Café Touba Recipe: A Senegalese Spicy Coffee Drink
Have you ever had spicy coffee? While most of us sweeten our coffee drinks, West Africa adds pepper to theirs. Though it started as a religious tradition, café touba is now a popular Senegalese drink. Read on to find out how to make it.
What You Need
- 20 grams coffee beans, ground medium-fine
- One selim pepper pod (also be called Guinea pepper, kani pepper, kili pepper, or djar pods)
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp ground ginger, or 1 tbsp freshly shredded ginger
- Medium saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Spice grinder or food processor
- Avocado oil
- One ultra-fine metal Aeropress filter
- Aeropress paddle for stirring
- 16-ounce mug
At a Glance
How to Make Café Touba
If you’re looking to try a new coffee drink from around the world, then café touba is a spicy, aromatic coffee drink that’s sure to put a spring in your step.
Originating in the early 1900s, cafe touba is named for the holy city of Touba in Senegal, on the Western coast of Africa. At its inception, this spiced coffee drink was an integral part of the Sufis’ peaceful protest against French colonial rule (1).
First created by Sheik Amadou Bamba—also known as Serigne Touba—this spiced coffee drink was important to the Sufis’ religious practice. Both before and after preparing the drink, devotees would recite prayers. Now, cafe touba is a common beverage served on busy street corners in small paper cups for just a few cents.
Similar to Mexican spicy coffee and coffee with cinnamon, you’ll need to prep the spice mix before brewing your coffee. But in this recipe, we’ll be toasting the spices in oil instead of simmering them in milk, adding a smoky flavor.
While most people drink this spicy coffee on its own, you can definitely add milk and sweetener. Brewed black, the final cup has notes of pepper, dried fruit, and sugar.
1. Prep Your Spices for Toasting
In a medium saucepan, place enough avocado oil to coat the bottom of the pan and slowly heat on medium.
Next, lightly toast the selim pepper, aka Guinea pepper, pod until it releases its aroma. Once toasted, remove the seeds, and place them into the bowl of a food processor or in a grinder. Then, remove the cardamom from its pod and place the seeds with the selim pepper. Add the coriander seeds, and pulse until everything is just ground.
2. Toast Your Spices
Add a bit more oil to your saucepan and toast your ground spices, including the ground ginger and nutmeg, until they’re fragrant.
Since this spice blend makes more than you’ll need for this recipe, set aside the leftovers in a resealable, airtight jar once the blend has cooled.
Pro Tip: Because these spices toast quickly, it’s a good idea to never leave them unattended on the stove. Instead, toast them over medium heat, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon to ensure they won’t burn.
3. Brew Your Coffee
Place an ultra-fine metal filter into your Aeropress’s cap, assemble it, and place it over your 16-ounce mug.
Measure in 20 grams of medium-fine grind coffee, and gently tap the Aeropress on your counter to level out your coffee bed. Add in ½ teaspoon of your ground spices and enough 185-degree water to reach the max fill line of the Aeropress.
With a fork or Aeropress paddle, stir everything together for 30 seconds. Place the plunger on the Aeropress and gently pull up to create a vacuum.
Brew for another 30 seconds, press the coffee into your cup, and enjoy your Touba.
Pro Tip: While you can use any coffee beans you prefer, we suggest a full city or dark roast, as they’ll have the boldness to stand up to the spices.
Café touba is a great way to incorporate a bit of the West African kitchen into your coffee routine. Because it’s very aromatic, it pairs well with desserts like sombi, a Senegalese coconut rice pudding, or spiced Nigerian doughnuts.
Did you try this recipe for cafe touba? Let us know in the comments below or in our Home Grounds Facebook group.
Yes, you can add sweetener to Touba coffee. While brown sugar pairs best with this spiced coffee, honey, agave, or sugar substitutes work well here, too. Whichever sweetener you choose, be sure to add it in proportion to your coffee.
Yes, you can add steamed milk. The spices in Touba coffee stand up well to any milk or milk alternative. While whole milk works best, oat milk is also a great substitute (2).
Yes, you can use pumpkin pie spice in cafe touba. If you can’t find selim pepper or need to make café touba quickly, then pumpkin pie spice is a good substitute. Most pumpkin spice blends contain cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice powder – all of which make excellent additions to café touba (3).
- Elisa, Sandra. (2018, August 23). Coffee Drinks From Around the World: Café Touba of Senegal. Barista Magazine Online. https://www.baristamagazine.com/cafe-touba/
- Kitchen, W. (2022, January 4). How to Steam Oat Milk. Willa; Willa’s. https://willaskitchen.com/blogs/on-bar/how-to-steam-oat-milk
- Espinoza, J. (2022, January 4). Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend. Delicious Obsessions® | Real Food, Gluten-Free, Paleo Recipes, Natural Living Info. https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2013/09/homemade-pumpkin-pie-spice-blend-recipe/