The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White



I keep getting asked if klava is real, and if so, how do you make it?

No, it isn’t real, but people have been working on it. The problem is the wood chips, which tend to increase the bitterness, and the whole idea behind it is to remove the bitterness (I’m one of those unfortunate people with an over-sensitivity to bitter; it’s why I hate most of the really good beers).

Now, one individual says he’s actually made it work, and even sent me the recipe plus all of the ingredients to test it out, and, to my shame, I got lazy and never got around to it. But if that person wants to come forward, I’ll put that recipe here, and then stick this post onto the sidebar.



Author: skzb

I play the drum.


  1. A few years ago someone had asked this on About and I found a couple of recipes. I don’t drink coffee, so I’ve no idea if these are good or not, but at least no one died from them as near as I can tell, here are a couple of klava recipes:
    This first page has a number of recipes from dishes mentioned in the books that sound tasty:
    Recipes from Valabar’s in Colorado

    Klava with Honey from the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust

    Here’s the Adrilankha Gift Shop where you can get the original recipe on mugs and such.

  2. When I did a Night at Valabar’s for a friend’s birthday, I adapted the Mexican Cafe de Olla served at our local Fonda, because it tastes like coffee smells.

  3. Good to know. I work with wood and all that I have tasted (sawdust) are bitter or unpleasant. Many woods are toxic, evolved to kill the bugs that try to eat them. I was wondering if Vlad had found a special wood that tasted nice. Maybe only in Adrilankha?

    The women preparing Swedish coffee put an egg with the broken shell in the coffee. The shell removes the bitterness and the egg clarifies the brew.

    Thanks for the info.

  4. I do know old school cowboy coffee used egg shells to lower the surface tension of the water and keep the coffee grounds on the bottom, that was my grandfather’s trick.

    The best method for a no-bitter coffee is a cold brew. It very easy. Take twice the normal amount of coffee grounds and put in a jar with a wide lid. (Like a peanut butter jar or mason jar) Add the cold water then let it sit with the lid on for 12-24 hours (set up the night before or after each time you drink it in the morning) When you are ready to drink it, pour through a coffee filter and put in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until hot enough to drink but do not let it boil. That’s it! Don’t put sugar or cream in until after you taste it, the bitterness is gone and sugar might make it much sweeter than you want it.

  5. skzb

    Well, one of the woods is cinnamon, so…

  6. My suspicion is that there was a translation error from the original recipe. Rather than pouring the coffee through the various woods, the step should have been:
    Discard coffee. Brew roots and barks and allow to ferment for carbonation.

    Then it becomes a delicious root beer recipe!

  7. Maybe vanilla beans are woods?

  8. Steve H –
    That last recipe “Klava with honey from the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust” looks like it would work pretty well, actually.

    And I can kind of work my mind around how it would fit into the process as described by SKZB. The bit with suspending the mesh bag with the stuff in it to steep and then filtering it through a cloth in a funnel kinda resembles the bits about pressing klava.

  9. Anything even loosely resembling coffee carbonation *shudder* I doubt I can help with the foundation of the klava question, in that I like some bitterness. (Don’t ask how long I steep tea.)

    I do have an unrelated-to-klava question.

    I ran into this blog, not precisely by accident (for I was searching for related information), but without originally seeking or knowing of a blog. I rarely post in most comment sections anymore, for much the same reason I have no use for Twitter, Facebook, television news, and the like — but reading back, I discovered a post and comment thread of just over a year ago (“Why Trump”) to which I did wish to answer and had constructed a response you (all of you) may find of interest. I have tried twice to post it, without success. Are comments to older posts automatically disabled?

  10. skzb

    Carbonation? I’m not sure how that got into the conversation.

    As for the other, my blog decided it was spam–maybe because of the length. I’ve now rescued it and it’s up.

  11. The carbonation isn’t in the recipes—a small attempt at a joke on my part.
    If one likes the underlying flavor of coffee, the recipes sound pretty good.

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