Coffee can be paired with all kinds of foods, from pastries to spicy dishes. Knowing which pairings work well everytime is a great skill for coffee drinkers to have, to impress their guests with tasty treats and to satisfy themselves for great coffee break snacking.
The delicious and varied taste of coffee blends make for endless tasty food pairings, to suit everyone’s palette. To help inspire your coffee/snack pairing we created this guide with some basic pointers and flavor pairing general rules.
Here are 30 of the best lip-smacking coffee pairings to entice your taste buds…
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1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is an excellent pairing for coffee, due to the rich, deep flavor that pairs well with dark roasts. The intense flavour of the chocolate compliments the bitter notes in the coffee, for a delicious treat.
Why not enjoy a few squares of your favourite dark chocolate the next time you sit down with an afternoon coffee. Better yet, try melting a square into your hot coffee for a quick and tasty addition to your drink, or go all out and make your own mocha at home using dark chocolate.
Combine different coffees with different brands of chocolate for endless combinations.
2. Coffee Cake
Coffee cake and coffee are a classic pairing, as the flavor profiles are designed to be complimentary. The sweetness of the coffee cake rounds out the coffee, for a perfect match.
Coffee cake is actually made to pair with coffee, and intended to be consumed with the beverage. The sponge is typically flavored with instant coffee during the baking process, as it’s the best way to get the intense coffee flavor into the mixture.
Coffee cake pairs well with any coffee, but it’s often best with light to medium roast, for a smooth and sweet afternoon treat.
3. Avocado Toast
Pair your morning coffee with a crispy and creamy slice of avocado toast, as a great way to start the day.
Avocado toast is a fresh and light breakfast, pairing perfectly with full-bodied coffees with fruity notes.
Avocado toast and coffee are the quintessential hipster coffee shop pairing, favoured around the world in the trendiest places. The great thing about this pairing is it’s super easy to make at home too, and can be enjoyed every day.
Try making smashed avocado toast, with salt and chilli sprinkled on top. Both salt and chilli are also very complimentary to the flavour palette of coffee, making this an extra tasty breakfast!
These delicious Italian almond biscuits are another classic coffee pairing that just works so well. Designed to be dipped in a hot drink, Biscotti are often served with coffee as a sweet addition to the beverage.
They are twice baked, which makes them so dry and crispy, so they can be dipped into coffee without instantly falling apart like most biscuits.
The almondy flavour is often accompanied with pine nuts, and goes best with espresso for a delightful Italian experience. They are also fantastic with iced coffee and iced lattes, as a refreshing crispy treat. Try soft baked biscotti with cold brew coffee on warm summer days.
Alcohol can make for a fantastic coffee pairing, from festive drinks to creamy cocktails. There is a coffee and alcohol pairing to suit every taste, thanks to the countless alcohol manufactures who actively market their products to coffee drinkers.
Try pairing delicious flavoured liqueurs with your coffees for a special finish to an otherwise ordinary drink. Mix Vegan Baileys Irish Cream into iced lattes, or splash a dash of amaretto into your hazelnut mocha. The combinations are endless!
Here’s 16 other alcohol pairings ideas to add to the list!
It’s no secret that coffee tastes fantastic when paired with chilli. The bold, smoky flavors compliment each other well, and work in harmony in spicy dishes.
Add coffee to chilli based recipes for an earthy tang. Try mixing ground espresso beans or a small cup of strong dark roast coffee into a vegan chilli con carne for an extra kick that puts an unexpected twist on the dish. Coffee gives chilli a flavor boost that makes taste buds zing, adding to the depth and complexity of the dish.
This pairing also works great the other way around.
Add a little chilli powder into your coffee spice mix, for a kick in your fall drinks. Chilli works particularly well with cinnamon and nutmeg in festive coffee drinks.
Fruit, especially berries, is a great pairing for coffee. Drinking a cup of coffee with a fruit salad is a tasty and healthy breakfast option, full of delicious flavor notes.
