All Purpose Coffee Dry Rub Recipe

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I like to cook. And I like coffee. Marrying the two is my version of heaven.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to use coffee to season and prepare my meats. My latest attempt was a dry rub. It was good, but I felt it was missing something, so I contacted my friend, Chef Barry Crumlich, Jr. to see what he thought might step it up a notch.

Chef Barry is the Executive Chef at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg. We met in 2009 when he was searching for a new coffee to serve at the residence. A Pennsylvania coffee roaster was important to him, and luckily for us, we are a perfect fit. I’m happy to say we are still his roaster of choice. (Apparently good coffee is something both political parties can agree on!)

Chef Barry says, “The purpose of a rub is to season and enhance the meat. But, it also fills in the texture of the meat, so as it’s cooking more of the natural juices don’t escape. This works best when the meat is seared after being rubbed, but not necessary.

It’s also important, that the coffee is ground fine like an espresso grind, and that you match the roast of the coffee with the flavors of the spices. For example, a light roasted coffee on chicken with lemon seasoning or a French roast coffee on a blackened steak.”

Well, now I’m hungry! Hopefully I have inspired you to try a coffee rub on your next chicken or steak dish.

A fun “party tip”: create several rubs, cut your meat into smaller portions, and try all of your rubs at once. It’s fun to have your dinner guests guess which rub you used for which meat. Be sure to write down what you placed where on the grill or you might just have to have everyone over again the next night!

Here is my recipe using Valerio Fair Trade Organic Peruvian Coffee. The same coffee that is currently being served at the Residence. (And no, I’m not going to tell you what ingredient was missing and Chef Barry isn’t talking either! Thank you, Chef Barry!)

Valerio’s Peruvian Coffee Dry Rub


  • 1¼ cups (10oz.) Valerio Fair Trade Organic Peruvian Coffee
  • 4½ cups Organic Cane Sugar
  • ½ cup Paprika
  • ½ cup Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. Allspice
  • 1 Tbsp. Cloves – ground
  • 2 Tbsp. Cardamom – ground
  • 1 Tbsp. Nutmeg – ground
  • ½ cup Garlic Salt
  • 4 Tbsp. Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Black Pepper


  1. Grind coffee. We recommend an espresso setting.
  2. Pour all ingredients into a bowl and blend together well.
  3. Store in an airtight container for 6-8 months.


Anthony Valerio