Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Jul

Primal Egg Coffee: The Best Part of Waking Up?

eggcoffeeBulletproof coffee has taken the paleo world by storm. Not me, though.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for people dropping grass-fed butter and coconut/MCT oil into their high-quality coffee, blending it all up into a high-octane mug of frothiness, but I just can’t get into it. If we’re talking coffee additives, I prefer my butter in the form of cream. That’s me. I definitely see the appeal of it, though, and I’m sold on the merits of the drink and its components. It’s just not for me.

However, the idea of adding non-traditional fatty food items to coffee intrigued me, so I decided to explore other options. Eventually, I landed on eggs.

Why eggs?

Egg yolks are excellent emulsifiers. There’s the egg yolk lecithin, a famous emulsifier, plus several different egg yolk proteins with emulsification properties. Good yolks are prized by top chefs around the world primarily for their emulsifying ability. Egg yolks smooth out sauces, salad dressings, and relations between bitter enemies like oil and water. That’s right: egg yolks are the great unifiers of the food world. Throw some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into a bowl, whisk it all together, and you’ll have a lovely stratified bowl of fluids of different shades. Oh, they might appear to blend together into a dressing for a second or two, but once you look away, the old immutable divisions will rear their heads and the dressing will disappear. Add an egg yolk or two, though? You’ll get a silky smooth salad dressing that remains so for time immemorial.

If you don’t have a blender but still want a smooth, creamy coffee drink, hand-frothing an egg yolk with a fork or whisk will get you there. Hand-frothing butter and coconut oil requires vigorous labor and may not even achieve full emulsification.

Eggs are incredible sources of micronutrients. While I love grass-fed butter, cream, and coconut oil, they aren’t exactly micronutrient-dense. The best butter contains beneficial nutrients like vitamin A, omega-3s, vitamin K2, and butyric acid, while coconut oil is a unique source of medium chain triglycerides, but for the most part we eat those foods because they are sources of stable, healthful saturated fats. They provide energy. Egg yolks, on the other hand, are baby bird building blocks. They contain everything you need to build an entire working animal from scratch – all the vitamins, minerals, protein, and fatty acids that make life work. And, if you get a pastured egg – which you should if you know what’s good for (and your omelets) – your yolk will be supercharged, with extra choline, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin K2, omega-3 fats, vitamin D, and beta-carotene from all the bugs and greens the chickens ate.

I love eggs, particularly the yolks, and enjoy adding them to everything. They’re a solid, dependable, go-to breakfast item, they’re good for you, and they taste great. What more can you want? That’s why they ended up on my list of foods I couldn’t live without, and that’s why they ended up in my coffee. In the end, I just love eggs, and since I already add them to just about everything, I figured “why not coffee?”

Are there any potential problems with adding eggs to coffee?

Oxidation springs to mind. Not only are you subjecting egg yolks to heat, you’re also whipping oxygen into them. It seems like the perfect storm of lipid oxidation, no?

I’m actually not too worried. First of all, the coffee really isn’t very hot. It’s well under boiling.

Second, coffee is a rich source of antioxidants – you know, those things whose primary job is to prevent oxidation. Whereas bathing fragile fats in a boiling bath of water might promote oxidation, coffee is essentially an antioxidant-rich broth. Marinating meats in herbs, wine, and citrus juice seems to prevent oxidation, and I’d bet that coffee can have similarly protective effects. Drinking coffee sure protects LDL particles from oxidation via incorporation of coffee polyphenols into said LDL particles; why wouldn’t coffee polyphenols frothed up with egg yolk offer similar protections to egg phospholipids?

Third, the actual blending/frothing only takes place for a few seconds. It’s relatively short-lived, probably not long enough to be a problem.

Fourth, the vitamin E in egg yolks is there to prevent oxidation. It’s quite good at it. Coincidentally, this is why you should get pastured eggs if possible. The yolks of pastured eggs contain upwards of four times the vitamin E found in standard battery egg yolks.

What about raw egg white’s tendency to bind biotin? Raw egg whites have the well-publicized ability to bind biotin (found in the yolk) and prevent its absorption. Luckily, the binding ability of avidin begins to break down at 158 ºF (70 ºC) and is almost completely degraded at 185 ºF (85 ºC). Since coffee is ideally brewed with water running between 190 and 200 ºF, the finished product should be able to keep avidin from binding your biotin.

But why eggs and coffee?

I stumbled upon something I had never heard of until recently – Vietnamese Egg Coffee – and decided to experiment in the kitchen.

