Coffee and food pairing

Sip & Savor: Mastering the Art of Food and Coffee Pairings

Pairing food with coffee can add depth, complexity, and enjoyment to your coffee-drinking experience, allowing you to savor the flavors, textures, and aromas of both the food and the coffee in a more nuanced and satisfying way.

Did you know there’s a better way to enjoy your coffee? No, this isn’t a revolutionary health fad–just good old fashioned culinary magic. In this guide, we’ll explore how pairing coffee with certain foods can enhance flavors and provide you with a whole new taste experience. Whether you’re hitting up the cafe or hosting a brunch, we’ve got you covered with a comprehensive list of desserts, snacks, and other foods to pair with coffee, from light roast all the way to an espresso macchiato. Grab a snack and a cup of coffee, because you’ll be hungry by the end of this guide.

How Food and Coffee Can Elevate Your Experience

Coffee and food are both great on their own, so why worry about pairing them together? Pairing complementary flavors can actually enhance the overall taste experience of both food and coffee in a way that’s unexpected and unachievable when enjoyed individually.

Coffee doesn’t work well with just any food, of course. Certain foods and flavors help balance the acidity, bitterness, or sweetness of coffee while also bringing out the coffee’s natural tasting notes. Pairing coffee with a variety of foods also allows you to explore different flavor profiles and combinations, expanding your palate and appreciation for both coffee and food. Experimenting with different pairings can lead to new discoveries and culinary adventures. What’s not to love?

Best Flavors to Pair with Coffee

Before we get into specific food recommendations, we’ll touch on some of the best confections and snacks to pair with coffee. The flavors in these confections not only complement coffee exceptionally well, but probably also appear in the tasting notes of some of your favorite roasts. Coincidence? Not at all.


Both chocolate and coffee have complex flavor profiles with various notes depending on the cocoa percentage for chocolate and the roast level for coffee. Chocolate and coffee both offer richness and depth of flavor. In general, the bitterness of coffee often balances the sweetness of chocolate, allowing you to enjoy both of them together in a completely unique way. The next time you have a cup of coffee, take a bite of chocolate if you can–you’ll be able to taste exactly what we mean right away. Better yet, order a mocha from your favorite coffee shop and have your mind blown.


Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors to pair with coffee for good reason. The mild sweetness of vanilla balances with the strong, acidic flavor of coffee like a match made in heaven. Though vanilla has a less complex flavor profile than chocolate, it nonetheless has an almost floral taste that contrasts well with coffee, especially light and medium roasts. Vanilla cake and ice cream are excellent confections to pair with coffee for this reason. