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10 unexpected ways to enjoy coffee

Java isn’t just for sipping alongside your morning meal. In fact, it’s a go-to ingredient for chefs, bakers, and food enthusiasts alike. We’ve rounded up unexpected ways to make coffee the hero of your next dish!


Cool off with cold brew

Smoother than standard coffee thanks to the slow steeping process, cold brew is a café fave you can easily make at home. Here’s how: Add 3 ½ cups water to 1 ¾ cups Compliments Ground Coffee in a 2 L glass or plastic pitcher. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours. Strain slowly through a coffee filter or cheesecloth-lined sieve. Refrigerate until chilled. To serve, top with an equal amount of cold water – enjoy black, sweetened, and/or with cream over ice.


Try a coffee-flavoured pancake breakfast

Yes, you can caffeinate your pancakes with coffee! Add 2 tbsp of ground espresso powder to your pancake batter, and top those finished flapjacks with espresso-infused maple syrup. Simply heat ½ cup maple syrup with a few tablespoons of ground espresso coffee in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes, and strain before serving. What a way to kickstart your mornings!


Add coffee to granola

Coffee-flavoured granola? Yes please! In a large bowl, combine 4 cups old-fashioned oats, ¼ cup Compliments Ground Coffee, ½ cup maple syrup, ½ cup canola oil, 2 tsp vanilla, and ½ tsp salt; mix well. Spread evenly on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 325°F, stirring twice, until golden and clumping, about 25 to 30 minutes. The mixture will crisp as it cools. Keep fresh in an airtight container.


Use coffee as a chicken ’n’ rib rub

Lending a rich, earthy depth of flavour to foods like ribs and wings, coffee makes for a killer rub. Try it for yourself: Mix ¼ cup of Compliments Ground Coffee with 3 tbsp packed brown sugar, 2 tbsp chili powder, 2 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp salt, 2 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp each ground ginger and allspice, and ¼ teaspoon ginger.


Amp up your icing with coffee 

Dissolve 1 tbsp Compliments Instant Coffee into 2 tsp boiling water. Let cool. In a large bowl, beat 1½ cups of butter until light and fluffy. In two stages, alternately beat in 6 cups of icing sugar and ½ cup 35% whipping cream until smooth. Beat in 2 tsp vanilla and the cooled coffee mixture until no streaks remain. Top your favourite cake or cupcakes!


Marinate your steaks with coffee

Coffee adds much more than flavour to meat: It tenderizes it, too, making it the perfect marinade for any cut of steak. Try this: In a zippered freezer bag or shallow dish, combine ¼ cup each balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Add 2 tbsp Compliments Ground Coffee (or ½ cup cold brewed coffee for more subtle coffee flavour), 2 cloves of garlic, smashed; and 2 tsp each of Dijon mustard and coarsely cracked black pepper. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours (the longer, the better!), and season steaks with salt just before cooking.


Make java-mole tacos

Turn up taco Tuesday with a Mexican-style mole infused with coffee. The sauce is ready in a flash and can be made with ingredients you likely already have on hand. In a saucepan, simmer 1 can crushed tomatoes, 1 cup chicken broth, 2 tbsp Compliments Ground Coffee, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tbsp peanut butter (or use tahini for a nut-free option), ¾ tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp each ground chipotle chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder,  and ¼ tsp each salt and cinnamon. Simmer for 5 minutes, and there you have it: a sauce rich in colour and flavour that’s perfect for tacos, chicken thighs, or shrimp and rice.


Boost your baking with coffee

We’re going to let you in on a little baker’s secret: Coffee loses its bitterness, adds complexity, and amplifies flavour in baking. Replace any neutral liquid (milk, water, or anything non-acidic) in your recipe with cooled brewed coffee for a jolt of java flavour. Try using it with your cake mix to transform a basic chocolate cake into a mocha masterpiece, or plain white cake into a vanilla-latté dessert.


Whip up some spiced affogatos

Affogatos are already coffee-based, but you can take yours to the next level with a spike of pumpkin spice. Mull together 2 cups water, ¼ cup ground espresso, 1 cinnamon stick, ¼ tsp each ground nutmeg and allspice, 6 whole cloves, and a few slices of fresh ginger over medium-low heat until steaming. Turn off heat, stir, let stand, and stir again. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or coffee filter into a small pitcher or spouted measuring cup and then pour over individual mugs or bowls of vanilla ice cream. Perfetto!


Add coffee to cocktail hour

Update your mocktails or cocktails with coffee. It’s as simple as making a batch of coffee-flavoured simple syrup. Try our vanilla-coffee simple syrup recipe: Combine 1 cup each granulated sugar and water, and ½ cup Compliments Ground Coffee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool. Strain liquid through a coffee filter or cheesecloth-lined sieve into a glass storage jug or large mason jar; stir in 1 tsp pure vanilla extract. This syrup keeps in the fridge for weeks. Use as a base for coffee cocktails or mocktails.