Coffee Balsamic Vinaigrette

Our coffees are not just for drinking alongside your favorite foods. The rich flavors that you experience when you taste coffee also make it an excellent ingredient to use in your cooking as well! This Coffee Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe is a great example of how coffee can add complexity and depth to something so simple as a salad dressing.

Charleston Coffee Roasters - Coffee Balsamic Vinaigrette

The key to any good dressing or vinaigrette is to balance your flavors. You don’t want any one flavor dominating over the others. So in this recipe we start with balsamic vinegar, which is a little sweeter than most vinegars. Add to that some Dijon mustard, which will give the dressing some depth and spiciness. Mustard is also great at helping the oil and vinegar stay together in an emulsion. The shallot adds a little texture and mild onion flavor, and the honey adds a touch of sweetness.

As for the coffee, we suggest using one of our medium roast blends, such as the Costa Rican Tarrazu or the Tanzanian Peaberry. The citrus notes in these coffees will add a bright acidity that will liven up any salad. But what you won’t get is that typical bitter note you associate with coffee, since our coffees are smooth and drinkable.

This dressing pairs especially well with strong flavored greens, such as arugula and kale. Add some goat or feta cheese for some tang, and a toasted nut such as pecans or walnuts.

But the beauty of salads is that you can create infinite variations with both the salad itself and the dressing. Experiment with different ingredients and flavors to make your own “house salad!”


2 tablespoons brewed coffee, cooled
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1/2 shallot, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a 2-cup measuring cup, except oil. Drizzle in oil while whisking constantly until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, and add additional honey if a sweeter vinaigrette is desired.