Coffee Beans displayed on a wooden spoon

Cooking With Coffee: Finding A Unique Taste


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More than half of Americans reach for a cup of coffee each day, whether it be part of their morning pick me up or a flavorful escape. Aside from the traditional brewed cup, there are many ways to enjoy your coffee intake by adding coffee to your cooking. Roasted coffee has over 800 different flavor compounds making the possibilities nearly endless.

Coffee as a Spice

When using coffee in cooking, think of it as a spice and remember that coffee tends to have a very strong flavor. Coffee should be paired with other strong flavors, or used in moderation so it doesn’t overpower the dish. Brewed, ground, or instant are all possible forms of coffee you can use when cooking. In cooking, most coffee pairs well with citrus, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, garlic, and salt flavors.

Coffee in Desserts

When people think of foods that are created with coffee, the most common thing that comes to mind is usually desserts. When using coffee to make desserts, the flavor needs to be bold and smooth. To achieve this, try using instant espresso. This creates the flavor without the risk of unwanted coffee grinds. Adding coffee to chocolate achieves a tasty mocha flavor. Mixing coffee with sugar and water and then freezing the mixture creates a sweet treat similar to the texture of Italian ice. Coffee can also be added to heavy cream to make a coffee flavored topping, or reduced with sugar and cream to create a glaze.

Infusing Coffee

Not all cooking with coffee is done in the dessert department, however. One way to create exciting new dishes with coffee is by infusing the flavor into oil or butter. This can be done by heating whole beans with butter or oil, then straining the beans. This then creates a delicious base that can be used for many dishes. Oil can even be used to make a coffee mayonnaise that pairs well with avocados on your favorite sandwich. Coffee butter could be used on pancakes to create a wonderful breakfast. Coffee butter or oil could also be used to saute your favorite vegetables to give a subtle coffee flavor that complements the organic notes.

Adding Coffee to Meats

Another way to infuse coffee into your meals is to add it to meat dishes. Spice rubs mixed with coffee grinds brings out the best savory flavors of meat because of the acidity. Mixing with BBQ sauce could be used as a glaze or marinade for chicken or beef. Coffee on sweet meats such as duck or venison complements the flavor by adding depth from the bitterness. Adding brewed coffee to a roast, stew, or chili adds a unique twist to the traditional flavor. When adding to these dishes, the flavor should enhance, not dominate. An easy way to add brewed coffee to these dishes is to store leftover coffee in ice cube trays and drop them in the pot whenever you’re making the meal.

Cooking with Your Coffee Pot

If living in a dorm, or staying at a campsite with electricity, the next idea is something you could try cooking in a coffee pot. The basket of the coffee maker could be used as a steamer for vegetables. Keep in mind, you will need to use two cycles to cook the veggies. Use the pot of the coffee maker to cook instant rice and poach salmon. The heat of the water does all the cooking. Try adding different flavor combinations of coffee when cooking the rice and salmon to create your own flavor.

Creating new flavors to fuel your love of coffee could be a flavorful adventure. When trying new flavors of coffee, take note of how they might complement a meal. If you would like to try a taste of a dish that uses coffee, drop by Mochas & Javas in San Marcos, TX, and Frisco, TX to try our Java Bacon.

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