Maple Bourbon Coffee Rubbed Tofu


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(Note: this post was originally published on February 23, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Cooking with Coffee??

Coffee: we all love it and drink it. But how often do we eat it?? Coffee's bitter, complex, versatile flavor presents endless possibilities in the kitchen and deserves more of our attention. An easy way to incorporate coffee into your cooking is as a rub for a grilled protein.

This isn't just any old rub though! This one has incredible depth thanks to bitterness from the coffee, vanilla and woody notes from bourbon, and sweetness from maple syrup. It's all complemented with the most luscious bourbon caramelized onions and an incredible coffee, bourbon, maple, and orange reduction glaze.

I think you'll find yourself coming back to these coffee-rubbed steaks again and again because the complexity of the flavors is just so rich and interesting.

Maple Bourbon Coffee Rubbed Tofu close-up

A Very Special Coffee

I'm very excited to be bringing you this post in partnership with Paradiso Farm to celebrate their Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee. This coffee is truly a masterpiece, and that really means something coming from a big coffee (and bourbon...) nerd! It has a big, bold flavor that is complemented by a distinctly bourbon-y aroma and a very subtle sweetness. I even detect hints of chocolate in the aroma and taste, especially in the finish. I find it to be nicely balanced and so interesting that I keep wanting to sip it again and again.

Steve and Dovie at Paradiso Farm are my (almost) neighbors. They have a gorgeous small farm in Charlotte, Vermont, where they roast a beautiful line of coffee and even grow their own figs. Their coffee is all thoughtfully sourced and roasted to perfection in small batches right on their farm. But Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee?? This was new even to me, and incredibly exciting since I adore all three of those things. Here's what Steve from Paradiso Farm says about the process behind this unique coffee:

"We start with a maple bourbon barrel from Saxtons River Distillery in Vermont. We then add our green organic Honduras Comsa Marcala coffee beans into the barrel, and roll the barrel once a day to ensure even distribution of maple bourbon goodness to all of the green beans. Once the beans are properly aged, we take them out of the barrel and roast them to a medium roast profile. The result is a unique roasted coffee with notes of chocolate, maple, and bourbon!"

Maple Bourbon Coffee Rubbed Tofu with a bag of coffee

Comfort Food Win!

Now, onto these gorgeous steaks! I've shown tofu steaks here, but you could use this rub (and the onions and glaze, those are important!) for any protein you like. The rub is just Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee (ground to espresso size), paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. I deliberately kept it simple to really let this beautiful coffee shine! Rub it all over both sides of your protein and you're ready to grill.

But you can't have steaks without some indulgent accompaniments, right? These maple-bourbon caramelized onions are so succulent and delicious, and easy too.

Finally, the glaze. Oh this glaze! My inspiration behind these flavors was my Vermont Old Fashioned cocktail, which unites bourbon, maple, and orange. The glaze contains brewed coffee, bourbon, maple syrup, orange zest, and orange juice, cooked down to create the most indulgent, sticky glaze to brush over your steaks. It has some sweetness from the maple syrup, but also very complex bitterness from the coffee, all kissed with bright citrus. It's divine!

Maple Bourbon Coffee Rubbed Tofu on a platter

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Paradiso Farm Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee. You'll use brewed coffee in the glaze and super finely-ground coffee beans to make the rub. For the latter, make sure it's espresso grind, i.e. the finest possible, so that you don't have crunchy bits. If you have any doubt, pass the coffee through a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Bourbon. Since this is for cooking rather than drinking, something bottom-shelf is okay.
  • Maple syrup
  • Orange. You'll use both the zest and the juice in the glaze.
  • Red onions
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Tofu. This recipe will work with whatever protein you want; just make sure to adjust the cooking method accordingly. If you opt for tofu, make sure it's extra firm, otherwise it could fall apart on the grill.
  • Fresh thyme
  • Citrus slices. For garnishing! Choose something pretty and super-tasty, like the mandarinquots I've shown here.

