A beginners guide to coffee and food pairings

Have you ever wondered why biscotti and coffee go so well together? Why a delicious fresh omelette tastes so much better when accompanied by a steaming cup of Joe? If the answer to these questions is “yes” then congratulations you’ve already started your journey to the wonderful world of coffee and food pairings!


Far from just being a way to get started in the morning, really good coffee is best enjoyed then paired with various flavors and tastes. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the world of coffee tasting is complex and vibrant enough to go toe to toe with the more established field of wine and food pairing.

If you’ve already read our guide on coffee tasting and are keen to learn more here’s where to start. Welcome to the wonderful world of coffee and food pairings.

Find the flavor



Before you start your coffee pairing journey, you’ll need to identify the dominant flavor of your beans of choice. Depending on the beans origin, these flavors will range from nuts to mushrooms and everything in-between. If you’re a little uncertain try brewing the coffee in French press or in a pour over. These brewing methods will really bring out the flavors.

Pair like with like, at least at first



When your starting out with coffee pairing try pairing flavor with flavor. if your drinking a nutty Guatemalan coffee try pairing it with some pecan pie, or nutty bread. Once you become more comfortable with the tasting process, you can start trying to pair complimentary flavors and if you’re really daring, contrasting flavors.

Know your coffee types

Now that you’ve got the basics it’s time to go out and taste. Here’s a quick breakdown of coffee types and the foods they pair well with:

Deserts: Desserts pair well with robust dark roasts like French and Italian as well as rich Indonesian coffees like Sumatran.



Poultry: Yup, coffee pairing isn’t just for the sweet stuff. There are a number of savoury foods that go well with coffee. Bright and citrusy coffees like those found in African regions pair extremely well with chicken and duck dishes.

Red meat: Espresso roast really brings out the meaty, smokey flavors of grilled meats. Similarly, the herbal qualities inherent in coffees grown in the pacific region pair well with savoury dishes.



Spicy foods: Central American coffees pair extremely well with spicy foods. Try drinking some Colombian coffee with Spicy Mexican food or an exciting taste sensation.

Fruits: The floral notes found in Ethiopian coffees pair very well with fruits of all kinds.

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