Now, let’s get right to the recipes themselves. As you’ll see, they’re not all that complex. You’re basically just adding eggs or egg yolks to coffee. Still, though, read on to see exactly how I did it.

Primal Egg Yolk Coffee

I did a little playing around with this and tried several different recipes. In the end, I think I came up with a solid recipe. Ingredients:

beans
  • 1 1/2 cup (350 ml) coffee
  • 3 pastured egg yolks
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of salt

First, I brewed the coffee (35 grams of coffee beans – I used a light roast, single-origin bean) in a French press. Dumped the grinds in, added about 350 ml of water, gave it a quick stir, covered it, and let it sit for three minutes. Meanwhile, I separated the yolks from the whites. Once the coffee was ready, I dumped it in a blender, set it to “low,” and dropped in the yolks. After a few seconds, I added a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt (around a quarter teaspoon) and let it blend a bit more. Then, I poured it, admired the head of foam, and got to drinking.

I tried fewer yolks and found the brew too thin. I tried more yolks and found it to be unnecessary. Three yolks was perfect. If you want to switch things up, you can add something a little sweet like I did. I added my usual teaspoon of sugar, plus a quarter teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt. Honey, maple syrup, or stevia should all work well, too. The salt may sound odd, but trust me: it just works as long as you use a little sweetness to counterbalance it.

Primal Whole Egg Coffee

Think of this as a whole foods-based protein shake. Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) coffee
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt

I started by beating the eggs together, whole, as if you were making scrambled eggs. You could also blend them. For a 1 cup dose of coffee, I did two whole eggs. Once the eggs are beaten or blended, slowly drizzle in the coffee. You don’t want to cook the eggs. You want them to stay creamy. If you’re really concerned about the avidin in the raw white, dump the coffee in to ensure maximal heat exposure. Otherwise, just drizzle.

I think a higher egg:coffee ratio (using a large shot of espresso, for example) for a stronger coffee flavor would work really well. Also, two eggs in this recipe created a nice and creamy concoction. I suspect three eggs might even be better.

Again, I added a little sweetener plus some salt. It made the coffee taste a bit like a liquified custard. Really, really tasty.

Adding Other Ingredients

I also tried out a few other additions to the brews, to see how they meshed with the eggs. Consider adding these:

  • Cinnamon – Goes great with coffee, provides insulin sensitizing benefits.
  • Turmeric – Anti-inflammatory spice, works well with cinnamon.
  • Vanilla – Tastes good, smells better. May have anti-inflammatory effects. Also works well with cinnamon (but not so much with turmeric).
  • Butter and coconut oil – If you dig Bulletproof coffee, adding egg yolks makes it even better.

Use Caution!

In the course of research for this post, I ingested five eggs plus five extra yolks along with several cups of moderately strong coffee. I don’t know if it was just an excessive amount of coffee or if the caffeine was potentiated by the phospholipids in the yolks, but I felt like I was under the influence of… something. Although it was a good feeling, a productive feeling, to be sure, I could see it getting out of hand if taken too far. This is potent stuff. A cup or two is probably ideal, at least for me.

“Sugar – really?”

Don’t worry about a little sugar, even the white stuff. The amount I added, a teaspoon, is just four grams of sucrose. And, if you use an actual food like honey or maple syrup, which have different (improved) metabolic effects compared to plain white sugar, the potential downsides of ingesting sugar are lessened even more. Besides, you can always use a non-caloric sweetener like stevia, which has its own set of benefits.

Since writing this article a few weeks back, I’ve begun rotating egg yolk coffee into my morning routine. I don’t have it every day, but do have it several times a week, particularly if I have a busy day ahead of me where optimal productivity is required. Whole egg coffee seems to work well pre-workout, boosting energy, motivation, and providing a nice source of branched-chain amino acids for the training ahead.

What about you, folks? Want to give this a shot? Ever tried this yourself? Got any tips to improve my recipes? If you do try it, let me know in the comment section how it works out!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I know this post is a bit old, but I was so happy to find it! I will admit that I LOVE bulletproof coffee – it’s the only coffee I can drink black, but it’s pricey so it’s more of a treat. I also LOVE eggs and feel the need to make a creamy coffee concoction every morning in my vitamix. I recently threw an egg in the vitamix with my coffee just to see what would happen. I later added a little bulletproof whey. I always add ceylon cinnamon, vanilla extract, and a little stevia. I’ve used this recipe for other types of coffee besides BP and just love it every time. It helped me replace toxic coffeemate creamer (which I was addicted to for years). So glad to see that I’m not crazy and that eggs and coffee do go together! :)

    Christina Hauri wrote on January 14th, 2014
  2. Just wondering if anyone else found this a bit a bit slimy? (i tried the two whole eggs stirred like I’m scrambling then slowly added in)

    thought the flavour was great and creamy enough – in fact tasted like my usual slightly milky coffee, but the residual ‘raw egg’ slime on my lips every mouthful made me gag at every mouthful (and every time i thought about it for the rest of the day!!)

    wondering if i should take a more ‘mayonnaise’ approach and emulsify it using the blender and for longer…??

    any tips to fix or combat the slimy-ness revulsion??