Fruit goes particularly well with coffee from Kenya and Yemen, with hints of fruit and spices in the blend. Flavourful coffees like these really compliment berry flavours, making them an excellent choice for your morning caffeine hit.
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries all have a slight tartness to them, that compliments coffee so well. Blueberries in particular are a little sweeter and less tart than the other berries, making them a good pairing for full-bodied coffee.
Pastries are a perfect match for coffee, and have been served with the beverage across many cultures for years.
Hot or cold, pastries have a complimentary flavor to coffee, serving as the perfect partner to the bold taste. Great with an iced latte or an americano, pasties are sold fresh on the counter in coffee shops around the world.
Croissants in particular pair exceptionally well with coffee, for a scrumptious Parisian style breakfast. Try a delicious vegan croissant, or make your own at home with vegan butter instead of traditional.
9. Vanilla Ice Cream
Delectable on summer days, vanilla ice cream is a simple yet flavourful sweet treat. When paired with a coffee drink, such as a frappuccino or an iced latte, this creamy dessert is even more delicious.
Soy based vanilla ice cream goes particularly well with soy milk iced lattes, for a tasty treat on sunny days. The creamy taste of the ice cream is complementary to the bitterness of coffee, rounding out the flavour and adding rich notes.
If you enjoy the taste of coffee and ice cream together, take it a step further and try purchasing (or making!) coffee flavoured ice cream, as a decadent topping for your cold coffee drinks.
10. Cinnamon Buns
Cinnamon buns and coffee are a great combination, especially in the autumn months. The spicy notes of cinnamon work well with the bold coffee flavors.
Cinnamon buns are often consumed with a cappuccino, for a creamy, frothy treat.
Some coffee companies actually offer ‘cinnamon bun’ as a flavour for instant latte drinks, as the spicy sweet notes are so complimentary to coffee.
Try grabbing a cinnamon bun from your local coffee shop when you next order a drink, and try out the deliciousness for yourself!
11. Salty foods
Salt is very complimentary to coffee as it brings out the flavour and intensifies the drink. Adding salt to any dish is a classic way of making it more tasty, due to this principle.
Drinking a cup of coffee when consuming salty foods is so delicious, as the pairing goes so well with one another.
The same applies to salted caramel and other salted sweets – these go great with coffee or as an additional flavouring to the drink – salted caramel latte anyone?
Salty foods pair especially well with coffee from Costa Rica, made with the highest quality coffee beans.
12. Chocolate Cake
You can’t go wrong with chocolate and coffee – it’s a match made in heaven! Chocolate and coffee have similar flavours, as they are both derived from bold tasting beans.
When paired with the sweetness of cake ingredients, chocolate becomes smooth and creamy, and utterly delicious. The same applies to coffee – adding a little milk and sugar makes all the difference.
When consumed together chocolate cake and coffee are a perfect pairing, and suit most people’s tastes. Chocolate cake is always a coffee shop staple for this reason!
Fill up your french press the next time you sit down for a slice of chocolate cake, and enjoy this decadent treat with your favourite roast.
13. Caramel Flan
Caramel flan is a great match for sweet and creamy coffee drinks, such as lattes, mochas or even coffee cocktails.
The flavor of caramel works well with the notes in coffee, harmonising the bitter and bold flavor with smoky sweetness.
Traditionally made with evaporated milk, caramel flan is a simple yet super popular American dessert. Vegan versions are easy to make too, with plenty of recipes online, if you would like to try making this sweet treat as a coffee pairing.
Caramel flan and caramel in general goes well with any kind of coffee – experiment with what you have in your drinks cupboard until you find the perfect combo!
14. Coffee Bread
Coffee bread (or coffee loaf cake as it’s sometimes called) is a scrumptious baked good design to be eaten whilst drinking coffee.
Ideal for afternoon tea or for a light snack, coffee bread is a tasty partner for your favourite roast.
