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All-Purpose Coffee Rub Recipe

All-Purpose Coffee Rub Recipe - Coffee Life Blog by EspressoWorks

It’s no secret that coffee can taste great during a meal when consumed alongside meat dishes, which could be anything from Mexican carne asada to British bangers and mash, from Greek gyros to Jamaican jerk chicken. But coffee not only works well as a beverage during meat consumption — it also works well when usedondifferent types of meat as part of a coffee rub.

Here are some delicious all-purpose coffee rub recipes that work well with a range of meats — including beef, pork, chicken, alligator, goat, and lamb — as well as fish.

What Does All-Purpose Coffee Rub Taste Like?

Those trying a coffee rub for the first time are often surprised to discover that it doesn’t really taste like coffee. That’s because coffee is only one of the ingredients in a coffee rub, which can also contain anything from coriander to paprika to garlic. The taste of a coffee rub, depending on the combination of ingredients used, can be smoky, dark, robust, or earthy.

Many of the spices employed in coffee rub recipes are typically used in food found in warmer climates. For example, cumin is often used in Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern food as well as Cuban food, while paprika is popular in Jamaican cooking. Coriander, a.k.a. cilantro, is a prominent flavor in Mexican and Central American food, and cayenne pepper is a favorite in New Orleans cuisine — which has African, Spanish, Latin American, and French influences. 

How to Grind the Coffee

Roasted coffee beans can be ground in different ways, from a fine grind to a medium grind to a coarse grind. For a coffee rub, a medium grind is arguably preferable. A fine grind can stick to the meat too much, while a coarse grind may not stick to it enough — and a medium grind offers a happy medium. 

All-Purpose Coffee Rub Tips

Light, medium, and dark roasts are all valid coffee options for a coffee rub; a darker roast will encourage a bolder flavor. However, flavored coffees are best avoided, as flavors like vanilla nut, caramel, chocolate mint, and pumpkin spice — although great in sweets — do not work well with the other ingredients.

As a rule, a coffee rub is enjoyed by people who like their food well-seasoned rather than bland. Coffee rub is known for seasoning beef or steak, but it is equally tasty when used with pork, chicken, lamb, goat, or alligator. And it works with seafood as well, including salmon, tuna, shrimp, whiting, halibut, snapper, calamari, and trout.  

REVEALED: The best coffee rubbed steak recipe!

Moreover, coffee rub doesn’t automatically exclude vegetarians or vegans, and it can also be used when grilling different types of vegetables.

Meat and fish seasoned with coffee rub are often grilled, but grilling is by no means mandatory where coffee rub is concerned. A coffee rub can also be used when baking meat or fish, and sautéing in a pan on the stove is another option. 

Coffee Rub Recipe:

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

Total time: 5 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons, ground coffee (medium grind)
  • 2 tablespoons, garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons, paprika
  • 1 tablespoon, ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoon, onion powder or dried onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon, salt
  • 1 tablespoon, brown sugar
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons, cayenne pepper. This amount can be reduced for a less spicy coffee rub. 


  1. Place all of these ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together. Stir.
  1. Move the coffee rub mixture to a container that is tightly sealed and away from direct sunlight, which can harm or damage the spices and gradually decrease the coffee rub’s flavor.


This coffee rub recipe, if kept out of direct sunlight, holds up nicely — and it can easily be kept on hand and stored for future meals.

Used coffee grounds should be avoided when making a coffee rub, as the flavor has already been taken from them during the brewing process. Only unused ground coffee should be used in a coffee rub.

Coffee Brisket Rub Recipe:

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

Total time: 5 minutes


  •  2 tablespoons, instant coffee
  •  2 tablespoons, coarse salt 
  •  2 tablespoons, smoked paprika
  •  2 tablespoons, garlic powder
  •  ½ teaspoon, cayenne pepper
  •  1 tablespoon, crushed coriander
  •  1 tablespoon, pepper
  •  1 teaspoon, chili powder
  •  1 tablespoon, onion powder


  1. Combine all of these ingredients in a bowl.
  1. Make sure there are no clumps of seasonings and use a fork to crush them. 
  1. Place the coffee rub in an airtight container and store it for as long as a month.

Coffee is not only one of the most popular beverages in the world — but it is also one of the most useful. And when it is combined with other ingredients, it can help to make a coffee rub delicious.