Coffee Pairings With Food: 38 Combinations You Should Try

Coffee pairings with food can sound intimidating if you aren’t used to analyzing the flavors in your mouth. However, if you are into pairing wine and food, you might have given a little bit of thought to how flavors combine and complement each other.

When it comes to flavors and aromas, coffee and wine are more similar than you may think. In fact, in terms of chemical compounds, these are the two most complex drinks out there. Just like wine, coffee has unique flavors depending on its variety, terroir, and roasting process, so you can describe its aroma, body, mouthfeel, and acidity.

Devoting a little more attention to your coffee pairings with food can reveal some unexpected flavor combinations. So, let’s dive in and explore some food and coffee pairings so you can build your coffee sommelier skills and enjoy this complex beverage even more.

1. Berries

Most berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, which are great to pair with your coffee.

Berries taste great with most coffees. They pair exceptionally well with Haitian, Kenyan, and Tanzanian coffee, as they have fruity or nutty undertones. Blueberries are specifically mouth-watering when paired with Jamaican coffee due to the creamy sweetness.

2. Tart fruit

Cherries, kiwis, black currants, granny smith apples, and citrus fruit are examples of tart fruits that are simply delicious paired with coffee. Due to the earthy flavors, these fruits are exceptionally flavorful when paired with dark-roasted coffee, such as Costa Rican and Brazilian coffees.

coffee pairings with food

3. Stone fruit

Stone fruits are any fruit that has a pit, such as plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, mangos, cherries, lychees, and dates. They contain high amounts of fiber, which improves digestive health. These fresh fruits are especially delectable when paired with Tanzanian and Haitian coffees due to the fruity, chocolatey undertones. Hawaiian coffee, such as light roast Kona coffee, is also an excellent pairing for juicy, flavorful fruit.

4. Milk chocolate

Pairing coffee and chocolate can make even the highest quality of chocolate taste more delicious and make a specialty coffee taste even more divine and savory—milk chocolate pairs well with Colombian coffee with sweet caramel and nut notes.

5. Chocolate covered bananas

Ethiopian coffee has a bright, fruity taste, making for a perfect pairing with chocolate-covered bananas or other chocolate-dipped fruit. The mellow banana tempers the acidity of African coffee that is generally known as more acidic than Central American or South American coffee.

chocolate covered bananas with coffee

6. Gourmet dark chocolate

Dark chocolates, especially higher quality ones, should be paired with Guatemalan coffee or coffee from Papua New Guinea. These coffees are known for their rich chocolatey and cocoa flavors. Another option is Colombian coffee, which has a bold caramel sweetness. The combination of gourmet dark chocolate with either of those coffees will create a mouth-watering taste that’s sure to please your palate.

7. Chocolate bark

A chocolate bark, such as chocolate with almonds or cashews, should be paired with a coffee with bold nut tones, such as Brazilian, Colombian, Honduran, Indian, Mexican, or Peruvian. The combination of chocolate bark with any of these nutty coffees is sure to give you the delectable creamy and nutty taste you are craving.

8. White chocolate

White chocolate is mild in taste, so you might want a coffee that doesn’t overwhelm it too much. Coffees from Brazil have a creamy quality that would match white chocolate well.

Regardless of the coffee’s origin, a coffee drink incorporating milk, like a cappuccino, can complement the creamy quality of white chocolate. Strawberries could also go well with your white chocolate and cappuccino pair!

white chocolate and milk chocolate

9. Chocolate mousse

Chocolate mousse is a sweet treat that becomes even more delicious if paired with the correct coffee. As the thick texture of the chocolate mousse is part of its pleasure, it needs a full-bodied coffee to match, like Nicaraguan coffee. You can also use the coffee in the recipe if you plan on making the mousse yourself for an even more explosive flavor.

10. Scones

Light brews from South America, such as Costa Rican, Brazilian or Mexican coffees, are best paired with these flakey baked goods. The heaviness of scones perfectly complements the light warmth of a South American brew. Alternatively, fruit scones specifically go well with Yemeni, Kenyan, and Haitian coffees due to their perfect fruity flavors.

11. Biscotti

Biscotti is a classic pairing with coffee. As it’s hard, it’s often dipped in coffee to make it easier to chew. Espresso or a bitter coffee can be a perfect match for the stark quality of biscotti. On the other hand, a dirty chai latte (or even a standard chai latte for non-coffee drinkers) could draw out the spices sometimes featured in biscotti.

biscotti and coffee

12. Muffins

Most muffins go pretty well with coffee in general. However, if you have a fruit-based muffin, like a blueberry muffin, you can combine your coffee with the fruit involved. For example, Jamaican coffees are a good pairing with blueberries, so blueberry muffins work with them as well.

