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Coffee enjoyed the Vintage Way

Drinking coffee - 24 hour diner.

Drinking coffee - 24 hour diner.

Not much has changed in the world of coffee since 1929, aside from the plethora of coffee gadgets and pre-ground coffees available to us now.  Coffee was as much loved back in the day as it is in this day and age.  In fact, almost anywhere across the country (big city’s mind you) you would not be hard pressed to find a 24 hour coffee shop.

In this post, find out the vintage way to make and serve coffee, peculated coffee, drip coffee, boiled coffee, and iced coffee.

One thing thad did strike me is the recipe for making boiled coffee.  If anyone has ever made it the way described here, please let us know about it.  We’d love to here from you.

Coffee tips from our Vintage Book Share:

(Adapted from Good Housekeeping’s Book of Good Meals, 1929)


You’ll want to buy coffee in reasonably small quantities, and keep in a tight container.  If bought in the bean, grind as used.  This helped to keep your coffee fresh back in the day.  Nowadays you can buy large tins of ground or pre-ground coffee in seal tight containers that stay fresh for a very long time.

Use two level tablespoonfuls of ground coffee to one cupful of water, regardless of the method.  You’ll want to make sure to serve your coffee as soon as it is made.  If you must delay, keep it piping hot, but never let it boil.

Keep the coffee-making appliance (your coffee maker) very clean, and entirely free from odor of stale coffee.  Like chocolate, coffee tends to absorb smells and flavors.  A solution of borax or baking soda and water boiled in the container was used to keep coffee makers odorless.  I’d go with the baking soda, not the borax.

Serve plain or with cream.  Pour cream or milk into cups before pouring coffee over it.  We are used to working things the opposite way, cream or milk and or sugar after pouring, but it really is a good idea to add coffee to your embellishments.  They will mix better and you won’t have to worry about filling your cup to high or too low.


vintage drip coffee maker.jpg

If you come across a vintage drip coffee maker, it’s worth giving it a try.  Here’s the process. Preheat your drip coffee pot by filling it with boiling water a short time before using.  Pour out this water just before making coffee. This preparation process ensures that your coffee will cook evenly. 

Once you’ve ground your coffee beans to the consistency of powdered sugar, (yes very fine indeed, so you’ll want to grind your own beans, have them ground super fine, or make sure that the pre ground coffee you are buying is indeed a super finely ground one, place coffee grounds in the proper compartment (the top one), allowing two tablespoonfuls for every cupful of boiling water.

Pour boiling water over the coffee grounds, in the proper quantity, and allow to drip through to the bottom section of your drip coffee maker.  You’ll then want to remove the coffee-grounds container, cover the pot (bottom section) and serve at once. If the coffee can not be served immediately, you’ll need to place the container in a pan of hot water, or over low heat. Note that if your drip coffee pot, with a cloth bag for grounds (coffee or tea bag paper should be fine), is used every day, let the bag stand in cold water each time after washing, as this will keep your bag from clogging.


When making percolated coffe, you’ll want your coffee beans to be ground to “medium”.  Put your coffee grinds into your percolator.  There should be two tablespoonfuls of grinds for every cupful of boiling water.  Boil water to a rapid boil in the amount needed, and pour in bottom of percolator. Percolate for seven minutes or until a deep golden brown.  Then lift cover, remove strainer with coffee grounds, and serve. If you won’t be serving your coffee right away, set your percolator in a pan of hot water or over low heat on your stovetop.


(- a bit odd if you ask me, if you’ve done it this way, do tell us!  It uses egg, shell and all.)

Scald the coffee pot (metal not glass) by placing it over an open flame. 

For this recipe your coffee beans should be ground to medium.  Allow two tablespoonfuls to each cupful of cold water.  Set aside your coffee grounds and the appropriate amount of water.

Here’s the odd part:

Beat one egg slightly, and procede to add one-half of the cold water, the crushed and washed egg shell and the ground coffee.  Turn and fold mixture as you pour it into your coffee pot, then pour in rest of the cold water and boil three minutes.  When your three minutes is up, let the boiled coffee stand on the back of the stove for ten minutes and serve.


Fill tall glasses one-half full of chipped ice.  Put two tablespoonfuls of cream or half and half in each glass and pour in freshly made hot coffee.  Serve with powdered sugar and a bit of whipped cream.  Yum!