If you’re a chef and in the know, you are probably acquainted with using coffee as a dynamic new cooking spice. If so, realize that you are standing on the edge of a growing new trend and your food creations are reaching ‘next level’ status.
As a creative culinary artist, you typically separate yourself as a chef by experimenting and stretching the bounds of your imagination by developing new realms for your art form. The results show up on the faces of those who eat your creations.
Using coffee as a cooking spice is a wondrous discovery. Considering the characteristics, taste subtleties, strength variances and different ways in which it can be used (the whole bean, as a liquid or grounded), it has created new breakthroughs for many dishes.
Coffee is arguably the world’s most popular drink. It is plentiful and yields enough different flavor profiles to be the perfect crossover agent and find its way to the list of ingredients associated with food recipes.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NEW SPICE
The natural questions about coffee as a recipe ingredient are:
1. Will it make my food taste like the drink?
2. Will it dominate the other herbs and spices that I use?
3. Will it mask or ultimately change the flavor essence of my food?
To answer question number one, the growing list of chefs who cook with coffee as an ingredient have realized the natural rich, nutty and/or smoky flavors that have contributed to taking their dishes over the top. The note to remember is that your recipes should reflect coffee’s presence as a spice in the cooking process.
As it relates to dominating other herbs and spices, you’ll have to experiment if you are independently converting your favorite recipes. For recipes that you’ll pick up via cookbooks or data bases, the ratio of coffee in your recipes have been worked out for you. As such, coffee as an ingredient will enhance the flavor profile of your dishes if used properly. Some recipes call for the coffee to be added as you would drink it (brewed), but some require the use of the whole bean or added in granulated form.
Regarding whether or not coffee will mask or change the flavor essence of your food, you should remember that spices serve to enhance flavor profiles in your food. Note that the lighter roasts are more delicate and are generally more acidic. The darker roasts are stronger and more robust and therefore work best in dishes where they must hold their own against other powerful flavors.