Coffee Pairing Article -
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Coffee Pairing

Solo no more, coffee can be more than just an a.m. survival tool. (But yes, you can still use it for that, too.)

Get to know basic coffee characteristics so you can begin pairing it with complementary foods and bring out the best flavors in each.

Coffee by the Region

It used to be you had two choices when it came to coffee: decaf or regular. Now there’s a world of possibilities--literally. Let's take a look at the major growing regions of the world and what kind of a flavor profile you can expect from each area's beans:

Latin America: Central and South America, including coffees from Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, and Guatemala. Latin American coffees are known for being well-balanced with bright, tangy notes. These coffees also fare well iced--bright and tangy translates to a very refreshing quality when cold.

  • Body: light to medium
  • Acidity: medium to high
  • Flavor Pairings: breakfast breads, muffins, citrus fruits, blueberries, apples, nuts

Try these recipes for pairing with Latin American coffees:

Africa/Arabia: Africa, Middle East, and Arabia. Arabian coffees have berry- and wine-like characteristics--some with spice and cocoa notes, while African beans tend to have a citrus flavor with floral elements.

  • Body: medium to full
  • Acidity: medium
  • Flavor Pairings: berries, citrus fruits, raisins, currants, cinnamon, cardamom, chocolate

Try these recipes for pairing with coffees from Africa and Arabia:

Asia/Pacific: Asia and Indonesia, including coffees from the Pacific islands. Coffees from this region are enjoyed for their robust, earthy characteristics. Many have flower-like or herbal notes to them.

  • Body: Full
  • Acidity: low
  • Flavor Pairings: cinnamon, cheese, butter, caramel, maple, toffee, herbs

Try these recipes for pairing with coffees from Asia and the Pacific:

