Garlic Coffee Pork Butt Rub

What does ‘Coffee Rub’ taste like?

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

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

I can assure you it’s not! 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 flavor to the rub.

Tip #1 : Do not use ‘used’ coffee grounds. There’s no flavor 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 my findings.

  • FINE GROUND – I 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 flavor. It also matches the consistency of the other spices. This is my preference.
  • COARSE GROUND – Not enough surface area for flavor 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 flavor.

…but maybe refrain from using flavored coffee unless “Creme Brulee Toffee” chicken is totally your thing.

Tip #2 : To make this an even simpler and quicker rub, you can 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 flavor with time.


This all purpose coffee rub is my all-time favorite dry rub that I usevon everything. It’s earthy, flavorful and great to use on anything you want to quickly cook up on the grill. Quick to make – you can double, triple or quadruple the recipe so that you only need to make it once and have plenty leftover.


  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground coffee (medium grind)
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoon onion powder (or dried onion flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cayenne (Optional) Reduce the amount for a less spicy rub


  • Combine together in a large bowl and mix.
  • Store in a well-sealed container away from direct sunlight. Sunlight damages spices and takes away the flavour with time.

Love & Sparkle,



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