German Coffee, Tea, and Cake
While the annual Oktoberfest (also called "Wiesn") has been a yearly German tradition for over 200 years, this year marks the first since 1948 that Oktoberfest is cancelled. This annual festival is normally held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. This year's festivities were schedules from September 19 to October 4. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, it is not taking place this year. (The festival has been cancelled a handful of other times as well due to Napoleon, World War, and cholera outbreaks.)
With nearly six million visitors from around the globe were expected at this year's Oktoberfest, it is the world's largest folk festival! Folk means "people" in German. When we refer to folk food, music, art, etc., we are referring to those that play a significant role in the lives of normal, every day people. And this year, everyone—including us—doesn't have forgo a Germanic celebration, we can all celebrate at home. You may want to get in the Oktoberfest food with the fun accordion music from Dale Mathis Accordion below and pour yourself and your family members appropriate Oktoberfest beverages along with a slice of kuchen.
While Bier and Schnitzel are most likely what comes to mind when you think of Oktoberfest and German food and drink in general, coffee and tea play also important roles in German food culture. At October in the Schiebl's Kaffeehaferl, sweets and coffee are served in a smaller, quieter more cozy and family friendly tent that is billed as an "oasis of calm." The tent serves coffee, tea, and other drinks along with breakfast foods, sweets, and Kuchen (coffee cakes). You can stop in here for a break any time, especially in the afternoon for a Kaffee and Kuchen time, which has been a German tradition since coffee was introduced to Germany in 1675.
German Kaffee (coffee) is normally a mild, light to medium roast coffee versus the dark roasts that many Americans are accustomed to drinking. Germans usually drink pour-over coffee that uses the coffee filters, which were invented by housewife from Minden, Germany Melitta Bentz in 1908.
Frau Bentz was in search of a better to brew coffee. The story goes that she punched holes into a brass pot, using a piece of paper to create a filter. She put the pot on a cup, filled it with ground coffee and poured the hot water over the grounds.
The pour over method has been found to be one of the healthiest ways to enjoy coffee. While coffee has been found to extend lifespan and lower the risk for type-2 diabetes. A 2014 Norwegian study found that those who drink pour over rather than coffee made in an unfiltered method, such as with a French press, had lower rates of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
While 80% of Germans are coffee drinkers, tea has also found popularity as well. In Ostfriesland (East Frisia), tea has historically been the beverage of choice for more people than even coffee or beer. Because of this, the Prussian monarchy tried to dissuade people from drinking tea by making a policy against it in 1778, which led to smuggling and secret tea parties. Due to the resistance, the monarchy gave up the ban two years later in 1780. Ostfriesentee (or East Frisian Tea) is normally strong black tea served with sugar and heavy cream.
Zitronenkuchen (Lemon Cake)
Makes 16 slices
This is a heart-healthier coffee cake that you can serve with a mild-roast coffee or tea with sugar and cream. While typical German lemon cakes are soaked in a lemon glaze, this dense but decadent cake is topped with freshly grated lemon zest and a small amount powdered sugar in its place.
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup granulated cane sugar
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
¾ unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon lemon extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ to ¼ cup powdered sugar
Berries for garnish (optional)
Lemonbalm or mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a stand mixer or large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix in yogurt, applesauce, and extracts until the batter is smooth. Pour into a greased and floured 8X8 cake or casserole pan. Grate lemon zest on to the top of the cake.
Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack and plate it. Garnish with berries and lemonbalm or mint before serving.
For other Oktoberfest ideas see my previous post, Victory Garden Cooking: Pasta mit Kürbissauce – Pasta with Squash Sauce.
As well as my following post
Further Oktoberfest Reading
Oktoberfest 2020. https://www.oktoberfest.de/ (Accessed 26 September 2020).
Our Passion Through the Years. Meltta.com.
https://www.melitta.com/en/Our-Passion-through-the-Years-628.html (Accessed 28 September 2020).
Yu, Yi-Jin. What is the healthiest way to brew coffee? You might want to reconsider your love of French press coffee. Today.com. https://www.today.com/health/what-healthiest-way-brew-coffee-t180152 (Accessed 28 September 2020).
Janae J. Almen is a professional music instructor, composer, sound artist, and writer. She has a BA in Music/Education from Judson University and a MM in Computer Music/Composition from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. She is the founder of Perennial Music and Arts and is passionate about sharing her love of music and arts.