Coffee and food pairing 101

Most people are quick to talk about the delicacy and brilliancy of wine pairing but few ever delve into the mutable nature of our most beloved hot beverage, coffee. Just like a fine wine or artisanal beer, coffee both impacts and is impacted by food pairings. Here are a few of the basics!

CITRUS TONES, like those found in most Centrals and South Americans, are bright, slightly tangy, and pair well with drier pastry and fruit-based deserts, including pies and tarts. Try:

  • El Salvador La Reina and chocolate chip pumpkin bread: we love the way La Reina’s nut / honey base perfectly complements the strong cinnamon and pumpkin spices  ~ Cindy’s pairing!
  • Seattle Express and biscotti: Seattle’s dark chocolate, blackberry, and merlot tones add sweetness and dimension to the goodness of the biscotti ~Nicole’s pairing

FRUITY TONES, like those found in North Eastern Africans and Yemens, pair well with berries while melons and fleshy, seed-based fruits, like peaches and plums go well a fine Tanzania Peaberry. Try:

  • Kenya Peaberry and buttery pastry: Kenya’s intense black current and wine notes create a beautiful balance with crumbly, butter based pastries like a croissant, scone, or biscuit.  ~Nicole’s favorite
  • Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and homemade apple pie: Yirgacheffe’s complex honey, citrus, and cinnamon tones compliment the sugary sweetness of the baked apple and add texture to the doughiness of the crust ~Susan’s pairing

SPICEY TONES, like those found in great Indonesians, including Sumatras and Javas, compliment all things chili. The rich, bitter cocoa undertones create a superb foundation to showcase all dominant spicy overtones. Yum!

  • Sumatra Orangutan and huevos rancheros: spicy, spicy, spicy! No more commentary needed. ~David’s favorite
  • Sulawesi Toraja and ice cream: the gentle spice and sweet honey nut tones undertones blend perfectly with nut flavored ice cream – adding warmth and lightness to the sweet cream. Yum! ~Cindy’s favorite

Tell us about your favorite pairings!

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