Savory Coffee Recipes

Savory Coffee Recipes

This week’s Test Kitchen Note is from our resident Cooking Diva, Melissa De Leon Douglass:

Coffee is an elixir of the tropics that reunites cultures and people from all over the world. Whether our beans are from Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Africa, Ecuador or Panamá, we all have our favorites. The inviting tradition of savoring a cup of coffee continues to prosper throughout the world: We drink it in the morning to bring ourselves out of sleepy reverie, when we are doing business, when needing a perfect excuse to meet a friend or a lover, or just an occasion to get a burst during the day.

The typical use of coffee beans in the kitchen involves a beverage infusion, where we can indulge in the rich aroma and flavor by itself or accented with creams, sweeteners, or liqueurs. However, what might be more unexpected is the introduction of coffee to spice rubs, marinades and salad dressings, whether as a liquid or finely ground beans.

When added to these savory recipes, coffee should be treated as a spice, where its flavor characteristics are approached with a light touch and an eye toward quality. Freshly ground coffee is always preferable, as instant coffee is made from inferior robusta beans rather than superior Arabica ones, and in addition to the manufacturing process, this results in a final product that lacks the subtle aromatic elements characteristic of the freshly ground beans. If you are creating something such as a sauce or vinaigrette, freshly ground coffee lends a complexity of flavor and aroma to the mixture.

To bring these engaging tastes and fragrances to life, this week’s Test Kitchen recipes feature some evocative combinations:

Spice Rubs: Aromatic Spiced Coffee Rub for Meat
Marinades: Coffee Spiced Lamb with a Minted Coffee Sauce
Salad Dressings: Coffee Vinaigrette