Coffee and Chocolate Pairing Guide
Both universally loved flavours, coffee and chocolate can be a match made in heaven. Whether enjoying a square of chocolate dipped into a fresh brew or a delicious bake that combines these two flavourful ingredients together, there are almost unlimited opportunities to create great pairings.
We take a look at how to get the best flavours out of your coffee and chocolate combos!
How to Pair
While it’s easy enough to find an enjoyable match between most food and drink, there is something of an art to pairing; where you find flavours that complement each other perfectly.
There are a number of basic ‘rules’ when it comes to pairing that can really help to make the process easier.
Generally speaking, items should be paired like-with-with in terms of intensity. This means that if you have a really strong flavour, it is best to enjoy it with an equally powerful taste that can hold its own against the other ingredient.
If you pair a strong-flavoured ingredient with a milder taste, then the stronger item may overwhelm the taste of the milder ingredient and mask its subtleties.
Flavour is arguably the most important aspect of a pairing and is likely to determine how much you enjoy your combination. Consider the basic flavour present in your food or drink and how this will work well with other flavours.
For example, enjoying a sweetened or milky coffee with a bar of white chocolate may be overly sweet, but a black coffee and sweet bar of chocolate will help to balance out the flavours. The sweetness of the chocolate will balance out the bitterness of the coffee, and the savoury notes of the coffee will help to balance out the sugariness of the chocolate.
With many different flavour options, including caramel, salted, orange and mint, chocolate can be a surprisingly versatile ingredient to pair with, and can be used to match up with the subtler flavours present in your coffee.
Things to Consider in Coffee and Chocolate Pairing
There are also things to consider specific to pairing coffee and chocolate:
When considering a pairing with coffee, you will need to think about the acidity present in your brew. The level of acidity found in coffee will depend on its growing conditions, and the way it was roasted.
Using a coffee with less acidity can help to allow more subtle and complex underlying notes in your coffee shine through and offer more exciting pairing opportunities.
Best Coffee and Chocolate Pairings
With these rules in mind, there are a number of great chocolate and coffee pairings that will work excellently together.
As different brands, roasts and origins will offer different and complex flavours, many of our pairings will be done by the key flavour present in the beans, which is typically noted on the packaging!
Of course, pairing is quite a personal thing, with each of us having our own taste preferences, but this should give you a rough guide to help you get started!
Espresso and Dark Chocolate
One of the easiest examples of pairing comes from espresso and dark chocolate. The rich flavours of each pair wonderfully with each other and are good equals in terms of strength.
If you’re choosing an espresso over the likes of a latte, then you probably aren’t as fond of the overly sweet, making dark chocolate an ideal treat.
Dark chocolate can be bitter, however, so make sure you use a roast that has limited bitterness. By brewing with an AeroPress UK coffee maker, you can also help to reduce bitterness, as it produces a rich and smooth coffee without harsh notes!
Alternatively, you can combat any bitter or acidic notes in your espresso by pairing it with a dark chocolate that has a little added flavour, such as caramel.
Fruity or Floral Coffees
Coffees with fruity or floral tasting notes are more delicate in flavour than other types of coffee and can easily be overpowered by a rich chocolate. As such, it is a good idea to pair these coffees with a milk chocolate that has less than 55% cocoa.
Milk chocolate is sweeter, and this will also work well in partnership with the fruity notes of the coffee, while allowing these subtler notes to shine through without overwhelming them.
Fruity and floral coffees typically originate from the likes of Africa, Costa Rica and Guatemala, but many roasts now will identify the specific notes present in a brew on the label.
Coffee with hints of spice, often originating from Indonesia, have spicy or earthy tones and tend to present with less acidity. Due to this, they are able to be paired with darker chocolates that have around 70% cocoa content, as the lack of bitterness in the coffee allows for the chocolate to be bitter without overwhelming.
Chocolate that also contains fruit or nuts would also work wonderfully with this sort of coffee, as the spicy notes complement the dried fruit or nut flavours and textures.
Some coffees produce a hint of nuttiness when brewed, and this flavour combination can open up a rather diverse amount of pairing options. The creaminess that comes with nutty notes provides a hint of sweetness that can work well with milk and slightly dark chocolate.
A bit of an all-rounder, nutty coffees can be paired with fruity or spicy chocolates also, adding extra depth and complexity to the experience. As well as this, nut-toned coffees can be perfect for pairing with other forms of chocolate, such as brownies, cakes, truffles or cookies!
Coffee with hints of nuttiness is typically sourced from South American countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru.
Hopefully, this has given you an insight into how you can enhance your coffee experience with the help of a tasty treat or two! Let us know your favourite coffee and chocolate pairings by leaving a comment below!