Flower coffee is a humorous term for a very thinly brewed coffee. The term possibly comes from the fact that thinly brewed coffee is so watery and translucent that the pattern becomes visible at the bottom of the cup. In times when coffee was a luxury product and few could afford it, good coffee was often stretched, diluted, or replaced with similar-tasting alternatives such as chicory coffee or malt coffee. This type of coffee is sometimes pejoratively referred to as "plörre" or "lorke."
There are several possible explanations for the origin of the term. One plausible explanation states that coffee substitute made from blue-flowered chicory was called Blümchenkaffee. Nowadays, however, the term Blümchenkaffee is often interpreted differently, especially in connection with the coffee culture in the region of Saxony. There, coffee was often drunk from Meissen porcelain, and during the Biedermeier period, a popular porcelain series featured the "Gestreute Blümchen" design. This design included a single flower at the bottom of the porcelain cup. When this flower could show through due to the thin coffee, it was referred to as Blümchenkaffee. According to the Leipzig Coffee House, the term has been used since 1729 to describe a particularly thin coffee. It is often used pejoratively, suggesting stinginess, as the host's expensive china contrasts sharply with the sparing use of coffee powder to make the drink.