The Waka Life Blog

How to Make Instant Coffee Chili

Learn why coffee is a secret ingredient in chili and how to make coffee chili.


What is Chili?

If you've never had a bowl of chili before, then you're probably thinking about hot chili peppers. Chili, which is short for "Chili con carne" or "chili with meat," is often used to describe a spicy meat stew that is cooked with chili peppers, tomatoes, and beans. Other common ingredients in chili may include garlic, onions, and cumin.


What Does Coffee Do For Chili?

Coffee is one of those ingredients that people would never think to put in a bowl of chili. It just wouldn't make any sense to add such a strong bitter flavor to a dish that's suppose to be spicy and savory. Yet oddly enough, when you add coffee to chili, the coffee brings out rich and complex flavors that you'd never expect. This is because the subtle earthy profile of coffee pairs well with savory spices like cumin.

When adding coffee to chili, we have to remember that it's mostly for highlighting the aromas in the dish. We don't want to overshadow the spicy flavor with bitterness. Instead, we want to add depth to the flavor by pairing spiciness with a tangy, earthiness.


Instant Coffee Chili Recipe


  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp of chili powder
  • 2 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp of Waka instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp of baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 can (7 ounces) of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 can (7 ounces) of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 can (7 ounces) of garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Optional toppings: Sour cream, thinly sliced green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and pickled jalapeno slices


  1. ​​In a Dutch oven, saute the onions in oil until tender.
  2. Add the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, Waka instant coffee, cocoa, and salt; cook and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  5. Serve with sour cream, onions, cheese, and jalapeno slices if desired.


Make an instant coffee chili bowl with Waka's quality instant coffee today. Get it here.