Wake up and smell the coffee.

How many times do you see on social media or hear someone say: “I’ll be fine once I’ve had my coffee….”? Plenty, that’s how many.

Coffee is something of an obsession with us Brits and we don’t seem to mind shelling out for it in any number of variations. Ten years ago, there were around 10,000 places to get a cup of Joe in the UK. Since then there’s been staggering growth in the market.

Just last year, the coffee market in the UK grew by over 7 per cent and shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s estimated the approximately now 22,500+ outlets in the country will be worth around £15bn (yes, that’s BILLION) to the economy by 2020. That, by any standard, is a lot of coffee.

This week is UK Coffee Week and we wanted to explore how else it can be used, if not just for drinking. The grounds are used by some as a skin exfoliator, but, being us, we’re more interested in the food applications….

Who doesn’t love a good coffee and walnut cake, for example? Yummy, and ironically, best served with a cup of tea in our opinion. And then there’s tiramisu, another coffee-based piece of culinary excellence.
Desserts really do seem to be the natural place for coffee with plenty of recipes for everything from a coffee granita to a coffee semi-freddo. Cocktails also seems a natural resting place for the humble bean with Espresso Martini topping the charts there.

But what about savoury applications? No, don’t back away, there are some great savoury recipes that work for coffee, honestly! Coffee is known to have over 800 aromatic compounds, with more discovered each year – that great range of flavours and aromas mean it’s really versatile for lots of different types of recipes.

Think about how coffee is made. With it being roasted it can give dishes depth and complexity. One food writer swears by it for stock – if you’re making a gravy and don’t have very good stock, add some coffee and you will, he says, get lots of flavour.

Did you know also that you can add it to chilli, salad dressing or even roasted vegetables? Well, you can. Why not try roasting your root vegetables over a bed of medium roast coffee, it adds a bit of bite to the sweetness of roasting veggies like carrots, beetroots or even turnips – certainly one way to wake up Sunday lunch!

It also works well in a dry rub which is versatile for lots of different kinds of meats including pork, beef, lamb and chicken. Chilli powder is added to pack more of a punch and added to cumin, smoky paprika and finely ground dark roast coffee. Adding a little brown sugar brings some sweetness and a little sea salt finishes it off. Ideal for barbeques, you can try dry rubbing your steak or ribs in this mixture.

So, is it time your recipes woke up and smelled the coffee?

About Sean Flint
Development & Innovation Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.