grandmother was from Sweden, she made this coffee this way and it was incredible. Yes, I started drinking coffee at age five and never had a smoother cup of coffee then when she made it. Here’s the real recipe which I don’t think has any danger to it unless you have an allergy to eggs.

            Bring water to a boil. Just before the water boils break egg into 2 1/2 cups ground coffee. Add crushed egg shell and 2 tbsp. cold water. Mix well and boil the mixture slowly. Turn off heat and let cool until the mixture settles. Boil again, cool again. Add 1/2 cup of cold water. Let coffee cool for about 5 minutes. When the grounds have settled the coffee is ready to serve. This makes about 20 cups of coffee enough for my groggy mornings lol.
            This is great using powdered sugar and lots of real cream.

          3. Eggshells in coffee

            My mother always saved an eggshell to put in the coffee. She used a double-boiler type steel pot with a glass plug between the upper and lower parts – grounds (and shell) on top, water in the bottom, and when it boiled the water rushed up into the upper pot, steeped, and then dripped back into the lower pot. I think this was a fairly common practice forty years ago, and I can certainly attest to it that her coffee was better than mine. (I’m pretty much a tea person as a rule.) Next time I make a pot I’ll throw a shell in with the grounds and see how it turns out.

          4. I have had several people

            I have had several people tell me that brewing coffee & eggshells (calcium) in aluminum stovetop percolators is a common practice for removing the buildup inside that is common with stovetops without resorting to soap which removes the oils all together. I can’t testify to the science of this but I have been told this by at least 3 different people.

          5. (I’m pretty much a tea person

            (I’m pretty much a tea person as a rule.) Next time I make a pot I’ll throw a shell in with the grounds and see how it turns out.

          6. It works!

            I tried this recipe and I have no idea why, but the coffee tasted great…really smooth! Does anyone know for sure why this tastes smoother?

          7. How much ground coffee?

            Do you mean brewed or 2 1/2 cups ground because that is an awful lot of grounds for a normal pot?

          8. It might be that the

            It might be that the tradition of egg coffee was started in the US by immigrants from Sweden or other Scandinavian countries. A number of things attributed to other countries in the USA are attributed incorrectly, such as American-style pizza, the “Chinese” dish Chop Suey, and French fries (which probably originated in Belgium.)

          9. I was a wine salesman. They use egg whites to fine the wine. My logic is there is some egg white left on inside of shell, and would neutralize acids in coffee, hence, smoother taste. Plus grounds are good for garden. Calcium in shell good for bulbs.

        1. reply

          All i can think of is that people who use this “combination” are retards. Do they actually think they are going to neutralize the coffee or what ? why even bother fooling themselves… if they want to get rid of the problem stop drinking the coffee instead and resort to fruits.

          1. eggshells are not the only answer

            The calcium carbonate will lower the pH of the coffee. You can also use calcium tablets ground up but be sure it is pure. A side benefit is it will be good for your bones too.
            Oh and by the way calling people retards is rude and disrespectful. It only besmirches your character, and debases the spirit of community in this forum.

          2. Eggshells in coffee

            It works. This is old technology, but that doesn’t alter the fact that it works. Brewed coffee contains chlorogenic acid, which lowers pH (I worked for a coffee company, once, and learned a few bits).

            I save eggshells whenever I break eggs, rinsing them thoroughly under the tap and rubbing the inside of the shells. Drained and put on a piece of paper towel, the shells get nuked for about 2 minutes to dry them thoroughly, after which they get crushed to a gravel consistency, and stored for later use. I always make a full pot of drip coffee, and add about 1 T. of crushed shell to the grounds in the coffee filter. The finished brew is (to me) less acidic, doesn’t heat-degrade as readily, and has (to me) a richer taste with better mouth-feel. Calcium carbonate (eggshells) dissolves slightly in boiling water, and *raises* the pH very slightly, decreasing acidity.

          3. eggshells

            My grandfather used to do this all the time with the old percolators because it did help with the bitterness and it also was helpful in keeping the loose grounds from floating around as they did in the old percolators…

          4. What is actually the “problem you refer to?” Acid? Many fruits are more acidic than coffee. I’m not saying eggshells do anything. I haven’t tested it. But if you have a problem with acid, fruit is not the answer. Almond milk might be a better morning drink. Or perhaps Dutch processed cocoa.

      2. since only the washed shells

        since only the washed shells from previously boiled eggs are used, there is no egg protein left.

        1. There is egg protein left.

          Even if you take eggshells from boiled eggs and wash them, there is still some egg protein in and on the shells. It is a very small amount, of course, but a very small amount is all it takes to trigger an allergic reaction which can lead to anaphylactic shock in allergic persons. When this happens, death due to cessation of breathing can occur within minutes.

          So feel free to use egg shells, but please be sure to let the coffee drinkers know about it so those with severe egg allergies can abstain.

    2. egg shells added to grounds

      to clarify, you added coffee to the crushed eggshells together and then brewed them in a paper filter?