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    Aug. 20, 2009 2:32 pm
    It would have been nice to see pairings with chicory coffee.
    Aug. 21, 2009 7:44 am
    I worked as a Barista for many years, before becoming manager of a J*v* D*v*'s coffee house. I'm a bit of a coffee snob. I can very definitely recommend Tanzanian pea berry coffees, which compare favorably with Jamaican Blue Mountain, at a very affordable price.
    Aug. 23, 2009 3:56 pm
    Ethiopian Harar! Chocolate notes with a hint of blueberries make for the most delicious cup of coffee I've ever had. And I admit it....I AM a coffee must be Hara, and it must be Alterra, a local coffee roaster in Milwaukee that has the best coffe, bar none!
    Aug. 27, 2009 12:02 am
    That was just fantastic.I never knew you could have variety with coffee.Thanks for the informative update..I can't wait to try out those fabulous recipes.
    Nov. 17, 2009 4:36 pm
    i've been drinking coffee since i was twelve. right now i need to add creamer and sugar, but i eventually want to be able to drink it black.
    Dec. 24, 2009 1:05 pm
    Now I want some coffee!.I was not blown away by the peaberry coffee?.If there is a brand out there that anyone would suggest then send me the info?.
    Jan. 7, 2010 8:08 am
    i love this site
    Feb. 15, 2010 2:50 pm
    I love coffee I didn't know there were so many different types.
    Mar. 18, 2010 2:18 pm
    This looks and sounds DELICIOUS! I have made this and it tastes like heaven- if that were possible! I would recommand this to ANYBODY! Bon Appite!
    Jun. 20, 2010 6:09 pm
    I just spent 3 months in Italy. Espresso!!!!! Nothing better. My husband and I bought a Cuisinart espresso and cappucino makerwhen we got back to the states. 2 double shots a day for me of espresso fits the bill. We purchase Pilon at the commissary, very reasonably priced. Oh, you gotta try it. Starbucks move over.
    Jun. 29, 2010 8:08 am
    i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Aug. 17, 2010 8:55 pm
    I like pinion coffee from New Mexico,it doesn't upset my stomach.
    Aug. 17, 2010 9:02 pm
    I must correct myself it is Pinyon nut coffee and can be found at natural food stores.
    Aug. 18, 2010 11:50 am
    i jst drink instant coffee lol nescafé clasico
    Aug. 26, 2010 10:41 pm
    I love the coffee pairing article! It is a great resource...thanks!
    Sep. 26, 2010 4:26 pm
    I also drink chicory coffee and am curious to know more about it.
    Judy J 
    Oct. 3, 2010 10:24 am
    Alas! As a 100% decaf drinker, my choices are more limited and some of the flavor subtleties are lost. Overall, my favorites are the Indonesian varieties, especially Sumatra, for the full flavor and low acidity.
    Oct. 14, 2010 9:11 am
    I've never owned a grinder, and clients gave TONS of coffee to us, so when I did get a grinder, we have coffee from Starbucks, Hawaii, Christmas blends, hazelnut, you name it! (P.S. Freezing coffee beans help them stay fresher, and for a fresher taste, grind right before using coffee.) Publix sells little grinders for around $15.00 that hold 1/2
    Oct. 26, 2010 1:55 pm
    Can't think of many things better than sitting down with a delicious cup of coffee and food unless one adds good company into the mix, then all is right with the world. Dallas, I absolutely love Jamaican Blue Mountain and you're right - it's expensive but I tend to feel it's worth every cent! I am, however, going to look for Tanzanian pea berry coffees and see how I can pair a cup with food.
    Nov. 24, 2010 6:57 pm
    This is my first visit to this site. I've been reading for about two hours. Great stuff! About coffer resources: in San Francisco, The Cheesery, in the Castro district, is one of the best sources for international coffees in all my wanderings. They have a website too but stop in when next you're in the Bay Area. It's a tiny shop just beside the The Castro Cinema, an heirloom theater seen perhaps by any of you who saw the film, "Milk". Really great service in the mail too!
    Jan. 13, 2011 6:32 pm
    I drink coffee, but I am trying to quit.Its so sad.:/
    Jan. 22, 2011 9:01 am
    I love my coffee and have recently discovered the Organic Sumatra which I buy from WinCo in their bulk coffee bins. Absolutely delicious freshly ground and as good as Peets or Starbucks in my opinion. For those of you who live near a WinCo, I highly recommend you try it. Yum!!
    marlene j lopes 
    Mar. 13, 2011 4:52 pm
    colombian and drink it black real caffee
    May 13, 2011 8:20 am
    This Is A Very Good Recipie Thumps Up 2 Yah.....:)***<3
    Jeanie Hansen 
    Jun. 1, 2011 9:06 am
    We've been roasting coffee for 12 years - Jump Off Joe Coffee Co.(a small family owned and operated company. One of our favorites - blending Sumatra, Guatamala and Brazil! Don't know if we'll continue if price of beans goes much higher!!
    Jun. 11, 2011 7:03 am
    K think this coffee is amazing especially since I'm a very healthy eater
    Jun. 11, 2011 7:04 am
    K think this coffee is amazing especially since I'm a very healthy eater and drinker
    Jun. 11, 2011 1:11 pm
    I wasn't much of a coffee drinker, until I was introduced to 'good' coffee (not folgers or maxwell house). Now we have to have our morning cup(s). We get all our coffee from They roast in small batches, and it's delicious!!
    Jun. 20, 2011 9:37 pm
    Although most would agree that this is pretty obvious, you won't taste any of the subtle notes or flavors if you add anything to the coffee first. For best results, slurp the black coffee so the full flavor can splash all over your palate. Take a bite of your pairing, then try the brew again to highlight specific flavors or notes. Also, a coarse grind, filtered water and a French press are the options to go with for flavor discovery.
    Jul. 19, 2011 1:36 pm
    Q.Q I need to get over my caffeine addiction... >:O Stupid bio-finals got me hooked onto espresso
    Jul. 31, 2011 1:44 pm
    This is a great and informative article and helps people to bring out the best flavors when eating their favorite dessert and pairing it with a coffee beverage.
    Oct. 14, 2011 4:10 am
    Hello! I'dlike no know if ther is any information to make coffe pairing. TO know what kind of variety or intensity is the best ento to a meal depending on what you've eaten! thaaanks!
    David W. Peace 
    Oct. 30, 2011 11:21 am
    My love for coffee has leaked into my art. I love this site (All recipes)! It's very informative and very good for breaking the mundane.
    Feb. 28, 2012 1:53 pm
    Mmmmm! nothing better that some coffee and a Blueberry Muffin in the morning! Rock's!!!! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Apr. 1, 2012 6:16 am
    all my time, i dont know of a day without coffee, summer, spring fall winter. i drink kenyaa and jamaica mt. blue blend. its delicious. i get chock full o nuts and regrind the portion i intend to use for coffee and it becomes stronger, the flavor is in there with it reqround. delicious yummie;)
    May 23, 2012 10:18 am
    I really love coffee to I don't like cold coffee y
    May 28, 2012 1:03 pm
    Jenny I love bread pudding that is thin with a good meringue on top. One of my favorite bread puddings is French Apple Bread Pudding with dried Cranberries instead of raisins, or French Quarter Bread Pudding, or Peachy Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce Recipe, or Sweet Potato Pie or Pecan Pie or Raspberry Crepes with White Chocolate sauce. Buttermilk Pancakes with bacon are all good with Chicory. Also I like my Chicory coffee with cream and a pinch of sugar.
    Jun. 17, 2012 3:42 am
    I never used to drink coffee, until I had kids, then I found I really looked forward to it mid-morning! I like it when the experts say it helps prevent a Type 2 diabetes and also has other health benefits. I'm not complaining at all - as long as my coffee is smooth as silk and rich, I'm a very happy lady!
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