Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Coffee the illy Way, Baking with Coffee

I had the opportunity to attend an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony featured by illy Coffee as part of their free Welcome Park at the New York Food and Wine Festival in New York City, and take photos for my Instagram account, @food. The event was hosted by one of my favorite chefs, Chef Marcus Samuelsson, a true innovator in the culinary world. 

Sarah Phillips, CEO, (left) with Chef Marcus Samuelsson (right)

Chef Marcus Samuelsson (right) discovering Monoarabica illy Coffee blends at their Welcome Park at The New York Food and Wine Festival.
The illy Monoarabica blended coffee beans hail from Guatemala, Brazil and Ethiopia.
Photo by Sarah Phillips © 2012 Sarah Phillips Sarah Phillips, Inc.
Taken with an iphone.

Chef Marcus Samuelsson's mixed culinary history is rooted in his parents and relatives in Ethiopia, and his adopted family in Sweden. Although he was primarily raised in Sweden, Chef Samuelsson explained that the coffee ceremony is an integral part of the social and cultural life in Ethiopia; that an invitation to attend a coffee ceremony is considered a mark of friendship or respect and is an excellent example of Ethiopian hospitality. 

Photo by Sarah Phillips © 2012 Sarah Phillips Sarah Phillips, Inc. Taken with an iphone.
One young woman, dressed in the traditional Ethiopian costume of a white dress with colored woven borders, usually conducts the ceremony. The washed coffee beans are then roasted in a flat pan over a tiny charcoal stove or open fire (left, background). That, and the pungent smell scent of incense (foreground) that is always burned during the ceremony, fills the air. The ceremonial tools used are laid out on a thick bed of long scented grasses. More.

Photo by Sarah Phillips © 2012 Sarah Phillips Sarah Phillips, Inc. Taken with an iphone.
Chef Samuelsson serving an Ethiopian flatbread.

At, we are fond of using coffee in baking and cooking, both sweet and savory. Coffee, a liquid ingredient, or instant espresso powder and instant coffee granules, are an acidic ingredient and have a unique flavor of their own. Coffee is often used to enhance chocolate and other flavors.    

Did you know? The U.S. is the world’s biggest coffee consuming nation in terms of absolute volume (Brazil, for the record, is the biggest producer). But, coffee is popular around the world, and during its journey, there are remarkable differences in its preparation and consumption habits. 

Our Italian Sponge Cake or Pan di Spagna Espresso Tiramisu Recipe is an example of using espresso coffee to flavor a traditional Italian dessert.

We use espresso coffee to flavor the Italian Meringue Buttercream in our French Hazelnut Almond Mocha Dacquoise Meringue Cake Recipe. Chocolate covered espresso beans help decorate the top of the cake.

Again, espresso intensely flavors our American Whole Wheat Angel Food Cake Recipe, with its soft nutty texture.

A New Orleans favorite, Cafe Brulot is a flamed, spiced, and brandy-spiked coffee beverage served in the best restaurants (and homes) of New Orleans. The flavors remind me of the holiday season, and they are transformed into our luscious Cafe Brulot Chiffon Pie Recipe.

Enjoy our other baking recipes using "coffee" or "espresso", by searching using those keywords.

Photos Copyright © 2012 Sarah Phillips Sarah Phillips, Inc. All rights reserved.