What Is Espresso Powder and What Does It Do to Chocolate?

Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee—or at least until I’ve had my espresso powder-infused sweet treat. But what is espresso powder? Is espresso powder the same as instant espresso? Does espresso powder have caffeine? How do you use espresso powder? Let’s get to it.

What is espresso powder? 

To make espresso powder, you brew espresso, dehydrate it to create granules, and ground it into a fine powder. It’s essentially instant espresso. There’s also instant coffee, which people use all the time when they need their coffee fix in a pinch, like when they’re camping or just don’t feel like brewing a whole pot. (What is instant coffee? We have the answer to that too.) But espresso powder is used more in recipes, especially baking. 

So, how do you use espresso powder? 

Okay so we know espresso powder is basically stronger instant coffee but most people don’t drink it. How do you use it? You cook with it. The coolest thing about espresso powder is it makes chocolate taste more chocolatey. You know how when you add a sprinkle of salt on something it can bring out the savory notes? Espresso powder brings out the chocolate notes in chocolate. If you’re making brownies or a giant chocolate cake to eat at your Matilda viewing party, add a dash of espresso powder. Just adding a little does not add a coffee taste. Of course, if you dump a jar in there, you’re going to taste some coffee, but a little goes a long way. 

In addition to chocolate, espresso powder can be used as a meat rub on steaks, ribs, and brisket. If a recipe calls for espresso powder and none is around, you can substitute instant coffee or just some brewed coffee.

Does espresso powder have caffeine?

Espresso powder does have caffeine. But it’s not a ton, especially since you’re usually working with small amounts. There are decaf versions available if you so choose. 

I personally love espresso powder because it lets me talk about my four favorite things: coffee, steak, cake, and dehydrated granules. Thank you, espresso powder!

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About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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  • Can you rank espresso powders!!