Tasty Tuesday Recipe - Coffee Rubbed Burgers

It may be winter in South Africa, but we're still blessed with enough sunshine to get out during the day. It's the perfect opportunity to take al fresco eating to the next level with our Coffee Rubbed Burgers.

Picture a Sunday lunch, basking in the warm winter sun out on the lawn, with a few of these easy to make burgers. They're delicious to serve immediately, or you can prepare them beforehand and pack into a picnic bag, or even take the patties along and braai at your picnic site. Take along a flask of hot water and your plunger, or a gas burner and a mocha pot along with you to up your picnic game.

So whether you decide to stay on your patio, lie on the lawn, or take a road trip to nowhere slowly, I can't think of a better lunch to go with your favourite midday brew.

Rub Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons finely ground coffee - The dark roasted chocolatey flavours work well here, so I used the Ethiopian Sidamo in this recipe.
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano - You can use some dried mixed herbs here too for a bit of added flavour.
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

Burger Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of Bread crumbs - Or use 1 slice white bread with the crust removed soaked in milk. Squeeze out the excess liquid, and use as a substitute for bread crumbs.
  • 500g beef or lamb mince - You need meat with a little bit of fat to add flavour and prevent the patty from drying out. I like the rich moist flavour of the lamb mince.
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 onion, finely grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Hamburger buns
  • Lettuce or rocket leaves
  • Sliced onion
  • Mustard - I used a German mustard as a spread on the buns.
  • Sauce - I used a home-made peri-peri sauce, but any barbecue sauce is great with this recipe.


  • Combine all the rub ingredients, and set aside.
  • Add the bread crumbs to the mince, and mix in with the egg, grated onions. I used the a slice of bread soaked in milk instead of breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs give a lighter more tender texture. 
  • Add some salt and pepper seasoning to taste.
  • Shape into burger patties sized to fit your buns. You only want to form and shape the meat enough to get your patty the right size. Over working the meat will give you a dense patty. Make the patties slightly bigger than the buns, as they will shrink when cooking. 
  • Coat each burger in the coffee rub.
  • Pre-heat the oven grill and place the patties in the oven for about 5-6 minutes on each side. You can also use a pan for this or even braai them, but I prefer the oven.
  • Lightly toast the sliced buns in the oven during the last minute of cooking the patties.
  • Spread some mustard on the buns and assemble your hamburger, with the patty, lettuce and sliced onion.

    A few handy tips and variations:

    • You can add some finely chopped spinach to the mince to make a healthier patty.
    • If you like the patties a bit thicker, press a small hole into the centre to help them cook evenly.
    • Never press the patties while cooking - they will not cook any faster, but you will end up with a dry patty.
    • Flip the patty only once, allowing the crust to char and develop the flavours.

    • And most importantly: Nothing works better with a lunch picnic than having the right coffee with you. I recommend taking a measured portion of ground Brazil Santos and a flask of hot water with you, and making your plunger or mocha pot of coffee as soon as you're ready to sit down and enjoy.

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