    3. Egg Shells in Coffee

      Hi Everyone, I’m new to this site. I tried to make a comment earlier but it appears that I was not successful. I’ll try again. I’ve heard of adding egg shells to coffee to make it smooth. I did not know if it would actually work and was always concerned about trying it. I’m glad to know that it really works. Thank you for confirming this.
      Lady Marian

    4. Oh yes I am from West Central Minnesota and 66. The Swedish Lutheran Church in Benson at their annual smorgasbord added eggshells to the coffee grounds as did my Grandma. It was a standard. Scandinavians there hung to practices their parents or grandparents brought from the Old Country circa 1870.


    Is it true that putting egg shells in coffee grounds de-acidifies it? If they produce a smoother cuppa is it because of the neutralizing effect of the egg shells?

    I have Interstitial Cystitis and am experimenting with foods that may bother my condition.

    1. Egg Shells Can Reduce Acid

      This website has a list of acids found in coffee and relative amounts created during brewing. http://www.coffeeresearch.org/science/sourmain.htm

      To answer your question, calcium carbonate from eggs could have the ability to neutralize the acids in coffee. The large particle egg shells don’t have alot of surface area. If you grind the shells into a powder, then you have enough surface area to dissolve and react more readily. As an additive to coffee, you would get the neutralization of the acids and still maintain nutritional calcium intake.

  3. Eggshells in coffee

    Thanks so much, fellas. I am a thorough Marx brothers addict, and in one of my favorite movies of theirs – “The Big Store” – Harpo adds eggshells to the coffee maker’s basket for Groucho’s breakfast. This ALWAYS puzzled me, but now I have the answer thanks to my fellow java aficionados.
    As a chemist, I agree that the calcium compounds in the shells would likely neutralize a small portion of the acids. Naturally, if you crush the shells more, there’s more surface area to react, and slightly more neutralization.
    Avoid decaf, unless it’s by water process! They extract the caffeine with dichloromethane (or methylene chloride as it’s also known) which is a known carcinogen. But then, why drink decaf? Don’t we all love our Vitamin C? (C for caffeine… πŸ˜‰ )

    1. How to produce decaf

      Im pretty sure that now a days caffeine is extracted usin super critical carbon dioxide, which obcause leaves no nasty organic solvents in the coffee. But other than that i agree why would anyu one drink decaf

  4. eggshells for one

    I am not sure that my ratios were the same, but I used good coffee, and copper pot on the stove top and tried this method because I broke my french press and I was really happy about it. I have had ulcers in the past and this seemed to really mellow the coffee. I tried to make abt 5 cups of coffee and used a the whole egg and all the shell and though it turned out a bit weak, it was mild and caffinated. And I can see that i will try this again in the future.

  5. egg coffee in modern coffee maker?

    does any one know if this can be done with a regular coffee maker and papar filer?? I have read about it in a few books that take place in mn where i live and was researching it but I can’t find a answer anywhere. If anyone would let me know that would be great.

    1. Egg shells in modern coffee maker.

      I tried it last night. Didn’t believe there would be a difference. There was!!
      I like it strong. It was as I like it, but smoother. Really brewed an excellent cup of coffee. Will continue using egg shells. πŸ˜‰

  6. Eggshells in coffee grounds

    My Honey reminisced to me this A.M. about an Aunt that put eggshells in her coffee grinds when she gave him his very 1st cup of coffee. He remembered it being smooth and tasting good. Hes 56, I’m 41. We’re getting married soon. I cherish the old fashioned values that are sadly fading away in this fast paced world today. Angela

    1. …I agree…

      Hey Angela.

      As a mid 30’s, born in this post-modern high-tech generation, I also echo your sentiments about the passing values of this age. It honestly breaks my heart at times. I’m not old enough to see all that you’ve seen, but I can certainly see the effects of the new ways…

      Just thought I’d share.



  7. Egg Coffee Recipe

    I found a recipe in a book my grandfather had for egg coffee, which led me to this discussion board. I thought I would share it here.

    Rinse coffee pot with boiling water. Measure coffee into pot, allowing 1 tablspoon coffee for each cup of water. Combine coffee with slightly beaten egg (I guess you could throw the shell in there too), using 1 egg for each 8 tablespoons coffee. Pour measured amount of freshly boiled water over coffee and egg. Heat to boiling. Boil 3 minutes. Strain and serve at once – The Household Searchlight.

    1. Egg in grounds in pan

      The egg in the pan is to keep the grounds from being poured into the cup (from what I’ve read).

  8. That’s really a very

    That’s really a very interesting fact about eggshell…i heard it really does take away the bitter taste of the coffee, i’ve never tried it but maybe it’s true.

  9. eggshells in coffee

    I’m 55 and my Great Aunt from Sweden made THE BEST COFFEE ever and she always put egg shells in her coffee pot. I do the same – rinse egg shells. When I brew a pot I put shells from one egg in bottom, the coffee always tastes smoother, even when I use expensive coffee. One person I personally have known has ever heard of this and they observed it while travelling in Europe (forgot what country).

  10. whole eggs in coffee

    I have just read a book – The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke – and in the book she mentioned that the Cafe owner puts a pinch of salt and breaks three eggs, shells and all in the ground coffee – mixes it all together with a spoon and scoops it all into the coffe basket of the machine before switching it on. Ok – I understand about the salt and the shells, but why the eggs as well?