    Ta

    Trixie wrote on January 20th, 2014
    • I just use one egg and blend it with butter and coconut oil, blend just about 10 seconds to emulsify and no slimy-ness. LOTS of froth tho.

      2Rae wrote on January 26th, 2014
  3. love this, sooo filling, good on days, when I don’t want to eat solids. I added some coconut milk though (cause I love coconut and add it everywhere).

    doriux wrote on January 26th, 2014
  4. A word of caution here!

    I recently adopted this practice of adding a whole raw egg to my almond-milk mocha every day. It was delicious! I started about ten weeks ago.

    Over the same time period, chronic joint pain in my knees, hands, hips, etc. started insidiously creeping over me. It hurts to sit and stand, and to use my hands.

    I woke up with a light-bulb moment the other day, realizing that there could be a correlation between my joint pain and the raw eggs. I researched it and sure enough — apparently it is very easy for raw egg white to cross the digestive barriers (as in “leaky gut syndrome”), allowing protein fragments to break off into the bloodstream where they are transported around the body and deposited into joint tissue. There, they set up an auto-immune reaction as the body tries to rid itself, manifested in chronic pain and inflammation.

    So, beware! Perhaps the problem wouldn’t be the same if I had separated the eggs and used yolks only, as in the first recipe, but it seemed both wasteful and too much trouble, first thing in the morning. But I have eliminated the eggs, and in only two days time, my joint pain is subsiding.

    Lisa Logan wrote on February 23rd, 2014
  5. Yum. Raw eggs with coffee….
    Try Coffee with a little Trinidad or Venezuela ponche de Creme (raw eggs, dairy, rum) . Ultimate!

    Offspring of Eve wrote on April 19th, 2014
  6. I tweaked your Egg Yolk Coffee recipe a bit. I used only 1 yolk, and I added a Tbsp of Grass-fed butter. Everything else was exactly the same. I blended it up in my VitaMix till it was nice and frothy. It came out like the best latte I have ever had (Paris: May 13, 2004). No joke; it was that good. So I poured it into a bowl & sipped it, pretending I was in Paris.

    Caitlin Dent wrote on April 21st, 2014
  7. Green coffee bean extract by far has become of the biggest news makers in the field of health and wellness today. It is considered by many as the total fat buster because of the various health benefits that it contains. It came from raw green coffee beans. Scientists have found out that raw green coffee beans contain an organic compound called Chlorogenic acid which could greatly affect your body’s metabolism.

    coffee wrote on June 2nd, 2014
  8. I don’t understand why you want the egg in your coffee.

    I’d rather just have a normal breakfast of coffee with heavy cream, and an egg cooked in a pan with some coconut oil over some fresh kale. That gets me going in the morning pretty well.

    Benzo wrote on June 18th, 2014
  9. After reading a more recent post on Cardamom I decided to try Primal Egg coffee. I’ve been a Bulletproof Coffee guy for some time now–adding local or kerrygold butter and MCT oil to my coffee. This morning, feeling a little low on fuel because of a late night, I added three pasture-raised egg yolks and 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric to 2 tablespoons grass fed butter and 1 tablespoon of MCT oil.

    Wow.

    Quite a kick. Loved it. Tomorrow I will add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Always nice to change up the routine.

    C L Deards wrote on June 24th, 2014
  10. Just ran across this. It will be tomorrow’s test breakfast.

    Don in Arkansas wrote on June 27th, 2014
  11. My favorite use of extra egg whites is to make a lovely chocolate moose. Way less sugar than ice cream and so satisfying. If I make a moose and have left over egg yolks – then it is Cream Brule the next night. One love. (maybe two)

    Bruce wrote on June 28th, 2014
  12. It’s absolutely delicious! I’m squeamish about raw egg whites (the texture) but couldn’t resist trying to knock out the caffeine and breakfast need in one go. So I made just a small taster with one egg, hot, not boiling coffee, half tsp rapadura and um yeah – a big fat blob of raw cream. Then I blended it and then I fainted from the deliciousosity.

