French Onion Soup with Coffee

January  3, 2014
3 Ratings
Photo by Good Food Awards
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Jen Apodaca is the West Coast Production Manager at Blue Bottle Coffee Company. Her goal for every coffee she roasts is to find the delicate balance of flavor acidity and developed sweetness. This is her recipe.

Cooking with coffee can be tricky because it is already a prepared beverage. The key to this recipe is patience as you fold in each reduction for a simple, but complex finish.
Good Food Awards

What You'll Need
  • 6 medium onions (sweet onions are best)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces mild brown ale (like Newcastle)
  • 16 ounces unfiltered apple juice
  • 32 ounces brewed coffee (like Ethiopia Kemgin)
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons mushroom base (better than bouillon)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  1. Slice the onions thinly and add them to a heavy soup pot on medium high. Add the butter, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir often while the onions reduce and caramelize (about 35 to 45 minutes). The darker the onions become, the more flavor they will impart.
  2. Add the brown ale to deglaze the pan and let the onions reduce again until there is no visible liquid.
  3. Add the apple juice to deglaze the pan a second time and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes on medium.
  4. Combine 32 ounces of fresh brewed coffee with the bouillon. I made a French press of the 2010 Good Food Award-winning Ethiopia Kemgin: a fragrant coffee with a complex acidity that is not too heavily roasted. The French press is a great brewing method that imparts a lot of body, perfect for a soup stock.
  5. Add the coffee/bouillon mixture and the bay leaves to the pot and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Turn the oven to broil and toast the baguette slices on both sides until golden brown.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and ladle the soup into oven safe bowls, top with two slices of toasted baguette and a generous slice of cheese. Place in the broiler until the cheese has melted and bubbled.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Don Roszel
    Don Roszel
  • Marina

2 Reviews

Don R. September 6, 2014
OK. Here’s the deal. I LOVE onion soup. I’ve made the recipe from Julia Child’s first cookbook several times with great success. So, when I say this recipe, calling for a coffee based stock, I thought, “how interesting”.

Don’t know what I did wrong, but this turned out to be, basically, a cup of coffee with onions in it. I prefer my coffee black.
Marina June 16, 2015
Love your comment, humorous and without rancor, even though you didn't especially care for the outcome. :-)