What is Rudesheimer Coffee
Updated: Mar 20
If you’re already on an epic, long-awaited river-cruise vacation, why not indulge in an epic cup of coffee? Move over, Keurig, or even your local coffee shop back home. While you can surely return to your favorite routine and haunt upon returning to the States, while in Germany, you absolutely must try Rudesheimer coffee - a specialty coffee that was actually added to the city’s list of historical highlights in 1957. How can you say no to that? What makes it iconic? Read on …
Rudesheimer coffee can trace its roots back to the late 19th century when the Asbach brandy (that’s the secret ingredient!) used in the beverage was created here by Hugo Asbach. The brandy is famous on its own these days and is the special touch for which Rudesheimer coffee is known. It was actually German television host Hans Karl Adam that had the superb idea to add Asbach brandy to his coffee, which led to the combination’s popularity over the decades.
Here’s how you’ll know you’re drinking the real thing. Regular (or decaf, if that’s more your speed) black coffee is mixed with three cubes of sugar and Asbach brandy. Some coffee houses also offer cognac or Armagnac, but I would suggest seeking out the local Asbach. It’s topped with a generous helping of thick whipped cream, vanilla sugar and a smattering of dark chocolate shavings. If you’ve opted for the caffeinated version, this will surely give you enough kick to keep sightseeing for hours.
While similar in some ways to Irish coffee, a Rudeisheimer cup ‘o joe is distinctly German. It’s served in a traditional Rudesheim coffee mug - without handles - and presented with some pomp and circumstance (if you have the right waiter). They’ll light it with a match upon serving so you can watch as the sugar dissolves. What’s more, you’re enjoying your classic hot beverage in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rudesheim, long known as one of the most scenic parts of the Rhine River and beloved for its picturesque terraced vineyards. It’s a winning combo!
If you’re river cruising along the Rhine during the winter months, add Rudesheim coffee to your lengthy list of warm beverages to ward off the chill. There’s Gluhwein, rich hot chocolate and more waiting around every bend in the river. And, even in the warm summer months, you can still enjoy a traditional Rudesheim coffee - iced - or a Rudesheim coffee espresso.
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Care to recreate the classic Rudesheimer coffee at home? Here’s how:
1 ⅓ oz. Asbach Uralt (a dry, aged brandy such as Cognac, Armagnac or Brandy de Jerez will do)
3 sugar cubes
Brewed coffee (regular or decaf)
Decoration: whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, vanilla sugar
How to Make It
Put three sugar cubes in a coffee cup. Add 1 ⅓ ounces of well-heated Asbach Uralt and light with a long match.
Stir with a long-stemmed spoon so that the sugar dissolves well and allow it to burn for about 1 minute.
Top off to just about an inch below the edge of the cup with hot coffee.
Put a generous helping of whipped cream, sweetened with vanilla sugar, on top and add dark chocolate sprinkles.
Tip: Heat the brandy in a microwave-safe container for 1 minute at 600 watts or over hot water.
(Recipe shared courtesy of AmaWaterways)