While many of you will be satisfied with simply drinking your coffee, if you can't get enough of your favourite caffeine source, try adding coffee to a recipe for a robust, rich, and complex taste. Researchers have found that the health benefits of coffee include improving asthma symptoms, reducing cardiovascular issues and Type 2 diabetes, and promoting the health of the liver.
You can do much more than tossing your used coffee grounds down the sink or composting them, so read on to find out how to use them effectively.
What can I cook with coffee?
The versatility of coffee as a cooking ingredient has led us to discover that there are coffee recipes for every meal throughout the day, not just for drinks and desserts.
Coffee is used in some unusual breakfast recipes, such as as a dressing for eggs or for salads, but one of our favourites is using cold brew coffee (or a spoonful of ground coffee) in a smoothie. You can also replace milk or water with coffee to make a delicious, caffeine-rich porridge.
Coffee Rub for Meat and Blackened Fish
One of the best things we have discovered is that we can use dried coffee grounds as a coffee rub to flavour meat. You can easily make this simple seasoning and use it to give meat a complex and rich taste. Additionally, you can store it in an airtight container so that you can make batches and return to it repeatedly. Using coffee rubs can enhance the flavour of steak, burgers, joints of meat, or even marinades.
You must begin by drying your used coffee grounds. Simply place your grounds on a baking sheet and spread them out into a thin layer. Then, place the baking pan in an oven at 180°C for about 5 minutes and leave to cool. After that, the grounds should be completely dry and ready for use.
Use dried coffee grounds alone or combine them with other herbs and spices to vary the taste of the food.
A delicious flavour combo is:-
1 tablespoon dried coffee grounds
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon oregano
Dry off your raw meat with a paper towel, sprinkle the seasoning on and rub in. If you are grilling or cooking your meat, follow the normal method. You should definitely give this a try to add some flavour to your meat dishes. It also works amazingly as a blackened fish rub. Try it on firm fish, like salmon and tuna.
How can I use coffee as a marinade, braising liquid or vinaigrette?
As an alternative to using coffee grounds, you could try marinating with brewed coffee instead. Adding coffee flavour to meat, fish, soya or tofu is both easy and delicious. Brew your coffee and allow it to cool before you add the remaining marinade ingredients. Then, take a bowl or ziploc bag, combine your main ingredients with the marinade and place in the fridge for several hours.
As a braising liquid, coffee also adds flavour as well as creating tender meat. You can use brewed coffee instead of, or as well as, stock or water in your pot.
Is meat not your thing? You can also use coffee in a vinaigrette for salads and vegetables. Whisk red or white wine vinegar, with a little honey and espresso, and gradually add in olive oil until you have the perfectly balanced combination for your taste. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle onto a green salad or lightly steamed vegetables.
Coffee flavoured desserts
Coffee is familiar in desserts and cakes - think of tiramisu and coffee cake - but it's a lot more versatile than that. It enhances and intensifies the chocolate flavour and has the effect of counteracting some of the sweetness of chocolate, making it an excellent addition to desserts. You can create rich, chocolatey puddings that won’t make you feel overloaded. Coffee appears in many pudding recipes, and many of our favourite ones contain alcohol as well (I wonder what that says about us?).
One really simple treat you can eat on its own (for a wonderful energy boost), or use as an adornment for desserts, is chocolate-covered coffee beans.
100g chocolate (we love Conscious Chocolate)
50g coffee beans
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
Remove from the heat and stir in the coffee beans.
Spread the chocolate covered beans over a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper / parchment paper.
Allow to cool and place in the fridge for at least an hour to chill.
If you want a thicker chocolate coating, melt more chocolate and coat the chilled chocolate covered beans in another layer of chocolate.
Does coffee already play a regular role in your cooking? Tell us about your favourite recipes. We've got one here from our coffee ambassador, Mitch Lee. His Fancy Cat Mocha biscuits are gluten-free and vegan.