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Students spice up Fourth of July
FIU students create a dry rub just in time for July 4th

Students spice up Fourth of July

Grilled to perfection: Recipe for a special Independence Day dry rub crafted by FIU’s Coffee Guild

June 30, 2023 at 2:00pm

By: Daniella Ramos

What better way to wow your guests and sizzle your way into a flavor revolution this Fourth of July than with a new take on the backyard barbecue. Say goodbye to bland barbecues and embrace a new era of smoky, robust and irresistible flavors that will set your Independence Day celebrations ablaze.

FIU students, who are part of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management student club, the FIU Coffee Guild, are the masterminds behind this new culinary innovation, a coffee dry rub, that mixes traditional spices with leftover or used coffee grounds.

Chaplin School senior and Coffee Guild president, Gianna LaRusso, is one of the innovative students behind the blend. She decided to make this semester all about alternative ways of using coffee. From coffee scrubs to caviar, coffee roasting and now the dry rubs – the goal was to redefine the boundaries of culinary creativity in the coffee sector.


Students personalize their recipes during the FIU Coffee Guild dry rub workshop

The result – the first ever FIU Coffee Guild Dry Rub Workshop, where more than 10 different BADIA® spices were laid out on the counters, and students had the option to include their favorite spices and leftover coffee grounds or follow a pre-made recipe. Participants got to take home their own bottle, combining the aromatic richness of roasted coffee with a medley of tantalizing spices. The explosion of flavors are leaving grill masters and food enthusiasts craving more.

“I love the rub,” said hospitality management graduate student Michael Eboka, who participated in the Dry Rub Workshop. “What a great idea to use leftover coffee in a new way. I’m using mine as a topper for drinks,” he added.

The best part is that the dry rub is sustainable because it's made by repurposing coffee grounds that would typically go to waste after brewing your morning cup of joe. This groundbreaking invention showcases the students' creativity while repurposing coffee beans in an exciting way. But it doesn't stop there – the coffee dry rub's versatility extends to vegetarian options, grilled vegetables and even mixing it with oil to craft a delectable bread dipping oil. It's the ultimate companion for any backyard gathering, turning every dish into a culinary delight.

"I was expecting the coffee flavor to dominate, but instead, it helped the other spices shine and set a great foundation,” said hospitality junior Yasmine Tesone. “Plus, there was no grainy texture, which was a pleasant surprise," added Tesone, who recently used the dry rub she made during the workshop to create a mouthwatering steak and was blown away by the results.


Coffee Guild dry rub can be used on steaks, chicken, seafood and vegetables

The Coffee Guild is a student-run organization that was founded in February of 2022. It is one of the three pillar organizations – Coffee, Bartender’s and Wine Guilds - of the FIU Bacardi Center of Excellence at the Chaplin School. Students involved in the Coffee Guild share a passion for and curiosity about for the world of coffee and enjoy building camaraderie around it while focusing on the life cycle from bean to beverage and all things in between.

“It’s more than joining a student organization; you’re getting industry experience, you’re networking, you’re learning new things every time you participate in meetings and events. There’s never a lack of education or fun,” said LaRusso.


FIU Coffee Guild president Gianna LaRusso came up with the dry rub idea

The Guilds have regular meetings on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. If you’re interested in attending or becoming a member, visit the FIU Bacardi Center of Excellence website or follow the Bacardi Center of Excellence or FIU Hospitality social media channels.

The Coffee Guild plans to hold more dry rub workshops in the future. If you missed this one, here’s the recipe to make your own sustainable dry rub.


  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of ground coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder