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  1. #1
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    A Google search for why add salt to coffee brings up much discussion about adding salt to coffee. It makes it sweeter/less bitter/saltier/last longer/awful etc depending on some function of the number of letters in a person's name and the number of days since last they posted anything anywhere.

    My guess is that this is a bit of an urban myth, but that it might have its origins in chemistry or physics.

    I recall that adding a trace of NaCl to water raises the boiling point; same sort of syllogism for salting snowy streets, a nice bit of alliteration, even if I say so myself.

    If so, perhaps an early cooking pioneer hit on adding a trace of salt to the water, prior to throwing in a handful of coffee-grounds, to raise the temperature of the water beyond normal boiling point (for that altitude), and that this somehow got translated into "add a pinch of salt to the coffee".

    Any takers?

  2. #2
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    In the lean post-WW II years, people here in The Netherlands often added salt (cheap) because it allowed them to use less coffee (expensive). I don't it's common practice any more.

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    [quote name='chrisgreaves' post='780081' date='16-Jun-2009 10:36']A Google search for why add salt to coffee brings up much discussion about adding salt to coffee. It makes it sweeter/less bitter/saltier/last longer/awful etc depending on some function of the number of letters in a person's name and the number of days since last they posted anything anywhere.

    My guess is that this is a bit of an urban myth, but that it might have its origins in chemistry or physics.

    I recall that adding a trace of NaCl to water raises the boiling point; same sort of syllogism for salting snowy streets, a nice bit of alliteration, even if I say so myself.

    If so, perhaps an early cooking pioneer hit on adding a trace of salt to the water, prior to throwing in a handful of coffee-grounds, to raise the temperature of the water beyond normal boiling point (for that altitude), and that this somehow got translated into "add a pinch of salt to the coffee".

    Any takers?[/quote]

    Hi Chris,

    My Mom was an avid coffee drinker and she always put salt in with the coffee grounds when brewing the coffee. She swore that it made the coffee taste better. I also used to scuba dive with a guy that did the same thing for the same reason. Not being much of a coffee drinker I can not say one way or the other.
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  4. #4
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    [quote name='HansV' post='780095' date='16-Jun-2009 10:54']added salt (cheap) because it allowed them to use less coffee (expensive)[/quote]
    I agree that a pinch of salt can add to the perceived taste of a product.
    I have been known to eat a bowl of steamed basmati rice sprinkled ONLY with salt & pepper, when I'm lazy, or in a hurry, or need just a light snack at lunch time because I'm eating out at night.
    For me the salt is a bit-of-a-treat, and gives what would otherwise be gut-filling a sense of delight.

    The web dialogues seemed to come down either side of the issue on whether salt actually made the coffee taste better (perhaps not the major concern of the WWII inhabitants).

    Of course, any time we get into non-quantified measurements (" a pinch of salt", 'a bit of salt"), some fool is going to up-end the jar .....

  5. #5
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    .......some fool is going to up-end the jar .....

    Well golly gee, no wonder my coffee tasted horrible this morning.........
    Just kidding.........


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  6. #6
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    [quote name='chrisgreaves' post='780324' date='17-Jun-2009 12:51']The web dialogues seemed to come down either side of the issue on whether salt actually made the coffee taste better (perhaps not the major concern of the WWII inhabitants).[/quote]
    Hi Chris,

    One thing to remember is that back then, due to rationing, regular coffee grounds were in short supply so they were often mixed with or replaced by Chicory. I have heard from a number of older folks I know that were around then that they would add salt to the chicory only or chicory mixed coffee due to the taste. At the same time I have other friends that say they like the taste of chicory coffee. A matter of taste I would say
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  7. #7
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    Many cooks will tell you:
    Sometimes salt is used in small quantities to enhance other flavors, even when you can't taste the salt.
    But is needs to be added before brewing.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  8. #8
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    [quote name='chrisgreaves' post='780324' date='17-Jun-2009 18:51']Of course, any time we get into non-quantified measurements (" a pinch of salt", 'a bit of salt"), some fool is going to up-end the jar .....[/quote]
    For me ‘quantum satis’ is OK. However, in this case qs=0.

    Coffee+salt

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    [quote name='DaveA' post='780501' date='18-Jun-2009 11:10'][/quote]
    I remember, as a kid, when my Mother made coffee, as well as salt she also added about a half teaspoon of dry mustard.
    I have no idea why, but the coffee was good.
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