Pharisäer: The Speciality of a nation of Coffee drinkers

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Coffee is a little more than just a hot beverage – it is a matter of culture, history and tradition in Germany. Drinking coffee has been a part of German culture since the Age of Enlightenment when the coffee houses starting becoming popular. Today, drinking coffee is a day to day affair. Thus, myriad verities of coffee and related products have come up min the market.

Pharisäer is a variety of German coffee made using rum and whipped cream. Usually, preparing Pharisäer requires the use of strong coffee, rum – ideally a Jamaican blend with 54% alcohol content, then sugar to taste and served with whipped cream on top. This drink is ideally served in a tumbler or a high cup with a saucer.

Germans and their love for Coffee

Germans love their beers and hard alcoholic drinks – this is pretty much a known fact considering the Oktoberfest and the many Karnevals of the German land. But is that all that they drink? Certainly not, Germany in-fact is the third largest importer of coffee from Indonesia. Furthermore, the most popular coffee preferred by the Germans is the Luwak. The coffee culture in Germany can be regarded as nascent and fast growing.

Drip coffee making is a popular method among the German baristas. Through this method coffee can be made much quicker and easily, furthermore, the produce also maintains the delicious flavouring. As per the sociological narratives around coffee drinking, it is also realised that the consumption of coffee is rather more preferred among the German upper classes as compared with the community as a whole. But, this formation is increasingly changing.

Among the speciality tradition of coffee making, Pharisäer is the more popular kind. Usually it contains two ounces of rum in it. While preparing Pharisäer, dark roasted coffee beans are used and then for the purpose of flavouring sugar and rum are added proportionality. Finally, whipped cream is placed over the coffee as a final touch.

The connoisseurs of coffee often tend to describe Germany as a nation of coffee drinkers. As per the figures of 2012, the amount of coffee consumed per individual was found to be 149 litres which was higher than the per capita consumption of water and beer.

Germans prefer their coffees to be mostly freshly grounded and pay extra heed to the quality of the beans used in the process. Furthermore, the younger section of the population has been increasingly consuming coffee pods in the form of instant coffees. The coffee pods have seen a steady growth of about 7% as per the 2014 figures while the competition in the coffee beans market has been steadily growing. The trends of flavoured coffee has also seen a rise and brands for example Nestle occupies the highest share of the coffee market standing at 27% as per the 2014 figures. As per the industry forecast, the German market is far from saturation and is pegged to grow even more in the coming decades. Special variants of coffee based drinks and other products are also said to rise in a similar manner.

Tea and coffee are usually consumed during the early mornings. Moreover, the first coffee houses in Germany sprung around 16th and 17th century. At that time coffee houses were places where elites would gather and indulge in intellectual discussions. Such places would reek of opulence stricken multitudes; moreover, its membership was also limited because not many could afford the drink at that time. The lower, working classes would normally indulge in varieties of malts or chicory – these were classified as fake kinds of coffees. On the other hand, the rich would have access to beans from Arabia. Similar goes the story of tea. It was also a privileged drink and it was only during the latter part of the 19th century that their prices dropped and it became open to the masses. Coffee houses are still quite a popular hangout space in Germany and the whole of Europe so much so that it has almost become the question of national identity.

Pharisäer – the origin story

Traditionally, Pharisäer is said to have come from North Frisian. Food historians have regarded 19th century to be the origin time period of Pharisäer. As the story goes there used to be an ascetic Pastor by the name of Gerog Bleyer and in accordance with the then customers of Friesen alcohol consumption was not allowed in front of the Pastor. Furthermore, it was during the Baptism of one of the children of Peter Johannsen who was a local farmer. He wanted to host a celebration and thus decided to trick everyone by mixing the drink with rum. The reason that they had whipped cream over the rum and coffee mix was so because rum would tend to evaporate when poured in hot coffee, so the whipped cream would avoid the smell from escaping the drink and therefore, any form of suspicion was avoided.

The preparation of Pharisäer


  • Strong coffee: 2 to 4 ounces
  • Sugar cubes: as per requirement
  • Rum: Jigger dark or Jamaican 1 ½ ounces or 40 millilitre.
  • Whipped cream: as per requirement

The total preparation time of the following recipe is about 5 minutes and through this process you will be able to produce 1 serving.


The following drink is served in a large sized tumbler glass. In case such a cup is unavailable then any large sized cup would suffice. The idea is to have a cup with greater height.

Take the coffee and a serving cup. Fill the cup with the coffee and sweeten it to taste with the required amount of sugar. Next you will be needed to add the rum and finally place the whipped cream over the drink and serve it immediately.

Germans are quite industrious people who have proper methods and ways of dealing with things. This is also ingrained in their eating and drinking habits. Furthermore, while having the drink you are not supposed to stir but simply take sips of it. Also, apparently, if you are observed stirring the drink then you will have to buy a round of drinks for everyone on the table.