Why You Should Consider Adding Coffee Grounds To Your Chili

What java aficionado would argue with adding coffee to, well, anything? But is chili taking a good thing too far? Not according to chefs from all walks of life and recipes ranging from high-fallutin' to down-home delicious. Adding coffee to your favorite chili recipe takes things to "next level" goodness, according to Civilized Coffee.

Not only is coffee flexible enough for experimenting, it naturally complements standard chili ingredients such as ground cumin and crushed cayenne pepper flakes. If your chili dish is feeling routine or lacking richness, coffee grounds add complexity in the time it takes to plop and stir. Civilized Coffee recommends instant espresso powder but notes how any version of coffee can give that depth and flavorful kick we all crave regardless of the season. Even on sunny summer days, coffee grounds in a chili rub can jazz up your barbecued meats, per a recipe from Food Network.

How much is too much coffee in your chili?

Coffee Affection reminds kitchen creators (aka home chefs) that the purpose of injecting chili with coffee is to accent the chili, not overpower it. Earthy coffee notes should help the other spices and ingredients do their thing, swirling in a harmony of spicy tastes and aromas. Instead of directly adding the coffee grounds, you could instead brew up a cup of strong coffee and add it to your chili, ensuring a noticeable earthiness without stealing the show.

A recipe in the New York Times advocates adding coffee to chili for an eclectic concoction of Texas-style chili, which also includes some Big C's of chili magic: cumin, cayenne, coriander, cannellini beans, cocoa powder, and chile sauce. It also advises brewing the coffee grounds first to create a strong coffee liquid before adding it to the mix — along with a bottle of beer from which you take two large sips before plunging the rest in the slowly emerging pot of chili.

That's what you can officially call a chili party for one or 100. And what could go wrong? Coffee, chili, and curled-up conversation with friends or family? Priceless.