Klava with Honey – Vlad Taltos series

“How do you brew klava?”

“You don’t know?”

She smiled. “I can serve it with the best, but I’ve never needed to learn how to brew it.”

“You press coffee through a filter made of eggshells and wood chips with vanilla bean, then reheat it so it almost boils, then you pass it through a cloth to remove any oils brought out by the reheating.”

-Issola, by Steven Brust


Not being an every day coffee drinker, I tend to think Turkish coffee is already superior to the average cup of morning joe. But put through this process, it transcends the bounds of ordinary beverages, and becomes something near ethereal. Each of the different flavors is discernible, from the earthiness of the woodchips to the sweet subtlety of the vanilla bean. The cream thickens the already dense coffee into a silky, decadent drink.

Fun Fact? The eggshells help decrease the bitterness of the coffee. See? Right there, you and I both learned something culinary and fascinating from fictional food. That’s why it’s so cool!

Don’t be intimidated by the list of below ingredients and equipment. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite straightforward. I’ve also included a version that is french-press friendly, because more people have those than have cezves. 

**Disclaimer: I’m not really a coffee drinker, but I thoroughly enjoyed Klava. However, if you are crazy for coffee, you may want to increase the strength of your own brew!**

Recipe for Klava

Prep time: about 10 minutes

Makes 1 (strong) mug-worth, or about 4 Turkish coffee cups-worth


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbs. Turkish coffee grounds
  • pinch of cinnamon and/or ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • cream, to taste

You’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup clean eggshells
  • 1/4 cup woodchips (hickory, cherrywood, or other would suit)
  • 1 vanilla bean, chopped roughly and crushed
Helpful Items:
  • funnel
  • mesh straining bag/clean scrap of fabric
  • a cezve (pot for making Turkish coffee)
  • mason jar

Alright. So. In a small pot, or cezve, combine the water and coffee grounds. If also adding spices, do so at this point. Place over medium-high heat and watch carefully. Heat until it froths up, then remove from heat.

In a mesh bag, combine the eggshells, woodchips, and chopped vanilla bean. Suspend this bag in the mason jar, and pour the coffee over it. Allow to steep for five minutes. Remove the mesh bag, and pour the Klava through a funnel lined with cloth. 

Klava is best served in a mug, as opposed to a glass, so it doesn’t get cold. Turkish coffee cups are also ideal serving vessels, albeit on the small side.

French Press Recipe for Klava

Makes about 2 mugs, takes about 5 minutes.

Couldn’t be easier.

I doubled the above quantities for the coffee grounds and the water, then let all the ingredients steep together in the pot before pressing down the filter. It’s a great recipe cheat for those who don’t have the cezve for making proper Turkish coffee, but are looking for a quirkier style of caffeine. 


66 thoughts on “Klava with Honey – Vlad Taltos series

    • Great question! In this case, I would say clean to your own comfort level. Unless you have large, eggy breakfasts every day, it can take some time to store up enough eggshells for this recipe. I poured boiling water over mine, then let them sit in direct sunlight for a day. I’m still here, but I know there are many who would be wary of anything remotely smacking of salmonella. 🙂

      • Good to know. Salmonella is an over-stated risk IMHO but I’ve never had anyone explain to me why egg shells in coffee work – for all I knew it depended on the small amount of egg white still on the shells.

        I guess if you’re planning ahead you can either buy pasteurized eggs exclusively or wash and disinfect your eggs before you crack and use them; salmonella is almost always from the outside of an egg, not the inside.

  1. your recipe needs a lot of work, but why not to try new thing. It might be better than the way we used to do.
    My way with Turkish coffee is adding cardamom and drink it thick in small cups.
    Thank u for your recipe.

  2. Thanks for the recipe and how-to! I think I’ve seen another version of this based on Brust’s Jhereg books, but it was a bit vague. This is much better! Looking forward to trying it.

    • Great! Please let me know how it turns out- Mine is one of those quirky houses with Turkish coffee but not the more mundane ingredients, so I’m curious to hear how it is with espresso. 🙂

  3. Wonderful! I love coffee and a new way to drink and make it is exciting. Where do you think I can get Turkish Coffee? I am in TX so it may be difficult to find here.