If you can’t find it in your local coffee shop you can make coffee bread easily at home, using your favourite coffee, for a perfect match.
15. Milk chocolate
The creaminess of milk chocolate goes well with coffee for a smooth and tasty treat.
Soy milk chocolate pairs particularly well with coffee, as soy milk is bean based. The creaminess of the soy bean blends so well with coffee beans, which is why soy milk is a popular choice for baristas.
The same applies to chocolate – soy milk chocolate is a great partner for a soy milk latte for example.
Why not grab a bar of creamy milk chocolate to enjoy on your next coffee break and try the tasty combo for yourself.
16. White Chocolate
Like milk chocolate, white chocolate is also a fantastic pairing for coffee.
Sweeter than its counterpart, white chocolate is often used in dessert style coffee based drinks, for a decadent twist.
The flavor of white chocolate is so complimentary to coffee as it softens the strong bitter flavor with intense sweet and creamy notes.
17. Creamy Cheesecakes
Cheesecake is a favourite dessert of many, enjoyed around the world with coffee. It comes in a range of flavors, even coffee itself.
The creaminess of cheesecake compliments coffee and creates a satisfying balance between strong and simple flavors.
Creamy cheesecakes pair well with light roasts, as the fluffy light dessert compliments the softer flavors of a light roast. A dark roast would be too overpowering, and the flavors of the cheesecake would be overwhelmed.
Enjoy a slice of coffee cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake or even a classic plain cheesecake with your afternoon coffee for a simple yet delicious treat.
18. Spicy Foods
Have you ever consumed a cup of coffee whilst eating a spicy dish, and felt as though the coffee somehow tasted stronger?
Spices make coffee more flavorful, as they draw out the strong notes of the bean. Hot spices increase blood flow in the body, and really warm up your mouth and taste buds. Enjoying a cup of coffee after you’ve had a few spicey bites is a great way to increase your enjoyment of the beverage, as all of the flavor notes will be intensified.
Brew a pot of your favourite roast the next time you sit down to enjoy a spicy hot meal, and enjoy the explosion of flavor.
19. Plant Based Milk
Dairy free milks, such as oat milk, soy milk and nut milks are simply delicious. When paired with coffee they add a different flavor to the brew, allowing for a whole range of tasty combinations.
Fill your fridge with different dairy free milks for a range of choices when adding a splash to your morning coffee.
Hazelnut milk is especially delicious in mochas, as it adds a nuttyness to the chocolatey drink that tastes similar to nutella.
Try cashew or oat milk if you enjoy creamy flavors, for a rich and decadent tasting coffee.
Bread pairs well with coffee for a simple yet delicious savoury treat. Try pairing whole grain or wheat breads with coffee from Columbia, Brazil and Peru for a complimentary flavor palette.
Sipping a cup of warm coffee when eating bread helps to intensify the flavor of the baked goods, due to the heat in the mouth and increased blood flow to the tastebuds. Take your bread from simple to sensational with a cup of joe!
Try pairing coffee with sweet bread too, if you have a sweeter tooth, for a quick afternoon snack. Or try spelt flour bread with earthy coffee, for a scrumptious nutty taste.
21. French Toast
French toast is a staple breakfast choice for many in Europe, and it pairs beautifully with coffee.
French toast goes well with any coffee, light to dark roast alike, but try out a French coffee for the parisian experience. French coffee is typically made from Robusta beans, roasted until nearly burnt for a deep smoky aroma and flavor. The result is a slightly more bitter coffee, that goes great with sweet French toast.
Add a little cinnamon and sugar to your french toast to compliment the coffee flavors further, with notes of sweetness and spice.
Another gorgeous French pairing with coffee is the delectable crepe. Sweet or savoury, crepes are a fantastic accompaniment to coffee, as they are simple in flavor and complement rather than distract from the roast.
For a sweet crepe and coffee pairing serve a crepe with salted caramel and a creamy cappuccino for a scrumptious treat.
