The Ingredient: Coffee Beans

Coffee beans are jumping from our cups to our plates.

Palate Perfection

Coffee beans are now used in more than just your cup of Joe; they’re also found in sweet and savoury dishes. Mike Pigot, corporate field chef for Murrieta’s Bar & Grill, says: “With its constant consumption, coffee is often seen and consumed by chefs so it weighs on their minds more.” And he believes that’s why we increasingly see coffee on the entree menu.

“Coffee has many characteristics of wine, and many wines go fantastically with beef,” says Pigot. “Coffee can carry that earthy, tobacco, wood, vanilla aroma and, when mixed with the right blend of spices, complements the steak to perfection.”

Coffee’s bitterness is being used to round out the flavours in spicy marinades, mixed with cumin to accompany pork and, says Pigot, is often used in the slow cooking preparations common in southern barbecue.

The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

“The smell of coffee is just wonderful. It brings back a little bit of memory of growing up,” says Seble Amelga, who was born in Ethiopia and now owns Tiramisu Bistro, which roasts its own blend of coffee beans. “It’s a beautiful tradition that Ethiopia has around coffee,” says Amelga about the weekly traditional coffee ceremony. The fresh green coffee beans are roasted in a small pan over a charcoal burner. The roasted beans are passed around the congregated ladies, each taking a deep inhalation of the intoxicating aroma. Then, the beans are ground by hand and simmered with fresh water in a clay pot over the fire. The first infusion is served as a strong, espresso style, generously sweetened with sugar. A second and third infusion follow.

Dessert Dishes

In the 17th century, it’s believed that thrifty European homesteaders mixed the dregs from their coffee pots with their breads. The mixture created the tasty kaffeekuchen, known to us as coffee cake.

Coffee’s use in desserts has evolved from a money-crunching ingredient to today’s flavour flair. Picture delicately thin layers of almond sponge, separated by coffee-flavoured butter cream, topped with a chocolate ganache, and you’ll have the French-inspired opera cake. Toss roasted walnuts in a mix of ground espresso beans, sugar and an egg white for an addictive dinner party snack.

Tasty Tiramisu Tips

Tiramisu, the decadent dessert that combines coffee, sometimes alcohol, ladyfinger cookies and mascarpone cheese, and is topped with a dusting of rich cocoa powder, is an exhilarating end to any meal. Sabor Divino‘s co-owner and dessert chef, Debbie Barker, gives her tips to make the tastiest tiramisu:

Use hot, freshly brewed espresso, sweetened with sugar and cream.

In place of the traditional rum, try a blend of Baileys, Frangelico and Kahlua to give your cake a worldly kick.

If you want a firmer treat, substitute cream cheese in place of mascarpone cheese.

Experiment with different brands of ladyfingers – some brands don’t hold the coffee as well.

Coffee Fix

– Coffee is Canada’s most popular hot beverage.

– Canadians, on average, drink one cup of coffee a day.

– For all Edmontonians, that’s the equivalent of needing six of West Edmonton Mall’s wave pools full of coffee for their annual fixes.

– Canadians consume more coffee per person than Americans, Italians and Brazilians.

– And, increasingly, coffee isn’t just being drunk, it’s also being used in food and beverages.


Murrieta’s Spiced Coffee Rubbed Steak

Recipe courtesy of Murrieta’s Bar & Grill.

4 tbsp of freshly ground, dark roasted coffee beans

1 tsp of cocoa powder

2 tsps of brown sugar

2 tsps of kosher salt

1 tbsp of ground Spanish paprika

1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of onion powder

1 tsp of freshly ground cumin seeds

tsp of freshly ground dried coriander

4 reserve Angus beef steaks

First, season steaks with salt and freshly ground pepper, and grill until just before required doneness.

Allow the steaks to rest off the grill for about 10 minutes; in the meantime, combine all the dry ingredients together.

Coat both sides of the steaks with the rub, and return them to the grill on a low to medium heat for a further minute per side, or until the rub has started to caramelize and darken.

Serve immediately.

Pigot recommends pairing Murrieta’s spiced coffee rubbed steak with a Bordeaux or single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

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