However, if you have something less sweet, like a pumpkin muffin, you might want a coffee that brings out the spices in the muffin. Yemeni and Jamaican coffees could handle that level of complexity.

13. Bagels

Bagels generally are quite bland, and typical bagel toppings like butter and cream cheese continue that vibe. Pairing bagels with bold Pacific Island coffees or Indonesian coffee might be necessary to ensure that your taste buds wake up.

14. Croissants

Just about any coffee can go well with croissants. The savory and buttery taste of these flaky pastries popular at coffee shops balances perfectly with the sweetness of a flavored coffee or cafe latte. If you’re going to have black coffee, though, go for something strong, like dark-roasted Brazilian coffee.

freshly baked croissants

15. Sweet bread

Many coffee shops sell sweet bread, like the lemon loaf at Starbucks. Flavored coffee can be too much with this type of pastry, as they would be likely to overpower each other with similar flavors. Instead, try a simple black coffee, perhaps with a little bit of milk.

16. Doughnuts

Doughnuts are generally very sweet, especially those with sugary icings or jam fillings. If you want to take the whole coffee and food experience to its limit, you can pair doughnuts with coffee that has plenty of milk or cream. However, donuts with bitter black coffee can also be a rewarding match.

17. Cinnamon rolls

Like doughnuts, cinnamon rolls are sweet and often come frosted with sugar icing. However, cinnamon buns have a heavier texture, and they sometimes have nuts. This complexity requires a beverage to match. A coffee containing undertones of warm cinnamon and rich chocolate, such as Guatemalan or Colombian coffee blends, is the perfect pair for a delectable cinnamon roll.

cinnamon roll

18. Coffee cake

Coffee cake is generally not excessively sweet, giving room for the coffee paired with it to shine. Try flavorful light roasts or bright African coffees from Tanzania, Kenya, or Ethiopia.

19. Caramel cake

Thick, flavorful cakes like a caramel-based cake go well with thicker coffee like Indonesian and Guatemalan coffees. So blending a caramel-based cake with one of these coffees will perfectly complement one another, creating a delicious and mouth-watering experience.

20. Oatmeal raisin cookies

Oatmeal raisin cookies have sugar, spice, and everything nice, but they don’t have a pronounced flavor. Try to avoid coffees with intense flavors that would overwhelm the cookies. Instead, a mellow Costa Rican coffee could be just the right coffee pairing for this favorite snack.

oatmeal raisin cookies

21. Flourless chocolate cake

Flourless chocolate cake is more concentrated than regular chocolate cake, so the ideal coffee pairing for this gooey and decadent treat could be a concentrated espresso shot. For pairing coffee with chocolate cakes in general, you might look at dark roasted coffees, chocolaty Guatemalans, or Brazilian coffees with chocolate notes.

22. Carrot cake

Carrot cake goes well with a light roast coffee that brings out its subtle spices. Bright African coffees could also be ideal pairings. In most cases, avoid anything too dark or heavy. However, if you serve ice cream with your carrot cake, its weighty quality might give you room to go a little darker with your coffee, in the sense that dark roast goes well with dairy.

23. Cheesecake

Dark roast coffees go well with cheese, and it makes sense that the same is true of cheesecake. Cheesecake also pairs with intense Nicaraguan and Yemeni coffees that are earthy and full-bodied. Light roasts or bright flavors might not stand up to the thickness of cheesecake.

blueberry cheesecake

24. Brownies

Full-bodied coffees from Indonesia or Guatemala pair perfectly with dark chocolate brownies. The chewiness and deliciousness of the brownie paired with the bold, rich earthiness of either coffee are sure to keep your taste buds happy. Try adding some vanilla ice cream to the top of the brownies while enjoying a delicious iced coffee for a match made in Heaven!

25. French macarons

French macarons are delicate and crispy, and you don’t want to kill their flavor with a very intense beverage. A light roast coffee prepared using the pour-over method such as Chemex or V60 is the ideal match for this treat. If your macarons come in a particular flavor, you might take that into account as you decide how to pair coffee with them. For example, elegant Panama Geisha coffee is a real treat with raspberry-flavored macarons.

26. Belgian waffles

The ideal coffee pairing for Belgian waffles depends on what you put on them. A creamy coffee drink like cappuccino, latte or flat white could be a good match if you top them with fruit or chocolate. You might also emphasize the coffee and chocolate connection with a chocolate coffee drink like mocha or a chocolate Frappuccino. Filtered Guatemalan coffees with the notes of chocolate also pair well with Belgian waffles.

