Coffee Rub Steak


I dearly love a good steak and rib-eyes are my very favorite of steaks. Looks pretty tasty, doesn’t it? It was. 🙂

This is another one of the meals I had while Baby Lady was out of town during the ice storm. Given she was out of town for 6 days, I decided to do beef overload what with osso bucco, one of my very favorites, and this fabulously flavorful coffee rub steak. Also, this steak is perfect when it’s too cold outside to grill on the outdoor grill because it is done in a cast iron skillet then finished in the oven. It’s a pretty simple dish that has tons of flavor from the rub.

Now, coffee and steak might seem like a weird combination but so does chocolate and steak. Remember the chocolate steak? Coffee isn’t so different from chocolate. Both are derived from beans and both are bitter in their raw state. So, if chocolate works with steak then coffee would work, too. Add a little extra seasoning with the coffee and viola coffee rub steak. It’s quite delicious. In fact, the flavor of beef is accented by the robust notes of the java. It’s quite a tasty combination that you owe it to yourself to try. So, without further ado, this is what I did.


For the Coffee Rub

  • 1/4 cup 6 blend chile powder (you can use ancho chile powder if you don’t want to make your own blend – recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup finely ground espresso
  • 2 Tbsp Spanish paprika
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

For the Steak

  • 1 boneless rib-eye steak, roughly 1 lb & 1-1/2 inch thick
  • Melted Butter
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For the rub

Add the chile blend to a 1 pt mason jar.

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Next, add the coffee

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the brown sugar

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© 2014 – Oops!!! Make sure you get it in the jar. 😮

Spanish Paprika

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© 2014 – somedays I can be soooo messy and Baby Lady wasn’t home so I had to clean this all up by myself. 😮


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ginger and coriander (I messed up the coriander shot – DRAT!)

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black pepper

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dry mustard

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Mix together and viola, coffee rub. 🙂

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For the Steaks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

While the oven is heating, preheat a cast iron pan over high heat. Brush each side of the steak with butter.

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Then season each side liberally with the coffee rub.

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Add butter to skillet.

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Place the steak in the cast iron skillet and cook until golden brown, roughly 3 minutes.

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Flip the steak over, cook for 2 minutes.

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Now transfer to skillet to the preheated oven and cook in the oven to medium-rare doneness, about 5 minutes.

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Remove and let rest 5 minutes. Serve & enjoy. 🙂


NOTES: This rub will also work well with thick cut pork chops.

46 thoughts on “Coffee Rub Steak”

  1. This looks most appetizing and all the rub ingredients would be in most pantries! I shall certainly try this during the week. The sirloin strip steaks I have at home will do fine 🙂 ! Actually great minds think alike as I have just come from an Indian blog where Purabi combined coffee and Cointreau to make a luscious chicken dish even her kids adored!! Actually coffee in savoury dishes is quite well known to me as in Scandinavian countries we cook legs of lamb in strong coffee with cream! Isn’t cooking [and eating] fun if one only has an open mind 😀 !!

    1. Thanks, Eha. The sirloins will work perfectly. Send me Purabi’s link I would love to check out the coffee-cointreau chicken dish. It sounds remarkably intriguing.
      I agree with you wholeheartedly on the fun and adventure of culinary delights if you have an open mind. Sadly, most people have a mental obstacle to the new.

    1. Thanks, guys. Bacon would actually be a great addition to this dish. You might want to do a filet mignon with the coffee rub. Perhaps even top it with a quail egg for a fun take on steak and eggs. You can have it all that way. 😀

  2. Your spices are just so fab. You might be proud to know you’ve inspired someone to start cooking with hot spices (that would be me 🙂 ). I made two dishes tonight that called for fresh thai chilis and ancho powder (which I ground myself from a dried ancho pepper I found in an Asian grocer). A few moments of panic were had, but the results were great!

    1. Hi, Sharon. Thanks for the nice compliment. We’re tickled we have inspired you to try chiles. They have such a wonderful flavor with great character, aroma and all sorts of nuances in flavor. Some have a brightness to them yet with tobacco and cherry flavors in the background. Others are earthy with tobacco and chocolate notes. Still others are more complex with flavors of dark fruits and raisins. Then you have the variety of smoked chiles with such great depth of flavor in addition to the smoke. By controlling the type and amount you can control the level of heat as well as the flavor profile. I’m looking forward to a story from Vinny. 😀

  3. Looks great Richard. I actually gave thought to cooking coffee rubbed ribeyes last evening, but begged off. I did cook the ribeyes however. I’ll give this a try next time steaks are on my menu.

    1. Hi, Rosemary. It does sound strange but the flavor is quite remarkable. It is quite a combination well worth the little time and effort. 🙂 I will definitely make this again when Baby Lady has to travel for work.

  4. Lovely. I’ve done many variations of this rub – my husband is the big meat eater in the family, and he loves his steaks. Although nowadays he’ll only eat filets. He has 4% body fat but he’s worried about cholesterol. I don’t get it.
    It’s amazing what coffee does to the flavor. Rubs are just so much fun!

