Cooking with coffee

In a light industrial building near West Chester University’s campus, a large Diedrich coffee roaster heated and hummed. Burlap sacks filled with green coffee beans lay stacked at the ready. Roasted beans churned and cooled.


Frank Baldassarre Jr. stood watching and said, “What do I love about coffee? When I was in my early 20s, a cup of coffee was a cup of coffee. Now I know better.”


The master roaster blends organic beans for his family’s business, Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters.


“It’s called the artisan method. It’s all hands-on,” explained the vice president of operations. “My favorite right now is a blend called the Wild Tiger. It’s a blend of Colombian and Sumatran. It’s a blend that I came up with.”


The dark roast works well in recipes. Mixed with salt and pepper, it becomes a coffee rub for meat, imparting a smoky flavor.


“We like to incorporate what we do here into our cooking,” Baldassarre said.


So do the owners of Pour Richard’s Coffee Co. in Devon, where Richard Berman, a dentist, roasts the beans.


“Rich has been roasting coffee for the last 11 years now. It started as a hobby,” recalled his wife, Mindyjane. “It’s similar to dentistry in that there’s an art and a science to it.”


When customers request recipes, she passes along a family favorite: Pour Richard’s coffee-rubbed cheeseburgers.


“You actually really can taste the coffee in it,” she said. “The cilantro in it is a fresh kind of balance to that.”


Fred Duerr, executive chef at Rising Sun Inn in Franconia, makes a coffee barbecue sauce.


“I think this one’s better for the fall because it’s a much richer kind of flavor,” he said. “It would be good on braised beef ribs or something like that. You need a meat that can stand up to it.”


From entrées to desserts like tiramisu, coffee adds delightful depth to dishes.


“There are so many things to do with coffee when you’re baking,” described Baldassarre’s mother, Maryann. “A very fine espresso in an icing — delicious! A lot of our coffees show up in different things like a coffee popsicle.”


Another coffee-flavored frozen treat tempts customers at Phoenixville’s Artisans Gallery & Café. Affogatto, an Italian specialty, combines homemade gelato and hot espresso.


“Gelato is made with milk, not cream,” noted Rosemarie Holck, who serves an exclusive blend from One Village Coffee in Souderton. “The gelato makes a little lighter taste, yet you’re getting the full shot of espresso.”


Back at Golden Valley Farms, the Diedrich continued to spin, sending the scent of freshly-roasted coffee throughout the building, which also houses the Artisan Exchange, a weekly indoor market.


“You take these amazing coffees, and you really need to know how to cook them, how to roast them,” Maryann Baldassarre stressed. “It’s really an art to learn how to roast coffee.”


Coffee Rub




1/2 cup finely ground coffee


1/4 cup ground pepper


3 tablespoons of sea salt




Mix all ingredients together. Brush each side of your meat with oil and then season each side with the coffee rub. Cook your meat to your desired doneness and enjoy.


— Recipe courtesy of Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters






1 pound mascarpone


6 pasteurized eggs


2 packages of ladyfingers (12 count)


3 tablespoons of sugar


2 ounces of rum (or brandy)


8 ounces of brewed espresso coffee (Golden Valley Farms’ Wild Tiger dark roasted coffee)


4 tablespoons powdered unsweetened cocoa




Make espresso and pour into a small flat pan. Add 1 ounce of rum and mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of cocoa and mix well. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. While espresso mixture is cooling, separate the egg yolks and whites. Beat egg yolks and sugar in mixing bowl until creamy white. Add mascarpone and 1 ounce of rum until blended. Leave in the bowl. In another bowl beat egg whites until fluffy. Fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture. Mix enough to blend. Do not over mix.


Dip a ladyfinger in the espresso bowl and place into a 13-by-9-inch pan. Continue this step until you have filled the bottom of the pan with one layer of ladyfingers. Spoon a layer of the mascarpone mixture across the ladyfingers. Dip another layer of ladyfingers and place on top of mascarpone mixture. Spoon the remaining mascarpone mixture across the ladyfingers. Top the tiramisu with a layer of cocoa powder by sifting the cocoa over the pan with a sieve. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.


— Recipe courtesy of Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters


Coffee Barbecue Sauce




2 cups (16 ounces) strong coffee


1/4 cup dark brown sugar


3/4 cup red wine vinegar


2 cups fancy tomato chili sauce


1 cup tomato paste


1/2 onion, chopped


1/4 cup chopped cilantro


1/4 cup chopped garlic


1/4 cup vegetable oil


1 small green chili


1 teaspoon ground cumin


1 teaspoon chili powder


1 lemon, zest and juiced


2 tablespoons kosher salt


1 tablespoons freshly ground pepper




Heat oil in a saucepan. Sauté onion, garlic, and green chili in vegetable oil for 3 to 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil then simmer 1 to 2 hours depending on desired thickness.


— Recipe courtesy of Rising Sun Inn




Affogato means “drowned” in Italian or “drowned in coffee.” It is a beverage of perfect, preferably smooth ice cream, drowning in a cup of espresso — like a decadent coffee float.




1 scoop good-quality vanilla ice cream or gelato (see note below)


1 shot (1½ ounces) freshly brewed hot espresso or 1/3 cup strongly brewed coffee




Brew the coffee according to the preparation and strength of your desire. In a small dessert glass or coffee cup, scoop the ice cream or gelato. Pour the hot prepared coffee or espresso over the top of the ice cream. Serve immediately while warm and melting. No need to stir, but you can serve it with a spoon if you’d like. The ice cream will melt right into the coffee, so it is good either way. Makes 1 serving.


Note: You could substitute any flavor you like. Chocolate and coffee-flavored ice creams also taste great.


— Recipe courtesy of Artisans Gallery & Café


Pour Richard’s Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburgers


Coffee rub:




1 tablespoon freshly roasted and ground Pour Richard’s city roast coffee


2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar


2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


1/2 teaspoon ground coriander


1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro


1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt




Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.






8 slices applewood-smoked bacon


1 pound ground chuck (preferably grass-fed) or free-range turkey burger


1 pound ground sirloin (preferably grass-fed)


8 slices smoked provolone (about 8 ounces)


8 LeBus brioche sandwich rolls


8 slices red onion


8 slices tomato


SFQ Barbecue Sauce




Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Break in half. Gently mix chuck and sirloin or turkey burger in large bowl. Form meat into 8 patties, each 3½-to-4 inches in diameter and 1/3-to-1/2-inch thick. Using thumb, make slight indentation in center of each burger. Burgers and bacon can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill.


Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coffee rub on top side of each burger. Place burgers, rub side down, on grill rack. Grill until slightly charred, about 3 to 4 minutes; turn over and repeat on other side. Place 2 bacon slice halves on top of each burger. Cook 3 minutes.


Top each with 1 cheese slice. Cover and cook until cheese melts, about 1 minute longer. Place burgers atop bottom halves of buns. Top with onion slices and tomato slices. Brush SFQ Barbecue Sauce over top. Cover with bun tops and serve with additional sauce alongside. Makes 8 servings.


— Recipe courtesy of Pour Richard’s Coffee Co.