However, some people prefer berry or more savory waffle toppings such as bacon, which changes the game. In that case, you may want the more acidic and bright coffee flavors of African coffees.

belgian waffles with berries

27. Chocolate crepes

Like other breakfast foods, crepes pair with coffee quite well. Chocolate crepes might get close to the line between breakfast and dessert, and Colombian coffee is a perfect pairing for them. It has caramel and nut notes in its flavor profile to complement the chocolate crepes pretty well. A dark-roasted Brazilian coffee could also be an ideal pair for any sweet crepe.

28. Fruit crepes

Crepes with berry toppings make a distinctive flavor combination with Kenyan coffee. This coffee with prominent fruit notes and pronounced acidity will take your foodie experience to the next level.

29. Savory crepes

Crepes with egg, ham, cheese, or other savory ingredients pair well with full-bodied coffee. For example, earthy and complex Yemeni coffees could be just right for this occasion. Alternatively, rich coffees from the Pacific Islands (Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, Java) with very low acidity pair well with this dish.

savory crepes

30. Eggs and bacon

This classic American breakfast is a salty-sweet flavor pair you didn’t know you needed. Many breakfast blends of coffee sold in stores focus on light roasts. You could go with that for eggs and bacon or other favorite breakfast foods. So try a bright Ethiopian or Kenyan coffee with fruity notes or a medium roast Costa Rican cup of coffee.

31. Quiche

A quiche is a complex blend of eggs, meat, and vegetables in a pie crust. Overall, it has a mostly savory flavor palette, but you have to pay attention to the butter flavor in the crust as well. For some quiches that have a lot of powerful ingredients packed into them, Yemeni coffees could work. However, if your quiche is less intense, a milder Costa Rican coffee might be a better fit.

32. Omelets

An omelet is basically a quiche without the crust. For pairing coffee with omelets, you can focus more on the flavors of the sausage or vegetables. Like many savory foods, omelets go well with bright and pleasantly acidic Ethiopian and Kenyan coffee.


33. Pancakes with maple syrup

Pairing pancakes with maple syrup with Kona and Nicaraguan coffee enhances the taste of the maple and pastry flavors. Kona coffee is light and sweet with a hint of cinnamon. Nicaraguan coffee has a rich sweetness with a nutty vanilla taste. These coffees make for a delectable combination perfect for your breakfast, as they share similar flavors.

34. French toast

French toast is a sweet breakfast treat, often served with cinnamon and sugar. However, its thick texture gives it enough heft to stand up to a full-bodied coffee like Nicaraguan or Colombian coffee. The nut notes in the flavor profiles of these coffees should also complement the French toast nicely. And if you need more cinnamon goodness in your life, you can even try a French toast latte.

35. Avocado toast

A fresh and light breakfast is the trendy but simple pairing of avocado and wheat toast. It pairs perfectly with full-bodied coffees with hints of fruitiness, like Hawaiian or Mexican.

While Millennials have been accused of spending too much money on avocado toast at coffee shops, it’s very easy to make avocado toast at home. Sprinkling salt and chili on top of your smashed avocado can give you a taste of how coffee performs alongside spicy foods. If you go this route, you might want to pick an earthy coffee, like Nicaraguan coffee, rather than a fruity one.

avocado toast

36. Pizza

Pizza and beer is a well-known combination. However, if you want to cut down on the booze, give nitro cold brew coffee a try. Due to being infused with nitrous oxygen using a special nitro cold brew keg, it has a foamy texture similar to a stout. Also, nitro cold brew has a lower acidity than most other coffee types, which is important because pizza is a high-acidity food.

37. Caramel flan

Caramel flan goes well with coffee that matches its sweet and creamy taste. This could be coffee from El Salvador that has a honey-like flavor. It can also be a latte or coffee with cream.

38. Fruit tarts

Try to combine the coffee with the fruit when looking for good pairings of coffee with fruit tarts. As noted previously, Kenyan or Haitian coffees often go well with fruit.

Learning to pair coffee with food does not have to be intimidating. Following your palate can get you most of the way there. These pairings of different types of coffee and food are just a few options to get your mind going. The possibilities are truly endless!

Coffee and food pairings are based on different coffees’ diverse aromas and flavors. They depend on what part of the world the coffee comes from, how the coffee beans are roasted, and how the drink is prepared. If you want to get technical, World Coffee Research has prepared a Sensory lexicon of what exactly counts as a fruity or bitter taste. However, developing confidence in your judgment will take you a long way.

Paying attention and memorizing the flavors is essential to enhancing your enjoyment of both coffee and food. With a bit of practice, eventually, you will be able to determine the best flavor combinations.

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