    1. Hi, Mimi. HJ from Waterfalls and Caribous suggested a little bacon with this. I think a filet mignon would pair quite well. Of course, if the hubs is eating lean, then he wouldn’t want the added bacon, or would he?
      I love rubs and generally prefer them to wet marinades for the most part, especially with beef, lamb, venison wild duck and other gamey meats.

  5. I adore using coffee and chocolate on beef and in beef dishes, Richard — it really adds a depth of flavour that cannot be replicated! Have you tried Heston Blumenthal’s steak aging method? He takes his steak and rests it on a cookie rack (something that allows air flow beneath it) and leaves it in the refrigerator for a few days. The result is quite exceptional. We tried it with a mediocre cut of meat and it was super tender, even cooked rare! The link I’m including is for a blog I love to follow; Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella documented her aging process in stills, the other link I found is video
    I love making my own spice blends too, years ago I bought a coffee grinder that is not for coffee, but for spices exclusively!

    1. Hi Eva. I have dry aged my own beef previously and it really concentrates the beef flavor. I remember years ago, on Good Eats, Alton Brown did a dry aged bone-in rib roast in his fridge using a rack and a terra cotta pot. Back then he made me laugh but always impressed me with his techniques for improvisation. I used to have a small fridge I could use just for techniques like dry aging (and to store beer for parties). It’s not difficult and gives you a great tasting piece of beef. I definitely will check out the links. It’s always fun see what other people do. 🙂 Thanks.

    1. Oh, and BTW, that’s habanero spiced calabrese wrapped around the haricot verts. No chile in the potato, though. Just used it to catch the beautiful juices and flavors from the steak. 🙂

  6. I’ve never heard of a coffee rub. Kees would probably love it (he loves coffee).
    You had a 1 lb steak by yourself? I guess that’s normal in Texas, but certainly counts as beef overload to me 😉
    I love rib eye too, it has so much flavor. And it looks great on your plate!
    I’d use a much lower oven temp and 10 minutes in the oven instead of 5 minutes at a high temp and then 5 minutes resting — leading to less of a doneness gradient. (Then again, I’d probably cook it sous-vide to 120 degrees or so before searing it.)

    1. This is a great rub, Stefan, and you don’t have to be a coffee aficionado to enjoy it. As for the 1 lb steak, yep I ate the whole thing. Of course, it was all I had to eat that day and I was pretty hungry.
      On steaks like this I like the higher cooking temps because it crusts the steak so well. You sacrifice the the doneness gradient but the crust more than makes up for it. This turned out to be a beautifully cooked medium rare, just the way I like it. 🙂

      1. You have a point about the crust. My crusts are never as great because I sacrifice them for the gradient. Shall try to do a very crusty one soon.
        Of course the best is to first cook the steak sous-vide, then freeze it in liquid nitrogen, and then deep-fry it to get the crust. I have actually tried this and it was amazing. Will have to do again with a bigger steak (that was just a tiny piece) and with photos so I can blog about it 🙂

        1. Stefan, you tickle and amaze me. The lengths to which you will go in chase of the perfectly cooked meat. I am absolutely terrified of liquid nitrogen. I have gotten clumsy in my later years and would wind up freezing my fingers or foot from spilling it. 😀 As for the deep fat fryer, Baby Lady won’t let me have one. 😦 So, I’m OK with the traditional techniques as I don’t have any other choice. 😉

        2. I have always been quite clumsy, but with liquid nitrogen I was very careful as it was the first (and only so far) time. The clumsiness may become a problem when I get used to it and am not as careful anymore…
          You could always heat up a couple of quarts of oil on the stovetop to deep fry 🙂

  7. This is a fabulous rub! Love it and would never have thought to use coffee. Agree, rib eye is the best and also agree about your cooking method to achieve the crust. Great job! 😉

  8. Hi Richard, this is certainly the recipe for the ultimate Man steak! I’ve heard of coffee rubs for BBQ before (but) am yet to try it of course. I’m still using for of your adobe chilli rub for pork and bbq and ocasionally for seafood too.

    It’s ultimate BBQ weather here in Sydney, so I’d better get to it!

    1. Hi, Jo. Thanks for dropping by and checking us out. The technique for cooking the bone-in ribeye is the same and it will cook roughly the same. The difference with a bone-in ribeye is that the meat will be a little rarer closer to the bone simply because the bone shields that portion of the meat from the heat.

  9. I had never heard of a coffee rub but, I can actually taste it…and gonna try this rub in the near future…Bookmarked

    1. Thanks, Deb, for dropping by and your very nice compliment. This is a very flavorful rub and I hope you like it. If you like rubs on your steak (I love them) then check out our recipe for Chocolate Steak –
      It seems rather odd at first but it has tremendous flavor and the chocolate lies in the background but is very much present.
      A more traditional rub is Steak Richard.
      All of my friends love this rub and I give it away as presents. This rub also works very well with game and lamb.

  10. I landed on steak because I love steak most but I never seem to cook it often. This recipe is so simple and straightforward and the final steak looks very delicious. I have all these ingredients in my pantry right now so I’ve no excuse. I shall be making this over the weekend. Thanks so much for giving clear instructions for making coffee rub. The combination of ingredients is exceptional. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend ahead!

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