This is our all-time favourite rub that we use on everything. It’s great on days you just want to slap something on the grill. It’s quick to make and you can double, triple or quadruple theΒ recipe so that you only need to make it once and have plenty leftover.

It’s Spring! Huzzah! Let’s all do a happy dance!
The best part of Spring time for me is when our grill is no longer iced shut and I can finally open them up again for grilling some good eats!


All Purpose Coffee Spice Rub


What’s the first thing we grill? RIBS! πŸ˜€

What kind of rub did we use? A coffee one!


What does it taste like?

Not like coffee, oddly. It has a dark earthy flavour combined with a nice balance of garlic and onion notes with a background flavour of cumin. The rub is low in sugar and saltΒ so that you don’t get an overly salty or overly sweet result, which won’t overpower your BBQ sauces. We added a bit of cayenne for a spicy kick but that is completely optional and can be omitted.



All ingredients can be found at your local grocery store.


All Purpose Coffee Spice Rub


You may wonder, “Coffee grounds? Really? Isn’t that bitter?”

I can assure you it’s not! πŸ™‚ That was also my first reaction as well as I was doing some testing as black coffee is usually very strong and very bitter but the spices meld very well with the coffee and instead it provides a subtle dark earthy flavour to the rub.

Tip #1 : Do not use ‘used’ coffee grounds. There’s no flavour in it.

Optional : Cayenne for a bit of a spicy kick is also quite nice.



This one is a personal preference but I’ll list off some of our findings.

FINE GROUND – We found that grinding it up too finely, made it stick to the meat *too* much and it doesn’t give the other spices a chance to latch on to the meat since it falls right off because the fine coffee kind of just takes over.

MEDIUM GROUND – Just right. Has enough surface area to have a subtle coffee, earthy flavour. It also matches the consistency of the other spices. This is our preference.

COARSE GROUND – Not enough surface area for flavour and doesn’t stick to the meat as well since it sticks on last because of the size. Depending on how coarse you grind it up you may even start noticing that you are actually chewing on the grounds and having them stuck to your teeth.

You can use any type of coffee for this rub (light, medium or dark roast). The darker the roast the stronger the flavour.

…but maybe refrain from using flavoured coffee πŸ˜› unless “Creme Brulee Toffee” chicken is totally your thing.


Tip #2Β : To make this an even simplier and quicker rub, we sometimes just buy pre-ground coffee for this.



Grind up the coffee (or use pre-ground coffee) and mix the ingredients together! This is a very versatile rub. You can use this on ribs, chicken, beef, pork, lamb – pretty much anything! If you make a large batch, keep it in a well sealed container and store in a cool dry spot away from the sun. Sunlight damages spices and takes away the flavour with time.

All Purpose Coffee Spice Rub


What kind of interesting things do you put in your rubs? We’d love to hear all about it! Tag us with #pupswithchopsticks to tell! πŸ˜€

Happy Spring!

All Purpose Coffee Dry Rub
5 from 3 votes
All Purpose Coffee Dry Rub
Prep Time
5 mins

All purpose rub made with earthy flavours combined with a balance of garlic, onion & cumin with low salt & sugar content so it doesn't overpower BBQ sauces

Course: Rubs and Marinades
Servings: 4
Author: Pups with Chopsticks
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp coffee grounds (medium grind)
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp onion powder (or dried onion flakes)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp cayenne [optional] (reduce the amount of cayenne for a less spicy rub)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  1. Combine together in a large bowl and use it on meats.

Recipe Notes
  • Do not use pre-used coffee grounds, it doesn't have any flavour
  • This recipe scales very well, create more to have it on hand to easily have it available
  • Store in a well sealed container away from direct sunlight. Sunlight damages spices and takes away the flavour with time.
All Purpose Coffee Dry Rub



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12 thoughts on “All Purpose Coffee Dry Rub”

  1. I can’t wait to use this! I’m so excited for grilling season now that the whether is getting nicer and nicer everyday. I should make a big batch and keep it in the pantry because it looks like it goes well with almost any protein, too! Mmmm….coffee rubbed steak…

    1. Yes! πŸ˜€ I couldn’t wait and used it on an oven roasted chicken πŸ˜€ haha Yay for warmer weather!

  2. Coffee dry rubs are the best! So, so flavorful! I love your tips and observations about how finely the coffee should be ground. I agree– medium grind is the best, but it’s all about personal preference. We just bought some beautiful steaks the other day. Now, I know how I’ll be serving them. Can’t wait! πŸ™‚

    1. Hope you enjoy them! I love giving suggestions out, since not everyone may have the same tastes! πŸ™‚ ..but gosh, I am so excited about the warmer weather! πŸ˜€

  3. Great advice on the spices. Don’t leave them out where the sun can get them. I’ve used coffee in chili but I’ve never tried it in a rub. Funny, I’ve seen recipes for ancho coffee rubbed steak but never managed to make the connection in my head. Thanks for closing that loop! This rub looks spot on. Not too sweet, not too fussy, just my kind of rub. I’m thinking I can get to my grill today as well (I hope). How much cayenne should I go for? I like a bit of kick.

    1. Aye, I have done it one too many times (spices in the sun) and it just wastes your spices since it makes them flavourless. Hope you have fun with the grilling! I usually put 2 tbsp of cayenne in the spice rub when I do put it in, but you can always cut it down as well depending on how spicy you like it πŸ™‚

  4. This coffee dry rub is just in time! I’ve been using this recipe that always tastes like straight salt for my dry rub, crazy. I’ve never heard of a coffee dry rub but I can’t wait to try it now, thanks for a wonderful recipe!

    1. Aye, it’s nice to control the salt and sugar right? πŸ™‚ It’s a versatile rub, so if you like garlicky (like we do) you can also up the garlic content! πŸ™‚

  5. I’m so excited that it is finally warm enough to start grilling again! Great tips on coffee grind texture too! This coffee dry rub is going to be an excellent addition to our seasoning mixes and rubs. Can’t wait to make it and try it out!

    1. Awesome! πŸ˜€ I hope you like it Marie! and YES I am so excited about the warm weather tooooo! But Alberta winters are a lot more harsh than here :O so yea! haha πŸ™‚

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