“This coffee rub is AMAZING!” “Best coffee rub EVER!!!” “The stuff of dreams!” That’s what folks are saying about this coffee rub recipe. Even better, you can toss it together in seconds from sugar and spice and, natch, ground coffee—and chances are you already have all these ingredients on hand. Sorta makes you want to try it, huh?

A jar of coffee rub with a manila gift tag.

Coffee Rub

4.75 / 4 votes
This coffee rub recipe is full of spices like chile powder, cayenne, turmeric, and coriander. That gets amped up with coffee and dark brown sugar to make it exceptional.
David Leite
Servings24 teaspoons (1/2 cup)
Calories5 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes



  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, coffee, brown sugar, chile powder, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, coriander, and turmeric. The coffee rub will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.

Adapted From

Fire & Smoke

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Serving: 1 teaspoonCalories: 5 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 0.1 gFat: 0.1 gSaturated Fat: 0.01 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01 gSodium: 684 mgFiber: 0.2 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe © 2014 Chris Lilly. Photo © 2011 Jules. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This coffee rub is the best coffee rub EVER!!! It takes about 3 minutes to mix. Then rub it on your steak and grill. The flavor is perfect. Not too hot but plenty of deliciousness to make your tastebuds sing. My husband usually likes to use a steak sauce or some Worcestershire, but not this time. Definitely a recipe you want to save.

This coffee rub is AMAZING! During the last 2 weeks, I have made it twice and used it on pork chops, country ribs, chops (again), and now a whole bone-in pork butt that was smoked, low and slow, for nearly 10 hours. This rub is the stuff of dreams!

Real talk: this is the recipe that brought me to Leite’s Culinaria years before I became a recipe tester. This rub has been part of my family’s life for more than five years and it’s always in our spice cabinet. I’ve purchased grilling rubs from every high-end cooking shop imaginable, and they all get forgotten or tossed in favor of this. If someone in my family says they want steak for dinner, it’s implied this rub will be on it. It hits all the boxes of smoky, sweet, heat, and salty. Just know that you’ll be ruined for all other rubs after you make this.

Depending on how much you’re cooking, it should cover 2 to 3 grilling sessions and holds up well in an airtight container (though we’ve never gone longer than 2 months without needing to make a new batch!).


Note: SEA SALT MEANS SEA SALT. DO NOT GO ROGUE HERE! While I’ve made it with Diamond Kosher (the least salty of the non-sea salt options), it’s still borderline too salty.


Most of the rest of the recipe is forgiving (try different chili powders and different types of ground coffee), but don’t mess play around with the salt. Stick with the big flakes (which I crush with my fingers before I add the other ingredients) or coarse sea salt and know that it will be worth it.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I have tried so many homemade and over the counter rubs. They’re all ok and some are pretty good. I have never had a rub this good and never had one that put such a beautiful crust on the meat. I used bone-in center cut pork chops. They was so good I started chewing on the bone to get the rub off. I think next time I will dial back the salt a little. Do you think this flavoring would be appropriate for a thanksgiving turkey? How about different seasoning but keep the coffee grounds?

    1. Nice, Chris! Please do let us know, looking forward to hearing what you think and what you tried it on…!

  2. 5 stars
    This rub is full of flavour! I used freshly ground espresso beans (because that’s what I have in my house). I used it on a rib-eye steak and seared it in a cast iron pan on high heat. Nothing else was needed – it was heaven!! Now I keep a jar in my pantry at all times.