My introduction to using coffee in food came from Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Modena, Italy. Bottura created a mind-blowing coffee sauce for a succulent veal dish; it opened my eyes to the way coffee can add incredible flavours to a recipe.
I’m not just talking about using it as liquid – coffee grounds are extraordinary too. In a dry rub for steak, for example, they release all the aromas of the coffee and impart their flavour to the meat. The umami profile that can be drawn out pairs beautifully with the meat. My favourite coffee to use in cooking is Nespresso Peru Organic because it has fruitiness without being too berry-like, and the roast on it is perfect.
Depending on where the beans are grown, coffees have hugely different characteristics, varying in earthiness, fruitiness and fragrance, so experiment to find your own favourites. Get started with the recipes here …
A marinade made with coffee grounds and herbs adds an extra layer of complexity to this succulent cut
Prep 30 min
Cook 30 min (plus 1½ hours marinating)
For the steak
Dry-aged rib-eye or T-bone steak, 600-650g
For the dry rub
1 tbsp gochugaru chilli flakes
2 tbsp unused Nespresso Peru Organic coffee, carefully removed from capsules
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp smoked sea salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
For the chimichurri butter
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 small shallot, chopped
2 green jalapenos, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Salt and black pepper
For the dry rub, pound the ingredients using a pestle and mortar to make a coarse seasoning. Pat the meat dry and cover with the rub. Marinate in the fridge for 1½ hours. Next, make the chimichurri butter by blending all the ingredients in a food processor until you have a slightly chunky green butter. Season with salt and black pepper. Roll into sausages in clingfilm or baking paper and chill to set.
Before cooking the steak, let it come to room temperature. Heat a little oil in a heavy-based frying pan, and cook over a medium-high heat for three minutes on each side until deeply caramelised. Rest for three minutes then put back in the pan for one more minute on each side. Rest for five minutes (dot with thick discs of chimichurri butter). Slice and serve with a tomato, red onion and caper salad.
Chocolate and coffee make for a heavenly match in this rich dessert
Prep 1 hr
Cook and cooling 3 hr
For the sweet pastry
3 eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk, for brushing
500g plain flour
For the chocolate and coffee filling
300ml double cream
20g caster sugar
400g dark chocolate (70%)
90g salted butter
100ml Nespresso Peru Organic coffee
Quality cocoa powder, for dusting
For the sweet pastry, add the butter and flour to a food processor and run on a low speed until the texture is sandy. Add the sugar then, slowly, the beaten eggs until the mixture forms a dough.
To make by hand, put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and eggs, and lightly knead into a dough.
Rest the pastry for one hour in the fridge then roll out to ½cm thick and line a 20cm (8in) tart tin, letting the excess pastry hang over the rim. Rest for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Place the tart into the oven for 12 minutes then take out, remove the paper and beans, and trim off the excess pastry. Brush the tart case with egg yolk and put back into the oven for three minutes. Add more egg wash and cook for a further three minutes. Leave to cool.
For the filling, put the cream and sugar in a saucepan and heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl, pour the cream mix over and stir to melt. Beat in the coffee until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the mixture into the cooled tart case and give it a shake to even and knock out air bubbles. Leave to set at room temperature for one to two hours, then dust with cocoa powder. The pastry should be crisp; the filling like a soft ganache. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.
Discover what’s next for Nespresso’s journey to carbon-neutral coffee here