When serving coffee with a savoury crepe, try adding breakfast foods such as vegan sausages and mushrooms, for a hearty breakfast.
Scones are a British baked good, that are slightly crumbly and dry yet very delicious.
Traditionally served with cream and jam, scones are a great pairing with coffee for a quintessentially British afternoon tea experience.
Try adding a dairy free cream to your scones and serving with a blackberry jam, for a sweet yet tart flavor that brings out the robust notes in coffee.
Coffee and scones are such a great flavor pairing that there are many recipes available for coffee scones, where ground coffee is added to enhance the taste. Why not follow a recipe online and give baking these goodies a go!
Tarts are a typically sweet yet slightly bitter dessert, perfect for those who enjoy a hint of sour taste. They pair well with coffee because the sweet bitter flavors draw out the strong notes in coffee.
Berry or summer fruits based tarts go best with coffee, such as blackcurrant, blackberries and cherry, and often notes of these fruits can be found in coffee blends themselves.
Berries and coffee pair so well that some berry tart recipes incorporate a ‘coffee crust’ to add the rich flavor of coffee to the dessert itself. Enjoy the combination for a bittersweet taste that’s very moreish.
25. Cooked Breakfast
There’s nothing quite like a hearty cooked breakfast and a pot of fresh coffee to start the day.
As discussed earlier in the article, coffee pairs exceptionally well with salty and savoury foods, that draw out the flavors of the roast. A cooked breakfast is traditionally quite salty, intensifying the taste and aroma of coffee.
The next time you cook up a breakfast, try drinking a cup of your favourite roast with the meal, for a satisfying addition. Salt then fry or grill some large portobello mushrooms and serve with vegan sausages, crunchy toast and a cup of coffee from your french press.
26. Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies
Oatmeal and raisin cookies are a quick and tasty snack that make the perfect accompaniment to your coffee during an afternoon break.
The creamy taste of oatmeal and the bittersweet flavor of raisins are delicious when consumed with coffee, as the flavors compliment one another so well.
Try adding a splash of oat milk into your coffee when drinking it with this type of cookie, for an even tastier oaty experience.
27. Belgian Waffles
Belgian waffles pair beautifully with coffee for a flavoursome breakfast great for those with a sweet tooth, or as a dessert to be enjoyed in the afternoon.
Belgian waffles go great with creamier coffees, such as a latte or a cappuccino, or with chocolatey coffee drinks like a mocha or a chocolate frappuccino.
Coffee and belgian waffles are such a popular cafe pairing that actual coffee flavored belgian waffles are a thing! As are coffee flavored syrups as a topping choice for your belgian waffles.
Muffins are a great on-the-go breakfast to grab whilst enjoying your morning coffee. Often served on the counters of coffee shops, muffins are an easy choice for those looking for a quick and flavorful coffee pairing.
Try pairing a blueberry muffin with a robust French coffee for a touch of tart sweetness. Alternatively grab a classic chocolate chip muffin with a blonde roast latte for a lighter decadent treat.
29. Coffee Mochi
Originating from Japan, mochi is a popular japanese dessert often eaten after a meal or with a hot beverage. Mochi come in just about every flavor imaginable, but they are particularly delicious when made with coffee flavoring.
Pop a tasty, squishy coffee mochi on your saucer to be enjoyed after your cup of coffee, or serve to guests for an unexpected twist.
30. French Macarons
Macarons are a delicate, crispy, sweet treat that pair nicely with light roast coffee. They pair well with a light roast as the coffee is smoother and less bitter, and won’t overpower the softer flavors of the crumbly snack.
Macarons come in a range of flavors, with coffee being one of them. Make your own at home with almond flour and instant or ground coffee for a delectable treat.
I hope this coffee pairing ideas guide has inspired you to try some new and delicious treats with your coffee.
There are endless coffee pairing combinations – if you think of any that we have missed feel free to comment below!