The beautiful thing about coffee is that it’s universal. Two people can meet over a cup of joe. Business deals are made, friendships created because of the cup in their hands. Coffee and food go so well together. When I think of coffee I often think of what would I eat this with. What do I taste and how do I bring that out. Tasting coffee is much like tasting wine. You breathe in the aroma, taste the complexity and develop a flavor profile. Once that’s done next you taste something to enhance the flavor or counter an acidity that maybe too pronounced.
When pairing food with coffee it really can go either way. And of course it’s all about what YOU taste and whether you want to enhance that or taper it off a bit. When it comes to Latin American coffees I like to keep the food simple since to me the flavors are simple, light and delicate. I tend to pair them with some thing sweet because of the acidity, I want to counter balance it.
East African coffees are often bright an flavorful. With ranges from floral to citrus and berry. These are the most reminiscent of wine to me. Melots, Pinot noir, and sangria! Think of what you like to nosh on with those and try them out with these coffees. I like to make these coffees iced and add citrus and berries for a coffee sangria. Brie and grapes with crackers and bread or a little honey is a great snack!
Asia/pacific coffees tend to be bold, smooth and complex to me. I more often than not like to pair these with bold flavored food. And since the acidity is somewhat subdued in these coffees I like to pair them with a string acidic food like lemon. Some Sumatra with lemon poppyseed cakes or Sulawesi with a lemon cobbler bar is divine!!
Now blends I where you can have some real fun. Start with a blend like Starbucks Yukon. Try a simple pastry like coffee cake or apple pie. Then go for the savory. Yukon is hearty to me I think of beef stew of chicken pot pie. I like to pair a coffee like Anniversary blend with a Brie en croute. Just a little honey and peppercorns and puff pastry. My mouth is watering now.
Have fun and play around. The best part is blending coffee your self to compliment a dinner you are throwing. Play around with depth of flavor and acidity. The sky is the limit. And remember to always invite some friends make it a party. Have everyone bring a pound of their favorite coffee and food to go with it. Mix and match and taste it up. Fall is a great time as it’s starting to cool down and people tend to be in a gathering mood. Don’t forge to let me know how it goes too!