    1. egg coffee

      I read the same book and when I came across the paragraph about the coffee I went back and read it three times to make sure I wasn’t reading it incorrectly. I even got my husband to read it to make sure we understood the same thing. I was interested because I love coffee but hesitant to try it because…well…it just sounds so weird. I googled egg coffee and found out that it is sometimes referred to as Norwegian Egg Coffee and is popular in the midwest and with Lutherans. So, I thought, what the heck, I will try it, if it is terrible I will pour it out. I followed a recipe that I found online and to my utter astonishment discoverd that it is wonderful. I normally drink my coffee with sugar and cream to tame the bitterness, but I can drink this coffee black. It is smooth and delicious.

      1. egg coffee

        I just read the same book!!! and was wondering why?? So here I am and finding out it’s a common practice. I have a Mr. Coffee coffee maker and very curious now to try it!!!! It’s a 12 cup and would I use 1-2 eggs maybe for the pot? 

        1. There is an episode of I

          There is an episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy breaks an egg into a coffee pot before brewing laughing “my grandma was Swedish”.  πŸ™‚  Since then I’ve always wanted to try it.

        2. Haha! I am reading that book

          Haha! I am reading that book right now and I had to look this up! I am going to try it, but I am very nervous.

    2. I am reading chocolate chip

      I am reading chocolate chip cookie murder and I saw the part about the coffee two days ago! It started bugging me so much i just had to look it up! It’s funny I haven’t heard of it cause my relatives live im Minnesota. Definitely going to have to try it

      1. Boiled coffee

        I have heard of it, however I am 69 years old and my grandmother did it at the cottage on lake Melissa in the late 40’s.

  11. Egg shell in the coffee pot

    When we went camping, my mother would use an old aluminum coffee pot with a little glass knob on top, so you could see the brew percolating. She put the water and coffee in the pot — no basket for the grounds — along with a rinsed out egg shell. She told me it made the coffee taste better since it was boiled coffee, and kept the grounds at the bottom (settled). She called it campfire coffee.

    Interestingly, she didn’t do this at home. I think it was because she had a more sophisticated brewing pot. πŸ™‚ I will have to ask her for details about this.

  12. Egg shell is alkaline. Coffee

    Egg shell is alkaline. Coffee is acidic. When the acidity is reduced by the alkali, it tastes better.

    1. I think this is right – i

      I think this is right – i didn’t connect the acidity issue but I notice that adding even a little egg shell to my french press makes it a smoother brew


    The fishing & hunting guides in Maine use to put a coffee when they made coffee for the people who they was guiding.  They would guide the people for fishing and they stop and cook the fish they had caught and made the coffee on the campfire.   They said the egg kept the coffee grinds in the bottom of the pot.   You can find the recipe in an old Grand Lake Cookbook

  14. egg shells in coffee

    In the days of old (Olden Days) coffee was made in a pot of hot water with grounds on the bottom.  As you are never suppose to boil coffee it was almost impossible not to not boil it by this method and if boiled it was bitter and muddy.  Adding egg shells kept the gounds on the bottom, took the bitterness out of the taste and above all kept it CLEAR.  For those that don’t believe me join me at the local pool hall and we will have a glass of balliards and discuss it. 

    1. egg shells in a one cup wonder coffee machine.

      Was cooking up a mcmuffin breakfast when it all of a sudden I remembered my mother putting egg shells in her perk when making coffee back in the 40s.  I have one of those one cup wonders – but got tired of paying $.55 a cup for coffee so I bopught one of those tiny coffee baskets that you can use instead with your own coffee.  I put the egg shells in with the coffee expecting no difference in the result.  Much to my surprise – the bitterness was gone.  I’ll be making my coffee this way from now on.

    2. Actually, this is something

      Actually, this is something coffee aficionados have dreamed up. Coffee grounds boiled in a pot is quite good. I like it better than drip, more flavor. Try it.

  15. Just put a tiny bit of salt

    Just put a tiny bit of salt in your coffee instead of egg shells to take away the bitterness. I knew a guy who used to drink coffee as black as possible and put no sugar or creamer and just salt, he said it tastes like toasty water.

  16. In response to why anyone would use a whole egg instead of egg shells, don’t know but I just tried a Scandinavian-Minnesotan recipe that smashed a whole egg into a half cup ground coffee with a enough water to moisten. Put that mixture into a quart of boiling water. Boil for 2-3 min, let stand for 10 min. Clear coffee puts easily off the top whole grounds stay at bottom. Smooth, really fine small pot of standard American coffee.

    Egg shells may work just as well, but what I was super easy.

    1. My wife is Scandinavian, her grandparents do the eggshell with coffee grounds, I’m from the Maryland (we wash the Old Bay of the crab shells, grind them up & add to our coffee)
      Now thats living :))

  17. I once watched a waitress, in a favorite NJ diner of mine, make coffee. She put salt & egg shells(uncrushed) in with the grinds. I asked her why she did that and she said it makes it taste better. I always found their coffee to be the best. I learned why that day.

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