A Coffee Steak Rub Recipe Just in Time for Summer!

Grilling burgers outside

With summer right around the corner, we are wanted to give you a coffee-based recipe that you can use this summer while grilling. With some simple spices and freshly roasted coffee beans, you can make a coffee steak rub that is equal parts spicy, smoky, and earthy that’ll be sure to be hit for summer cookouts.

General Tips

Before we get to the recipe there are two halves of this recipe that should be addressed; firstly, the coffee beans, and secondly the cut of meat to use. Using the wrong roast level and an improper cut of meat can spell disaster for this rub as you can end up with a bitter rub that lacks that coffee zing or an overly tough piece of meat that hurts to chew.

Coffee Beans

For this recipe, the more freshly roasted the coffee bean the better. As for roast level, we recommend roasting your beans to either a dark roast or an espresso roast. Some of our selections that would be ideal for this rub are our Ugandans, Guatemalans, and Brazilians. Other options could be our Sumatran or Indonesian coffee beans too.

After roasting to the appropriate level, the next step is to grind the beans to a fine grind, not exactly as fine as Turkish coffee uses, but still at a fine level. If you are unsure if your current grinder can achieve this, we have a range of coffee grinders that are programmable and can easily achieve a fine grind.

We also advise against using instant coffee for the rub as the grounds used in instant coffee are way too fine to use and impart little to no flavor, and the flavor they do impart is quite bad.

Cuts of Meat

The second (and equally important) half of this recipe is the cut of meat to use. Various recipes we’ve seen call for various cuts of meat, and some have even gone as far as to suggest that is rub could be used for pork and lamb. For now, let’s just stick to the cuts of meat that work well with this rub.

A graphic depicting the different areas of meat in a cow

  • Ribeye – A cut of meat sourced from the rib area of a cow.
  • Strip steak – Sourced from the short loin area of the cow and is particularly tender.
  • Skirt steak – A cut of meat from the plate area of the cow – not tender but more flavorful. Therefore, it's often marinated before lessening the cut’s toughness.
  • Sirloin – The hindquarter cut that is known for its flavor, can be divided into “top sirloin” and “bottom sirloin”.
  • Flatiron – Cut from the shoulder of a cow, or the chuck. Also called a butlers’ steak.

We like strip steaks the best for this recipe, but like the coffee beans used, it’s a matter of personal preference, so experiment and have fun finding which cut of meat you like best.

The Coffee Steak Rub Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground coffee beans
  • 5 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chile de Arbol
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne powder
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 16oz strip steaks

The Coffee Steak Rub Recipe

  • Mix the spices in a small bowl
  • Season steaks with the dry rub mixture and let chill uncovered for 2-4 hours on a wire racket in the refrigerator.
  • Let the rubbed steaks come to room temperature for an hour before grilling, this helps the meat cook more evenly.
  • Heat your grill to between 400-425f
  • Brown both sides of the steak for 2 minutes to form a nice crust.
  • Finish the grilled steak on the cast-iron skillet in the oven or grill to your desired doneness.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes, slice to ½ inch thick, and enjoy.

A Quick Word on Doneness

To ensure your steak is served to your (or your guest's liking), it's best to measure the internal temperature of the meat. We recommend buying a simple digital thermometer. To check the internal temperature, insert it into the center of the cut of meat rather than the side.

To ensure you achieve the correct level of doneness, remove the cut of meat when it's at least 5-10 degrees lower than the desired doneness. The ambient heat will continue to raise the internal temperature while the steak rests. Following these simple steps will ensure that you have a perfectly cooked steak every time.

A graphic depicting the levels of doneness for meat


This spicy and earthy coffee steak rub recipe is destined to be a crowd-pleaser at the next cookout. With some freshly roasted coffee beans from us, this coffee recipe is a new and novel way to use your favorite coffee beans outside of your morning cup of joe.