Totally Coffee

coffee book  

(The following is provided by Celestial Arts)

Why has coffee become the national drug? The people who ask don't see anything other than a caffeine high, but for the rest of us who know coffee's secrets, Totally Coffee will be equally habit-forming. With 48 recipes for inspiring beverages, ice creams and puddings, cookies, cakes and "secret ingredients", soon the homekitchen barista will give the neighborhood kiosk a run for its money. Mocha stuffed peaches, tiramisu, zebra espresso bars, chicken chili a la java, and ham with red-eye gravy will make coffee break into coffee event.

About the Authors

Helene Siegel is the author of the Ethnic Kitchen Series (Harper Collins, 1992-1994) including Italian, Chinese, Mexican and French Cooking for Beginners and co-author of Mesa Mexicana (Morrow, 1994), City Cuisine (Morrow, 1990) and Ma Cuisine (Random House, 1988). She is a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, The Times Syndicate, Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking magazines and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. She is a member of the Southern California Culinary Guild and International Association of Culinary Professionals and resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons, and a well-fed dog. Previously she produced children's pop-up books, and was production director for Workman Publishing.

Karen Gillingham is a popular Los Angeles food stylist. She is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she also wrote a syndicated column, "Quick and Classy."


Totally Coffee
By Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham
$4.95, 96 pages (paperback)
Celestial Arts
ISBN 0-89087-754-8
Publication Date: January 10, 1996

Key Players in Coffee History

Kaldi of Kaffa, a goatherd, was the first to brew and drink coffee, according to Arabian legend. He was inspired by his high-spirited goats, who seemed more energetic after munching on fallen coffee berries.

The Grand Vizir of the Ottoman empire prohibited coffee and closed the coffee houses of Turkey in 1656. The penalty for drinking coffee was nothing too serious—just a dunk in the Bosphorus in a leather satchel.

Francesco Procopio de Coltelli of Sicily is credited with starting the first cafe in Paris, Le Procope, in 1686—an establishment that is still in business. It has been the hangout of such luminaries as Voltaire, Diderot, and Robespierre.

Louis XIV of France was given a gift of a coffee plant by the Mayor of Amsterdam in 1714. When a young French naval officer, choose a plant from the king's garden to bring along on a visit to Martinique in the Caribbean, he started what was to become world's largest coffee crop.

King Gustav III of Sweden researched the health benefits of coffee vs. tea in his own quirky way back in the 18th century. He changed the sentence of twins condemned to death to a life sentence so doctors could observe their difference: one drank only coffee, the other tea. Since the tea drinker died first, at the age of 83, Sweden became a country of coffee drinkers.

President Theodore Roosevelt, the man who gave us the "teddy" bear, also promoted the house blend at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, thereby creating the catchy slogan, "good to the last drop."

Arabic Coffee Cultures

When the coffee plant was brought across the Red Sea to Yemen from Ethiopia, it spread deep roots into Arab soil. Since alcohol is forbidden, coffee, or "gahwah" was recognized for its powerful stimulating qualities by the most devout Muslims, the dervishes, who prayed and whirled until they collapsed.

In contemporary Middle Eastern homes, ritual still surrounds the serving and drinking of coffee. It must be offered to everyone who enters the house. It must be served swiftly and according to each drinker's taste. To refuse coffee is an insult to the host and even children are taught to brew the thick, sweet beverage.

Coffee as a Commodity

Coffee is second only to oil in world trade. Sixty nations—mostly third world and situated along the coffee belt, located twenty-five degrees north and south of the equator—depend on it for their economies. Brazil is the number one producer, and the United States the number one consumer of coffee.

Brewing Tips

Since there are so many options for brewing coffee, not to mention espresso drinks, at home we will not delve into the intricacies of each process here. Far weightier tomes are available for that purpose. However a few simple rules hold true: always use cold water, spring water is best; experiment until you get the proportion of grounds to water correct; and never, ever, reheat coffee. Freshly brewed coffee is best stored in an insulated carafe or thermos.


Cafe Brulot

  • 1 cinnamon stick, roughly broken
  • 4 whole cloves
  • peel or 1/2 orange, silvered
  • peel or 1/2 lemon, silvered
  • 4 sugar cubes
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • 2 cups hot, strong coffee

In saucepan over low heat, combine cinnamon, cloves, orange and lemon peels, and sugar. Stir in Cognac and liqueur. Using a long match, carefully ignite mixture. Immediately, but slowly, pour in coffee, stirring until flames subside. Pour into small punch cups and serve.

Serves 4


Whipped Coffee Cream

    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
    • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

In deep bowl, combine cream and instant espresso. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Starting at low speed of electric mixer, beat cream, gradually increasing speed to high and slowly adding confectioners' sugar, until cream is thick enough to hold shape. Serve as topping for desserts or hot or cold drinks.

Makes 2 cups


Coffee Kisses

  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • dash salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line large baking sheet with foil, shiny side down.

In 2-quart saucepan, combine instant espresso, 1 cup sugar, and water. Stir over low heat until coffee and sugar dissolve. Bring to boil over medium heat. Boil until candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F, about 15 minutes, brushing down sides of pan often with pastry brush dipped in water. Mixture will be very thick. Remove from heat.

In bowl of mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt on high speed until soft peaks form. Add remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in hot coffee syrup in 2 to 3 batches. Continue to beat on high speed 4 to 5 minutes, until meringue is very thick. Using pastry bag fitted with large star tip, pipe meringue into 1-1/2-inch kisses onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake on center rack of oven 4 hours. Without opening door, turn heat off and let kisses dry in oven 2 hours longer or until crisp. Store in airtight container.

Makes about 30


Provided by:

Totally Coffee
By Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham
Coffee: $4.95, 96 pages (paperback)
Celestial Arts
ISBN 0-89087-754-8
Publication Date: January 10, 1996

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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