    • Amazon is always an easy route! I use the Mehmet Effendi brand. Barring that, you could probably fudge it with espresso. 🙂

  4. eggshell in coffee ? I’ve never heard & think about that …haha..too awesome!
    there are so much more beverages in other countries that have special hidden ingredients that I have to explore ! thanks for sharing. 🙂

      • yeah. but it’s hard for me to have vanilla bean and woodchips, those two things are not available in Malaysia. I would like to try this recipe,looking forward more amazing recipe from you, love from Malaysia. ( sorry for my bad English .)
        -Addicted to coffee.- 😉

  5. here because i am a coffee lover and appreciate a well made mug of steamy goodness 🙂 this sounds delicious, though i have to say, i’m not inclined to drink mine with milk and i love a little bitterness. but, if it is requested that it be taken a certain way, who am i to contradict the experts – bring on the carefully concocted speciality coffee! 🙂

  6. also, even if you are not a regular coffee drinker, might i suggest you try a fairtrade columbian coffee, i’ve found they can be quite bitter, but if you add sugar they generally become deliciously rich and almost creamy in viscosity 🙂 meaning that you don’t really need to add milk but still can if you wish 🙂 thank you for the lovely post! 🙂

  7. I’m not much of a coffee drinker either but I love the smell of it, and this recipe sounds incredible! Thank you for sharing it. I can’t wait to try it.

  8. While I have no qualms about eating raw egg, for some reason eggshells seem dirty to me. I wonder why that is? Great use of eggshell though. I guess I’ll just have to wash those shells and get over it.

  9. I’m not normally a coffee drinker (in fact, I’ve never had even a taste), but I think this this recipe sounds like a fun experience in itself. I also love that you gleaned it from a book. 🙂

    • As another non-coffee drinker, I can heartily recommend it. 🙂 And it turns out that pulling food from fiction, and making it real, is a wonderful and delicious adventure!

  10. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but when I do (usually after a big dinner, and too much red wine) I want it to be really good. This might have to go on the list. Congrats on being Fresh Pressed to boot!

  11. I love coffee and this is so perfect for me. Would definitely give this a try. Thanks for sharing this recipe. 😀

  12. Hmmm, that’s different, but I’m sure it’s enjoyable.

    I’m too lazy for all that. Just as happy to open a jar and take out a spoonful of coffee granules and go from there.

    I guess anyone doing it this way should be prepared to eat a lot of omelets.

    • Haha, no, not the gardening type. 🙂 You can find perfect woodchips at home brewing stores, or sometimes even at grocery stores. They are sometimes used for smoking or grilling meats. Good luck!

  13. Oh wow! Speaking as a HUGE fan of coffee, I am dying to try this out! Could you put the brewed Turkish coffee with the eggshells and wood chips in a french press to steep instead of over a mason jar in mesh cloth? It would be easier for me considering that I have a sizeable french press.

      • Even with the regular recipe, you’ll have to test until you get the taste right where you want it. Start with the same steeping time, and go on from there. Good luck!

      • Thank you! And you know what I just realized, you put the French press version at the very end. *sigh*, this is what happens when I get too excited about trying recipes… my bad! Thanks again for the great share! 😀

  14. Thanks for the post. Klava sounds interesting and the recipe. We could zap the eggshells in the microwave to sterilize them, unless doing that hurts their absorption ability as a filter.

  15. this looks magnificent, thank you! two of my favorite things in life are Steven Brust novels and Turkish coffee.

    I used to order my Turkish coffee from Natasha’s cafe (natashascafe.com), but I’m finding that more and more coffee places will grind anything you want to a Turkish grind. I was able to buy my turkish coffee pot from a local Middle Eastern restaurant, and i think they are selling the coffee now too.

  16. Hmm, that looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

    Never really thought about it, but the egg shells are made of calcium carbonate, a base-so including them should theoretically cut down on the acidity. Wonder if seashells would work as well, since they’re also made of calcium carbonate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s