How To Cook With Coffee - Tips & Recipes for Cooking with Coffee

How To Cook With Coffee - Tips & Recipes for Cooking with Coffee

Posted by Mark Bentham, The Coffee Man on 20th Mar 2019

Our regular morning ritual, shared by 75% of Aussies, to enjoy a cup of beautiful coffee every morning is a much enjoyed, often shared and almost essential part of life as we know it. The smell of a freshly brewed cup is an instant pick me up, and the health benefits of coffee are well documented.

If you are a coffee lover or a kitchen enthusiast, don’t stop at just drinking your favourite coffee – try cooking with coffee!

Make sure you check out our FREE E-Book - "11 Awesome Uses For Old Coffee Grounds" also!

Why cook with coffee?

It is a fabulous meat tenderiser.
It breaks down the fibres in strong meat proteins and creates a more tender product to work with. Like marinades such as citric fruits (lemon, lime, orange) it will not only make the meat more tender but will add a subtle flavour.

Flavour enhancer.
Being that our Western style food is very salty and sweet oriented, we tend to miss out on the other flavour spectrums such as sour and bitter. Our tongues have been created so that they have 4 areas to pick up each of the main flavours – sweet, sour, salty, bitter; and this may suggest we are meant to enjoy all the flavours in our diet for health benefits and wellbeing.

Asian food is often prepared using the whole flavour spectrum in every dish to hit all goals taste-wise for a balanced meal. It can be a bit scary to try these less used flavours in cooking as they are not a part of our day to day cuisine. Cooking with coffee, being a primarily bitter taste, allows us to incorporate this less used element easily.

Cooking with coffee means you will be able to deepen the earthiness in your meat cooking, bring in a subtle smokiness to drinks and sauces, and enhance certain flavours such as chocolate.

In fact, chocolate and coffee are absolute best friends and make a beautiful pairing. Hence the beautiful mocha coffee creation. 

Health Benefits.
So you have read about the health benefits of cold brew which is a slow coffee brewing method to creating a beautiful coffee that is suitable for more sensitive stomachs due to it being extracted over time rather than over heat. The lower acidity makes it a preferred way to enjoy coffee for many people. Whether cold brew or traditional brew, coffee offers  great health benefits that are also experienced when used in cooking. 

What's the best type of coffee to use for cooking with coffee?

As with ANYTHING to do with coffee; freshly roasted, freshly ground and freshly made coffee is the best. The natural elements are at their most abundant then, and the flavour will be the most delicious.

When brewing, make sure the water you use is top quality - same as your coffee making for drinking.

Always use the right grind for the right brewing method. Download our  FREE grind guide if you need a quick everyday reference, and check our recent blog explaining the importance of the right grind.

Anything else to know about when cooking with coffee?

Coffee is a strong flavour and goes well with other strong flavours ie: meats. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but start light handed as you get the hang of it.

When something is not going to be cooked use the brewed coffee and not the grounds to avoid the grainy texture. If you use grounds in a smoothie or a cold dessert, for instance, then you will get a gritty vibe when you want smooth and creamy.

When you use freshly brewed coffee in desserts and baked cakes, cool it before using unless the recipe calls for it as the heat in the fresh brew will par-cook other ingredients like eggs and we don’t want that!

You can use decaf coffee for any coffee cooking recipes if you wish to avoid the caffeine but love the taste. 

Coffee pairs well with other spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, garlic, salt, and citrus.

Let's get cooking with coffee!

Savoury meat dishes

As I mentioned above, coffee tenderises meat when used in a marinade. Add a little brewed coffee to the liquid in your marinade for a subtle earthy, smoky flavour that will enhance the other marinade selections as well as make a softer, luscious final product.

Meat marinades

When cooking the meat in a coffee infused liquid, it will caramelise as it heats up and adds a gorgeous bittersweet flavour.

