Monday, June 27, 2011

Moer Koffie

If you're ever travelling in South Africa, and someone says to you: 
"Ek gaan jou moer!"  
make sure you either duck, run or have mad-ninja-skills because, basically, you're about to be hit really hard.

And that is indeed the verb usage of the Afrikaans word "moer".

Now what on earth, you ask, has that got to do with anything?

Well, moer is also used to describe a delicious coffee beverage that warms you from top to toes. It stems not from anything violent, but rather from the Middle Dutch noun moer which meant "a layer of sediment". This described the fact that the drink is made with coffee grounds not in a fancy coffee plunger, but rather simmered in an enamel or aluminium coffee pot on the stove or over a fire. It's served strained through a strainer, all deliciously sweet, strong, milky and addictive.

There are most probably many MANY opinions on what constitutes this traditional drink, but simple is always good, and here's my take on it.

An enamel mug (coated tin)
  • your favourite plunger coffee beans, ground 
  • filtered water
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • hot milk
  • needed: a stove-top kettle (or small saucepan) and a small strainer
  • Follow the instructions on the back of your pack of ground coffee beans for the correct water to coffee grounds ratio (as if you were making it in a plunger).
  • Add the right ratio of cold water and ground coffee to your stove top kettle or small saucepan.
  • Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Pour into a coffee cup (or traditionally, an enamel mug) through a small strainer to filter out the coffee grounds, and then sweeten using condensed milk to taste. Add hot milk to temper the coffee strength.
  • Variation: simmer the coffee WITH the condensed milk in the pot on the stove. Add cinnamon sticks for spice.
  • Enjoy with a buttermilk rusk (see recipe) for breakfast on the stoep (patio).
If you ever visit Cape Town, there's a market in Tokai called the Porter Estate Produce Market that serves moer koffie. I last blogged about it in 2009, but visited again this month, and wanted to share a couple of photos.

Cool wire art made from chicken mesh.
A tea and hot chocolate stall with a quirky design feature.
Boerenkaas (cheese) with cumin from the Constantia Cheesery.
Super cute Sally :)
The moer koffie stall...enamel pots, condensed milk and all!
The portly PEP pig logo.
Romanesco and sprouting broccoli for sale at the veggie stand.