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Best foods with coffee in them

It’s the morning must-have, the drink that gets people through the day, but there’s so much more to coffee than office fuel. As we head towards International Coffee Day, Erudus are rounding up the coffee foods that can give your menu a (literal) boost.

The best foods with coffee in them are:

  • Coffee baked beans
  • Coffee cake
  • Coffee mole
  • Coffee ice cream
  • Coffee-rubbed steak
  • Tiramisu
  • Coffee beef stew
  • Coffee crème caramel

Now let’s find out more...

What is coffee?

Coffee is a dark coloured drink made from roasted coffee beans which are then brewed. In terms of taste, coffee is bitter and slightly acidic. It naturally contains caffeine, a substance that has a stimulant effect on the body. Coffee can be drunk hot or cold, and served with or without milk, cream or other ingredients such as flavoured syrups. Popular coffee drinks include espresso, latte, cappuccino and mocha.

Coffee baked beans

What are coffee baked beans?

A twist on the dinner time staple. Your favourite haricot beans stewed in a tomato sauce but with extra pizazz. Brewed coffee, barbecue sauce and brown sugar (and other ingredients depending on the recipe) are added to the sauce to give it an extra kick, with the coffee complimenting the acidic tomatoes and sweet sugar.

Top tip

Beans are like culinary sponges, soaking up juices and absorbing flavour. For truly mouthwatering coffee baked beans, make them the day before they are due to be served. This will give them enough time for maximum flavour to develop.

Allergen alert

Beans, coffee and tomatoes are not within the 14 major food allergens (though tomatoes are considered an increasingly common allergen). However, many coffee baked beans recipes do contain major allergens, such as Mustard, sherry and/or white wine vinegar (Sulphur Dioxide) and Celery.

Coffee cake

What is coffee cake?

Coffee cake is a type of sponge cake flavoured with coffee (either brewed coffee or coffee granules) and usually covered with coffee butter icing. Traditionally circular, and served cut into slices, coffee cake is similar in look and ingredients to chocolate cake.

Top tip

If your coffee cake is dry or a couple of days old, you can brush it with syrup to make it moist. A simple syrup, made from equal parts sugar and water boiled together till the sugar dissolves, will do the trick.

Allergen alert

Coffee cake may contain several of the 14 major food allergens, depending on the recipe. These include Milk (via butter), Cereals containing Gluten (via flour), Eggs and Nuts (walnuts are a common garnish).

Is coffee an allergen?

No, coffee is not one of the 14 major food allergens. However it is often served with milk, which is one of the 14 major food allergens.

Coffee mole

What is coffee mole?

Mole is a traditional Mexican sace. It can come in many varieties (examples are mole poblano and mole negro), but all use one or more types of chilli pepper as their base. Coffee mole is a smoky sauce that also often includes cocoa as an ingredient, and is frequently served with protein such as pulled pork, chicken or shrimp.

Top tip

Mole refrigerated and freezes well, so rather than making the quick, thirty minute recipes that use shop bought paste, go all out and make large batches of the from-scratch, delicious homemade mole and then bring to room temperature as needed to serve. You can keep a keener eye on ingredients this way too.

Allergen alert

Mole recipes, and especially coffee mole recipes and their ingredients can vary wildly, but many include Nuts (particularly pistachio nuts or almonds), a major allergen. Sesame, sherry vinegar (Sulphur Dioxide), and Eggs might also be ingredients.

Coffee ice cream

What is coffee ice cream?

Coffee ice cream is ice cream that has been flavoured with coffee beans. You can make the dessert with instant coffee, espresso, or regular coffee grinds. It is often made with a custard base and served either alone or with an accompaniment such as chocolate cake or biscotti.

Top tip

A medium roast is the failsafe choice for coffee ice cream - robust enough not to be overpowered by the sugar and cream, but not so strong to be bitter.

Allergen alert

Eggs, milk and cream are primary ingredients in ice cream. Eggs and Milk (which is also the base of cream) are 2 of the 14 major food allergens.

What is a coffee sensitivity?

A food (or drink) sensitivity is when a person has an exaggerated effect on a person. For instance, coffee contains caffeine - a substance that acts as a central nervous stimulant. It can make a person feel more alert and awake, but also trigger nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation and insomnia. This will be felt more keenly by those with a caffeine sensitivity, and so coffee would be a trigger unless it has been decaffeinated.

Coffee-rubbed steak

What is coffee-rubbed steak?

Coffee-rubbed steak is a cut of steak that has been seasoned and coated with a ‘rub’ made up of various spices, herbs and coffee, then brought to room temperature and seared in a hot pan so that the rub forms a crust over the meat.

Top tip

The basics of a coffee rub are garlic powder, onion powder, coffee and pepper. You can add paprika, brown sugar, cumin, chilli powder and mustard powder to your taste. For the smoothest, most flavorful rub use a spice grinder to blend your ingredients.

Allergen alert

Mustard powder is used in some rubs, and Mustard is one of the 14 major food allergens. If you choose to fry the steak in butter it’s important to note that butter is made from Milk, another of the 14 major food allergens.


What is tiramisu?

Tiramisu is an Italian dessert that literally means ‘pick me up’. It’s made from savoiardi (ladyfingers) dipped in coffee and layered with a cocoa-flavoured mix of eggs, sugar and mascarpone cheese. Some recipes also include egg yolks and flavoured liqueur.

Top tip

When layering your tiramisu you should criss-cross the ladyfingers - this will make it easier to cut the dessert into even slices and improve presentation.

Allergen alert

Tiramisu includes 2 ingredients that are in the 14 major food allergens. These are mascarpone (Milk) and Eggs.

Is coffee good for you?

Coffee is thought to have a positive effect on your liver, and it’s also rich in antioxidant polyphenols. Caffeine, which coffee contains, is used by many people for weight management, because it boosts metabolic rate. However, some people might encounter dizziness, shaking and insomnia after consuming coffee, and if you drink a lot of it you may find that you need more and more to achieve the same effect.

Coffee beef stew

What is coffee beef stew?

Coffee beef stew is a hearty English favourite with a kick. Melt in your mouth beef that’s been simmered for hours with various vegetables in a gravy liquid thickened with flour. The addition of brewed coffee to the dish gives it a richer, deeper flavour similar to adding soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

Top tip

Be sure to brown your meat in a frying pan before stewing it - the caramelised crust will play off the coffee for a delicious smokiness. Flouring the meat before browning will also add depth and body to the stew.

Allergen alert

Stew might contain any number of the 14 major food allergens depending on the recipe. Cereals containing Gluten (via flour), Mustard, Sulphites (via balsamic vinegar or red wine), and Celery are the most likely to be found in coffee beef stew.

Coffee crème caramel

What is coffee crème caramel?

Coffee crème caramel is crème caramel with the addition of coffee to the ingredients. Crème caramel is a baked custard dessert cooked in individual ramekin dishes lined with caramel, which melts into the custard as it is set in the fridge. They should be prepared a day in advance so there is sufficient time for the setting process.

Top tip

The key to making coffee crème caramel dense and silky is baking them in a water bath. Place the ramekin dishes in a roasting pan filled with boiling water and then bake.

Allergen alert

Milk and Eggs are both key ingredients in custard - the basis of this dish. They are also both in the 14 major food allergens.

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