Meat Rubs

A super way to use old coffee grounds, you can use the grinds with a mix of other herbs and spices to rub over a larger piece of meat to tenderise and infuse flavour. You don’t need to brush it off before cooking as it will provide a lovely crust as it caramelises during cooking.

Cook it - Marinades & Rubs

Pork: blend ground coffee, good sea salt & paprika. Rub over the pork and let rest for an hour.

Lamb: Marinate in a liquid of cocoa and brewed coffee then add salt and paprika and cook slowly.

Beef: Marinate in whisked shallots, garlic, coffee, brown vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, olive oil, and a teaspoon of cracked black pepper.


Use the brewed coffee to add depth to your hearty sauces. Southern style ribs and BBQ chicken are beautifully complemented by the type of sauce I have shared below.

Try this - Spicy BBQ Coffee Sauce

1/2 cup espresso

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar (light brown, firmly packed)

1 onion (peeled and finely chopped - about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)

3 small hot chilli

2 Tablespoons mustard (mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water)

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tablespoons ground cumin

2 Tablespoons chilli powder

Put espresso, tomato sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, onion, garlic, chilli,, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, and chilli powder in a small pot, stir them together and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Desserts & Baking

As we know, coffee and chocolate are best friends. Coffee makes chocolate more chocolatey, and you will find that the coffee flavour sits in the background to the chocolate, propping it up and adding oomph.

Milk-based desserts work well with a coffee infusion also, just make sure you use the brewed coffee and not the grounds for a smooth consistency and texture. Coffee flavoured ice cream is also a huge favourite in our house and we even add pistachio or banana to mix it up a bit.

Chocolate cakes with added coffee are amazing, as are biscuits and other baked goods. I love this decadent but healthy chocolate mousse – give it a go!

Blend and Enjoy - Avo Coffee Chocolate Mousse

1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) dark chocolate 70% or higher, melted

4 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

1/4 cup light coconut milk

1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons espresso

whipped cream, optional

Melt dark chocolate and allow to cool a little.

Blend avo’s in a blender or food processor until creamy.

Add everything else including the chocolate, for about 2 minutes.

Add more honey if you feel it needs a sweeter taste for you.

Top w whipped cream and ENJOY!


A great addition to your morning or post-workout smoothie, adding coffee will give you the caffeine hit with the goodness of the other ingredients. Don’t forget that  coconut oil and coffee work especially well together for energy boosting, metabolism and strength. 

Try some brewed coffee with your smoothie and get the bonus caffeine hit, amazing flavor, plus all your smoothie goodness.

Pre-workout - Mocha Latte Protein Smoothie

200ml Almond milk

200ml brewed coffee

4 chopped dates (pitted)

2 spoons of cocoa

A scoop of your protein powder (vanilla or chocolate is a good choice here – stay away from berries or anything green)

Nutmeg, cinnamon sprinkles

Optional: a few teaspoons of nut butter

Blend with ice and go go go!


The now famous Espresso Martini is a favorite for the same reason coffee smoothies work well, but with alcohol! Sip on one or two of these at the start of a night out and you will be buzzed and ready to party all night! Remember to keep well hydrated throughout the night, and keep to just a few as the high sugar and alcohol content can lead to headaches in the morning that even your daily superhero latte won’t help with!

Chin Chin - Espresso Martini

Sit ice cubes in a martini glass to chill the glass down.

Pour equal parts espresso, Kahlua and vodka into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake the be-jesus out of it.

Remove ice cubes from glass, pour gently to keep a beautiful foam and garnish with a coffee bean.

Get creative!

I had never thought of this one before one of my Coffee Lovers at the markets told me about it… sprinkle ground coffee lightly over a cheese board and see what happens! You will find that this unlikely combination brings out the flavours of the cheese and it quite complimentary!

Get cooking!

I hope you have enjoyed this blog, and urge you to step outside the box with your kitchen ritual and enjoy a lovely cup of coffee while cooking something delicious. If you try any of the above recipes, please post them and tag with our insta  @kimberleycoffeecompany for some love in return!