    I wash my eggs all at once when i purchase them, in a warm water with a drop of iodine in it. I think those are Sally Fallon instructions, or perhaps Nina Planck.

    Byrnsey wrote on June 30th, 2014
  13. After spending all day yesterday sick with a migraine, I didn’t have much in my stomach – so thought I’d start my day trying out the primal coffee recipe. Love it – I think this is just what I needed. Used the two eggs, about a teaspoon and a half of my usual MCT oil, a bit of turmeric, cinnamon and coconut sugar. Left out the salt. Whipped the eggs with my immersion blender before drizzling into my coffee. What a treat! I’ve been drinking my coffee for weeks now with just MCT oil and a bit of coconut sugar. Gotten used to no cream, but this is a lovely replacement.

    leftbrainfemale wrote on July 9th, 2014
  14. I was just reading a novel published in 1904 in which the author described making coffee with eggs in it, while camping. I was intrigued by this and started searching for recipes and information Becasue I had never heard of this before. And I found this. No surprise I guess that the bulletproof coffee crowd would go the egg route. But apparently this practice has a long history!

    Anathema wrote on July 13th, 2014
  15. I recently started adding Primal Fuel, vanilla, to my coffee as a quick and healthy creamer. I had noticed I was wanting more & more cream in my coffee over time, and it was hindering my weight loss efforts. So I tried this. As hard as it is to blend, cold, in a shaker, it turns out Primal Fuel dissolves quite well in hot drinks! Who knew??

    I experimented a little & discovered I like it best with a teaspoon of CO & a little milk (not cream) added. Odd, because I’ve always absolutely DETESTED the taste of regular milk in coffee. Go cream or go home! But with PF, it’s great.

    The one scoop of vanilla PF I add, along with the CO, is enough to give a sense of fullness, with the bonus of 10 grams of protein before I even have breakfast. As it cools a little, the coffee actually thickens a little. If I let it get cold, it’s like a soft-set pudding! I actually like that once in a while, but prefer it hot.

    Now I’m looking for a nice, low container that will hold a substantial amount of my paleo “creamer” that needs no refrigeration (great for travel!), so I can avoid reaching way down into the PF bag & getting dusty.

    This is a delicious, rich coffee drink. A little like a hot smoothie but way better than that probably sounds, lol

    MimiDiet wrote on July 24th, 2014
  16. UPDATE on using Primal Fuel as coffee creamer (non-frankenfood style):

    I usually make mine half coffee, half hot milk, a scoop of PF, & a teaspoon of CO. With a moderately-vigorous stir, this dissolves well & tastes VERY GOOD.

    This morning I tried just using the PF in my coffee. Did not dissolve well! Lots of tiny, unstirrable microlumps. Added a little cream, a little help, CO, no help.

    The taste is NOT very good. I usually detest regular milk in my coffee, but in this recipe, I find it a must.

    Just wanted to share, in case anyone else is trying to get a little healthy fat & protein into their coffee, without a load of cream…for those of us who, like me, find our weight loss is strongly inhibited by dairy.

    MimiDiet wrote on July 25th, 2014
  17. I’ve been making this recently with whole duck eggs and it’s super delicious. I add 1 Tbsp MCT oil, a little salt, vanilla extract, and some combination of ginger, cloves, and cardamom.

    Susannah wrote on July 29th, 2014
  18. I’m doing my own research since the time I stumbled on Egg Coffee and your article is very informative, especially with all the chemical compositions and reactions of the ingredients. Will be trying some versions of the egg coffee soon :)

    Cheers

    Suraj wrote on July 30th, 2014
  19. Egg coffee fits the bill! I’ve recently added eggs back into my diet as I learn more about the primal lifestyle. Not being a huge meat-eater, my naturopath, a strong advocate of primal eating, advised me to eliminate the protein powderI was using and rely on real protein like eggs. She also noted the necessity of heating the egg whites. When I looked up this blog, the egg coffee was perfect. As I was minimizing dairy, it solves a duo issue — needing more protein and relying less on cream. In addition to the cinnamon and turmeric Mark suggested, I also add some cocoa powder, along with maple syrup (Canadian, eh?) for a mocha egg coffee. My naturopath hadn’t heard of bulletproof or egg coffee but was eager to try it as she doesn’t use cream either and missed having coffee.

    To create a smoothie, instead of coffee, I just use hot water in its place to heat the eggs, add a very small frozen banana, maybe some frozen berries (sometimes cocoa powder) and ice and voila — egg smoothie! In a month I was weaned off the protein powder and can now add that $$$ to the budget for free-range eggs and grass-fed beef.

    Kuhlrunning wrote on August 23rd, 2014

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