Caramelized onions

Closing Thoughts

My hint: double the recipe. I wrote it to give you four steaks, but you'll want more! Any leftover steak and onions are incredible on top of a kale salad for the next couple nights. Or perhaps a steak and onion sandwich?? Yes, that would be perfect!

I'm so excited about this recipe, and I hope you all will be too. It's utter steak perfection: a bold, flavorful rub complemented with succulent onions and the most luscious deeply-flavored glaze. So get your hands on a bag of this amazing coffee and make yourself some epic coffee-rubbed steaks!

Maple Bourbon Coffee Rubbed Tofu with coffee and fresh thyme

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Cherry Chai Manhattan

Sweet and Salty Stuffed Figs

Roasted Brussel Sprout Waldorf Salad

Orange and Cinnamon Roasted Delicata Squash

Flourless Chocolate Macadamia Blondies

Disclosure: I received free product from Paradiso Farm. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.

Maple Bourbon Coffee Rubbed Tofu

This rubbed tofu is a flavor powerhouse! The combination of sweet maple, fresh orange, bitter coffee, and fragrant bourbon is pure magic. This is a special meal you'll want to make again and again!



For the Glaze

  • 1 c brewed Paradiso Farm Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee
  • 0.25 c bourbon
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • Zest of an orange
  • Juice of an orange

For the Bourbon Caramelized Onions

  • Two medium red onions
  • Oil of choice for cooking
  • Generous salt and pepper
  • 0.25 c bourbon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

For the Rub and Steaks

  • 2 tbsp espresso grind of Paradiso Farm Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee
  • 0.25 tsp paprika
  • 0.25 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • Generous freshly-ground pepper
  • Two 14 oz blocks of extra firm tofu
  • Oil of choice for grilling
  • Few sprigs of thyme
  • Few citrus slices for garnishing


  1. Start the glaze first, since that will take the longest. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low boil. After ten minutes, pour the glaze through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the orange zest and return it to the sauce pan. Continue to cook until it has reduced very significantly, to under a quarter cup. You want to achieve a thick, luscious glaze that is as thick as maple syrup. Keep a very close eye on it toward the end! If in doubt, err on the side of cooking it down too little rather than too much; you can always return it to the heat if you want it thicker.
  2. While the glaze is cooking down, get the onions going. Cut the onions into thin rings and put them in a large skillet with a dash of cooking oil. Add generous salt and pepper. Caramelize them over medium heat until they are evenly browned, stirring every couple minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the bourbon (carefully!) and maple syrup, and cook the onions for a couple more minutes until the liquid has evaporated.
  3. While the glaze and onions are cooking, prepare the rub by combining the espresso grind coffee, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cut each block of tofu in half, to give yourself four equal steaks. Rub both sides of each steak generously with the espresso rub.
  5. Grill the tofu on a hot, generously-oiled grill (or indoor grill pan). Rotate each piece 90 degrees if you want nice grill marks, then flip each piece after the first side is done. Cook until each side develops a deeply-browned (but not burned!!) crust.
  6. When the tofu is done, brush the top side of each steak with a bit of the glaze.
  7. Put the tofu on a serving platter and scatter your bourbon onions across the top. Finish it off with a few fresh thyme leaves, some citrus slices, and another drizzle of the glaze. Serve any additional glaze on the side.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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March 11, 2022
So cool to combine coffee, orange, and whiskey. And I love that there’s a cocktail to match!
March 6, 2022
Hi Suz! I think this would work great with any coffee beans. I'd opt for a roast that's really dark and robust for the most interesting flavor. The most important thing is to make sure it's super-fine espresso grind. And yes, I imagine this would be great on pretty much any protein, let me know if you try it on ribs; that's an awesome idea.
March 3, 2022
This dish looks like fantastic comfort food to me! Love the rub with the coffee and the tofu steaks are such a great idea! Can’t wait to try it! If we can’t find maple bourbon barrel aged coffee, shall we just run with regular espresso beans? I think this would be a fabulous rub on ribs for those who do eat meat! Beautiful dish too with the caramelized red onions!