Best Coffee & Food Pairings

Thanks to Hollywood’s not so accurate representation of police officers, the classic drip coffee and glazed doughnut is what most people think of when they hear ‘coffee & food pairing’. However, the reality is, we can do as much with coffee and food as we can with wine and food. In both instances, the same concept holds true as the key to the finding perfect duo - match the dominant flavor notes of the coffee with a food that shares those similar flavor notes. Whether you enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning with breakfast, as an afternoon treat with a pastry, or as a dessert beverage to top of your night, we break down some of our favorite coffee and food pairings, so you can ensure you are always having the optimal tasting experience.

There really is no denying that coffee is necessary first thing in the morning, and for most of us, breakfast accompanies our morning brew. If you are more of a light eater in the morning, fruit goes great with medium to light roasts that carry fruity and floral flavors, like our Tidewater Sunrise. However, if a hearty breakfast is exactly what you need to get your day started, go for a bagel breakfast sandwich and a medium to dark roast Nitro Cold Brew. Our Blue Ridge Bluff NCB is a great choice and even better, can be found on tap in your office. Learn more about how to make that happen here.

Now the afternoon has rolled around, you are two hours into a budget meeting and in serious need of a pick me up, another classic pairing for coffee is, of course, the coffee cake. Since the traditional coffee cake tends to be dense, sweet, and often times, nutty, consider opting for a medium to light roast cup of joe with sweet and nutty notes, like our Shenandoah Spring. If you are looking for a more portable treat, grab a biscotti and highlight the almond and chocolate flavors of your Italian cookie with a shot or two of espresso.

For the night owls of the world who prefer their caffeine after dinner with a sweet treat, we can’t forget to mention the plethora of coffee available to pair with your favorite piece of chocolate. One option is to simply order a chocolate coffee beverage, such as a mocha. If you prefer to crunch on your chocolate, the type of roast you reach for will depend on the amount of cocoa you desire. If you prefer dark chocolate, a darker roast with chocolatey flavor notes is ideal. However, a primary flavor note in most coffees is “chocolate,” so you really can’t go wrong if you have a favorite decaf blend you stick to after 4 pm and need your late night piece of chocolate. If instead you find a slice of lemon cheesecake calling to you, look no further than a medium roast pour over with citrus flavor notes and a smooth finish, like our Potomac Falls. The full-bodied composition of this single-origin compliments the creamy texture of the cheesecake.

We can talk about coffee and food pairings all day, but as you can probably tell by now, the opportunities are endless when it comes to finding the right treat for your favorite cup of joe. Though there are many other factors you can consider when it comes to food and drink pairings, such as aroma, balance, and mouthfeel, the general principle holds true that the right coffee and food pairings share the same or similar flavor notes, allowing the items to compliment each other and activate your taste buds. If any of our above recommendations have you drooling, browse our online shop to check out our recommended single-origins and try these food and coffee pairings yourself!

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