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Coffee & Food Pairings

Coffee & Food Pairings

Coffee… & chocolate, we know this is a perfect pairing, take the classic Tiramisu ‘pick me up’, a perfect combo of espresso-soaked ladyfingers, sabayon, mascarpone & cocoa, it doesn’t get much better than that. Who doesn’t enjoy a bowl of sweet milky coffee to dip a pain-au- chocolate into or a shot of espresso with the sweet bite of a biscotti?

According to Schulstad Bakery Solutions ( Schulstad Bakery Solutions) their customers state that their favourite coffee & pastry pairings include: vanilla frappucino with a maple pecan plait; caramel frappucino with an apple crown & an almond latte with a cinnamon swirl, (Contract Catering March 22). In recent research they found that by pairing their pastries with a coffee recommendation it was more likely to encourage a whopping 87.6% off their customers make the double purchase.

Coffee, they say, is every bit as complex as wine, with the ever-increasing popularity in single origin & high-end brews, understanding characteristics & flavour profile will support your ability to pair well with foods. Coffee beans come from three fairly specific areas: Central America, Africa & the Pacific region. Generalising, Central America tend to have a nutty, chocolatey profile; Africa is more citrus & floral whilst the Pacific region leans towards herbal, earthy notes.

Arabica beans are the popular choice, used by 60-75% worldwide (, the acidity is higher, the taste sweeter, favoured for floral, fruity notes whereas Robusta has a lower acidity, a bitter taste with woody earthy notes, it does however have almost double the caffeine content. There is also the ‘roast’ to consider, turning the beans from green to brown. Typically, light roasted beans are more acidic & fruitier, dark roasted more bitter. As with wine, light roasts go well with milder flavours whereas the darker roasts complement stronger flavours. Finally is the ‘body’, similar to roast a light bodied coffee will pair well with seafoods, pastries, fruit & hard cheeses. Medium body suits poultry, fruity desserts, fish & salads whilst a full bodied coffee will pair spicy foods, dark chocolate, rich desserts & smoked meats.

So, much to consider when pairing! To begin your journey identify the dominant flavour of your chosen bean, then go with your senses, everyone’s journey is different!

@morganedaeschner ‘coffee & Comte, dare this pair, highly recommended to chose a Comte of 9-15 months & a speciality coffee: a sweet & fruity natural or a floral Ethiopian such as a washed Sidamo’

A coffee to start your day? Coffee pairs exceptionally well with salty, savoury foods… bacon, eggs & a pot of coffee in the morning, such a great way to start the day. Salt, as we know, brings out the flavour in foods, with coffee it helps to draw the flavours from the roast, intensifying the taste. Apparently, they say Costa Rican coffee is a good choice if you’re starting your day with a cooked breakfast.

We know that indigenous ingredients work well together so it comes as no surprise that chilli also works exceptionally well with coffee: the bold, smoky flavours harmonising well with spicy dishes. Naturally Central American origin coffees pair well, try drinking Colombian coffee with your Mexican dishes; add strong, dark roast beans to a chilli or grind & add as an espresso shot to increase depth & complexity.

A meal to remember, counter dining at Tom Kerridge’s Coach  (, Marlow, venison chilli with puffed wild rice finished with a cappuccino foam, exquisitely presented, it was fabulous, the flavours & textures perfectly in tune with one another, a firm favourite flavour memory albeit a (fair) few years ago!

Add coffee to a marinades, it will help tenderise your meat, use in a spice rub or add a little to your BBQ sauce to off-set the sweetness. Anthony’s of Leeds did an amazing onion & coffee risotto, the creaminess of the risotto perfectly off-set with the addition of subtle bitter notes of a darker roast.

 @classiccoffees ‘coffee grown in India, Sumatra, papua New Guinea & Dominican Republic is known to pair well with pork, beef & lamb. For enhanced flavours dark coffee is an idea watch with meat.

The UK BBQ School ‘pork chops with espresso, rum & maple syrup glaze.

The bright, citrus notes of African origin coffees pair well with poultry & duck, make sure your roast & body is medium, think lemon, grapefruit & orange notes. Floral notes sit well with soft fruits & berries: mango, peach, strawberry.

Desserts & coffee to finish? Nuts, caramels, chocolates, creams, go subtle & compliment, be daring & contrast.

Pecan pie with a nutty Guatemalan roast; a classic Affagato – vanilla bean ice cream with a hot shot of espresso poured over. A simple square of chocolate… is it ever that simple? Nut toned coffees taste exceptionally good with milk to slightly dark chocolate (up to 70% cocoa), whilst fruity floral coffees pair with light & milk chocolate (50% cocoa); earthy, spicy coffees suit a cocoa content of between 50 – 70%… (

Take your time, pondering your choices of coffee & food pairings, a little heads up… drink coffee, live longer!–-and-scientists-now-know-how-many-cups-a-day-you-need/ar-AATE6e3?ocid=winp-sl

Would you like support developing coffee & food pairings on your menus? Get in contact, our experienced team will be happy to chat, over a coffee of course!


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