Did you know that 64% of American adults currently consume coffee every day? And that Americans drink about 400 million cups of coffee every day, which is roughly about 146 billion cups of coffee per year? I know that I am definitely part of that statistic. I wouldn’t be able to function without my morning cup of Joe. Seriously, I cannot remember a day that has passed where I didn’t drink at least one cup, let alone my average of 3-4 cups a day. I know, I know, that seems like a lot, but the strong intense flavors of a good cup of coffee just make my heart happy and my brain ready to work.
Since learning all of these fun statistics about coffee consumption, and stimulated by my Italian espresso, I want to share with you some other fun and inventive ways to caffeinate and utilize coffee in every form besides just imbibing.
My usual go-to in the morning is using my French press. I love grinding up the beans myself. I find that they retain their flavor and intensity more than buying already ground coffee. My new coffee obsession for drinking is Bones Coffee. Of course everyone, myself included, got into the Dalgona coffee trend during the pandemic!
Once you can understand the fundamental flavor profile of coffee, it can be used in sweet or savory applications. There are five basic tastes that the tongue can comprehend: salt, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. Coffee generally falls under the bitter category but has notes of acidity and sweetness as well depending on how much it is roasted. Most people equate bitter with bad, but it is all about balancing flavors.
If you are a coffee drinker, think about how you drink your coffee. Do you like it black? I know I do! Chances are you have a higher tolerance for bitter flavors. Or do you add cream or sugar? These ingredients balance out the bitterness of the coffee to make it more palatable for those with a lower tolerance for bitterness. For a more in-depth conversation on balancing tastes; I highly suggest taking our Flavor Dynamics class; it is one of my favorites.
From whole beans, to grounds, to instant espresso, there are so many different ways to utilize coffee in cooking.
The most common use of coffee in cooking would probably be in sweet applications. As I stated before, sugar is the best way to balance the bitterness of coffee. I love adding instant espresso to anything chocolate. It dissolves easily and it really does intensify the chocolate flavor in baked goods like brownies, cakes, truffles, or puddings. There are so many recipes I can share with you on how to use coffee in sweets but my favorite is this Chocolate Hazelnut Espresso Dacquoise Cake that has an espresso buttercream.
You can also make a coffee simple syrup to soak lady fingers for a Tiramisu or for use in adult beverages like martinis or boozy milkshakes. I also love a good affogato which is espresso and ice cream.
Spice Rubs: Coffee acts as a tenderizer due to the acidity content to intensify the meaty flavor of proteins. My favorite combo is coffee grounds, ancho chili powder, brown sugar and salt for steaks, pork or chicken. Or sprinkle some coffee and black pepper on bacon slices that have been brushed with maple syrup and bake at 375 degrees until crisp and caramelized.
The Chopping Block carries a rub from Spiceology called Cowboy Crust that is a mixture of espresso, chili and mustard powders that is great if you don’t want to make your own. Stop by our Lincoln Square location and check out all of our tasty ingredients we offer.
Vinaigrettes: Combining balsamic, Dijon mustard, honey, brewed coffee and shallots and then emulsifying olive oil into that mixture makes for a wonderful salad dressing to complement hearty greens like arugula or frisee.
Smoking: Another interesting way to utilize coffee beans is to use them in addition to wood chips during the smoking process of proteins. I find that using three parts wood chips to one part unroasted coffee beans works the best to provide subtle coffee flavor without too much bitterness.
Compound Butter: Mixing coffee in with butter along with other ingredients like spices or even honey make for a wonderful spread on pancakes and waffles but also pair well with grilled steaks or fish.
Barbeque Sauce: I am not a big ketchup fan but with the addition of coffee and bourbon this sauce will knock your socks off! You can slather this sauce on chicken wings, pork chops, ribs and more.
Coffee BBQ Sauce
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1⁄2 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup bourbon of choice
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 Tablespoons dark molasses
2 Tablespoons hot dry mustard, mixed with 1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons cumin, ground
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 dashes hot sauce of choice
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Cool, then puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in a covered container.
As you can see there is more to coffee than just partaking in a cup in the morning. Have you ever used coffee in a new and interesting way? I would love to hear about it, so feel free to comment below. We have a wealth of cooking classes whether in person or virtual so make sure to take a look at our class calendar to see what’s coming up. Hope to see you soon!