Rice coffee or the tale of the tail

Rice Coffee! Creamy beverage rich with foamy, nutty aroma!

When a Croatian child wants to drink coffee, his parents will most probably tell him: „Don’t! Or you’ll grow yourself a tail.“ That’s what I’ve been told, that’s what I heard being told to children all over the country in the last, ahem, few decades of my life. „Don’t drink coffee, or you’ll get a tail on your behind“. I told that to my children also. There’s really something magical in a coffee cup. For kids never stop trying to smudge their little faces in it.

Now. I have never seen anyone actually getting a tail. I don’t know who and when thought of it in the first place, but it seems to be working, that little warning. For awhile, that is, they surely stop. Because there must be something magical in those black little cups that draws little kids to itself so strongly. Now really. Does coffee smell or tastes fruity, gummy, candyish, vanillish or? See what I mean?

In a similar way, my father has ‘cured’ a substantial number of kids from suckling their thumbs. „Don’t suck your thumb“, he would say calmly, „or water will be pouring from that finger of yours“. And somehow, they would stop for good. I really don’t know whether the idea of water pouring from a finger like from a faucet is so intimidating, repulsive or what, but they would stop.  And it seems that that silly sentence has a much stronger impact than the danger of growing yourself a tail.

Because coffee IS magical.

Well, now. Rice coffee is a Philippino invention, made as an alternative to once very expencive coffee. And everywhere it’s the same recipe: toast your rice, ground it, make coffee with it. Or rather, make a rice beverage that could resemble coffee. Rather. I’m calling it rice coffee because it’s already known by that name. Just because of that.

It’s all the matter of expectations, I guess. If you’re up to make something that is „not really that something but replacing or substituting or wanting to look like that something thing“, erm… don’t. Because, if you want coffee and this surely isn’t and you go all wired up to „let’s have coffe that is not coffee“ and toast a big batch of rice and get your house all smoking and smelling nutty and roasty and you pour that steaming, dark and creamy beverage in your cup and taste it… and it’s not coffee, you’ll get angry. With me, or worse, with yourself.

So don’t expect coffee, and you’ll be surprised how nice and tasty and rich this simple beverage is! It has a rich, nutty and roasty aroma, it’s beautiful, foamy and delicious from the bottom to the top of the cup! Further more, it also leaves some residue on the bottom of the cup so you can go fortune telling like from turnedover cup of coffee. How about that, you say?

Also, you can have it in the late afternoon and evening and not be in danger of getting Pokemon eyes and popeyeing around the house in 3am from all of that caffeine in your system. You can sip something nice and not having to go wee all night as much as you would if you had 4 cups of tea because you like to sip something nice. And you won’t be sipping 4 cups of rice coffee. Just one, or maybe two.

And the most important thing: when kids ask you for a sip of this coffee, you can let them have a sip. And they won’t grow tails on their little behinds. I promise.

Rice coffee
makes 6 – 8 small coffee cups

150 g/3/4 c rice
500 ml/2 c boiled water

On a low to medium heat toast rice in a skillet. Stirr all the time, shake the skillet if it’s easier for you. Rice should get dark brown. This could take 20 – 30 mins. After first 15 mins it will seam that nothing’s happening and the rice is reached it’s golden brown colour, but that’s not finnished yet, just keep stirring. Then all of a sudden rice will get darker and smoke will start to raise. Then it’s done. Remove from heat, transfer to other pot or bowl to cool down a bit. Once cooled, grind rice beans in a mortar or food processor till you get fine powder. For the beverage: boil the water. For every small coffee cup (60 ml/1/4 c) take 1 heaping teaspon of grinded toasted rice and pour boiled water over it. You can run the liquid through a strainer if you want. Add sweetener and/or milk to your taste. Serve immediately. Keep leftower rice powder in an airtight container.

*There are many different ways of making rice coffee. Most people steep rice powder like tea or pour water into the coffee filter. I don’t have that kind of filter and steeping didn’t work well. Maybe it’s the rice or I was impatient, or it’s just that I’m too used to make coffee in Armenian way like Heghineh does. She puts coffee and water in džezva (coffee cooking pot), brings it to a boil and that’s it.

Coffee is magical, right?

Rice Coffee! Creamy beverage rich with foamy, nutty aroma!



You may also like


  1. I really like your story. I’ve already told you that I love the way you write. In Croatian. Now, I want to tell you that you are truly amazing storyteller in English, too. Hope we will enjoy together on a nice book promotion event. Here, there, somewhere…

    1. My Kate, my soul sister 🙂 Thank you. You’ve been so suportive since my first posts back on Mirisna teka and now too, Thank you. And as for the book… from your lips to God’s ears, as they say, but whatever the reason, we’ll sure have some of your delicious bundtcakes along! And coffee, of course 😉

  2. Wow, at first I thought this was something realy complicated or that there was some kind of ‘secret recipe’….I’m glad I was wrong 😀
    I’ll have to try this….

    1. Thank you, Marina! Yes, not much work nor complicated procedure here and yet the result is very rewarding. Try and let me know what you think! 🙂

  3. I’ve never come across rice coffee but now I’m thinking that it may be good for me as presumably, it’s caffeine-free? I love coffee but the caffeine gives me a really bad stomach ache and the shakes! I’ll be trying this very soon!

    Where in Croatia are you, Mari? I usually spend Oct-Dec in Rijeka, before heading back to Slovenia for the winter! I adore Croatia, it’s such a beautiful country. And of course, Croats (in my experience) are warm and lovely people!

    1. Thank you 🙂 I’m in Zagreb, Nico. So if you find yourself here, I would gladly share a cup of what ever coffee you would like. This rice coffee is without caffeine, rice doesn’t have it. So it’s great to enjoy a cup or two and without any stress! So let me know how you like it 🙂

      1. I’m definitely going to give this a go, Mari!

        I wish I’d known you sooner, I spent a month in Zagreb last August, before heading over to Rijeka. If I find myself there again, I’ll let you know! xx

        1. We’ll meet, Nico, I’m sure. And looking forward to it! It’s such a great thing to meet such great people like you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *