/ Food & Drink

What do you do with your espresso (apart from drink it)?

coffee recipes

Don’t you love the smell of freshly-brewed coffee? But it’s not just for drinking hot – here are three tasty ways to use this versatile ingredient, and we’d love to hear about your favourite coffee recipes too.

I am a self-professed coffee addict. I start my day with a dark and strong espresso. But aside from the caffeine hit I crave, I love the taste and smell of fresh and well-prepared espresso.

I’m always on the hunt for recipes that use real espresso in new and delicious ways. Here I share three of my favourite recipes that use espresso, but in exchange I want to know: do you have any tried and tested recipes that use espresso?

An old family favourite

My mom used to cook this Italian-style braised beef dish and it has become my go-to for a delicious and hearty winter meal. Beef might not be the most obvious pairing for coffee, but trust me – it really works.

Originally this recipe is from the old country and by that, I mean my old country – America. I have converted the cups into measurements that make sense and otherwise translated the recipe into English. In America we call the cut used for this recipe a rump roast. In the UK this could be rump, silverside, topside, or any lean cut from the back end of a cow. Your butcher can help you select an appropriate cut.

This recipe should serve about six people, but it is also excellent reheated and makes for great sandwiches.

What you’ll need:

2 kilos of beef (rump, silverside, or topside), tied so it will keep its shape

Salt (1 tsp)

Pepper (1/2 tsp)

Sugar (1/2 tsp)

Oil (couple tablespoons, I use olive oil)

110 grams unsalted butter

2 large white onions, thinly sliced

170ml strong espresso

170ml red wine


Rub the beef all over with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter with the oil in a large casserole pot (with lid) on the hob over a low heat. Add onion and cook gently for about 30 min, stirring frequently.

Turn up the heat to medium and brown the meat on all sides (about 20 min).

Add wine and let it cook for five minutes.

Dissolve sugar in the espresso and add.

Seal pot with foil and put the lid on.

Cook on low heat for five hours, basting and turning meat every hour.

Remove meat and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.

Serve by slicing thinly and pouring juices over.

Sometimes I also add chopped carrots and potatoes in the last hour. It is also delicious served with mashed potatoes.

Affogato – a quick and easy dessert

Affogato, another offering from Italy, is simple and really showcases a good espresso.

All you need is a couple scoops of a good vanilla ice cream and a shot or two of quality espresso. Simply spoon the ice cream into a bowl, drench with the hot espresso and dig in.

You can also repurpose leftover Christmas pudding and mincemeat by adding vanilla ice cream on top and then espresso.

Two-for-one cocktail

What could be better than getting your coffee and your cocktail in one glorious drink?

I once read that an Irish coffee features the four adult food groups: fat, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Despite this rather damning summary, it is still one of my favourite winter-time treats.

A traditional Irish coffee is made with filter coffee, but I like to switch this out for a shot of espresso.

What you’ll need:

1 shot of espresso

Brown sugar (2 tsp)

1 shot of Irish whiskey

Whipped cream


Simply dissolve the sugar in the espresso and pour in a glass.

Add the whiskey.

Pour in the whipped cream over the back of a teaspoon to float the cream on top of the drink.

Espresso martinis

And if you really want a treat or to impress your guests you could always try your hand at making espresso martinis.

I haven’t tried making these myself (though I have tried drinking them), but I am planning to make this Jamie Oliver recipe for espresso martinis over the holidays.

Share your coffee recipes

Are you a coffee lover too? I’d love to know how you use it in cooking and if you have any favourite coffee recipes to share – please post them below if you do…


The beef recipe sounds ideal for a slow cooker.

Manette, as I don’t use a coffee machine and my espresso comes out of a jar of instant, how much do you think it would need?

I bought a set of cups and teaspoons in the USA years ago and find them extremely useful as I often get American recipes off the internet.

I like coffee but am I the only one to think it smells even nicer than it tastes? Adding very strong coffee to a chocolate cake mixture improves the flavour. mrs r makes a delicious – substantial – sachertorte that includes plian chocolate, very strong coffee, 6 eggs and only 2 1/2 oz flour – plus some other ingredients..

Indeed – coffee being ground and bread being made both have flavours that go missing once the finished item is produced.

My wife makes ice-creams, sorbets, and gelatos and coffee features in all three. And of course is used to add a subtle oomph to chocolate recipes.

We generally drink coffee using instant Douwe Egbert but keep a pack of beans for the cooking side. Too much coffee I am convinced has downsides. In my case even a few cups of coffee can make me twitchy – some people may welcome this feeling – but I dislike being “wired”.

As one might suspect that those associated with the sale of coffees are unlikely to mention these studies but rather any possible benefits.

The list of possible problems is here:

For culinary uses ….