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Cooking with Fire

Cooking With Fire: Coffee

Justin Cary

Coffee is an important part of life around the world, from the global brands that can be found on nearly every corner to local shops that serve numerous specialty drinks. Coffee is everywhere.

Legend has it that the coffee plant was discovered in Ethiopia in the year 850 AD. A goatherder named Kaldi noticed his goats became increasingly energetic when they ate the small red berries on the bushes around his land, and when he ate them himself he noticed his own increased vitality.

Kaldi then brought some of the berries to an Islamic monk who tossed them in a fire which created a strong aroma and the charred seeds were then pulled from the ashes and ground and mixed with water to create the world’s first cup of coffee.

Officially the first coffee plants were discovered in modern day Yemen, which is directly across the Red See from Ethiopia, and many historians believe that it was Muslim mystics who encountered the plant on their travels and brought it back with them to Yemen.

By the 1500s the plant was a common export and was cultivated in Europe for the first time in 1616, with the plants making their way to the Caribbean and South America over the next century, and finally showing up in North America in 1723 where it became a favorite drink of colonists after they began boycotting tea in their fight against King George III.

You can learn more about the history of coffee in the latest Cooking With Fire podcast. And enjoy this recipe for coffee crusted ribeye.

[audio pending]

Coffee Crusted Cowboy Ribeye Steak


  • 1 cowboy ribeye steak
  • Yellow mustard

For the coffee rub:

  • 2 tbsp fine ground coffee
  • 1 tbsp ground ancho chiles
  • 1 tbsp smoked salt
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 tsp coarse ground black pepper


  1. Preheat your grill for high heat (475º+) grilling. Set up both direct and indirect grilling zones.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the coffee rub and mix well.
  3. Coat the surface of the steak in a thin layer of mustard. Season generously with the coffee rub. Let set up for about 5 minutes.
  4. Grill the steak over direct heat until a dark crust is formed. Flip and repeat. Transfer to the indirect grilling zone. Continue to cook the steak until the internal temperature reaches 130ºF. Remove from the grill. Rest for 5 minutes before slicing to serve.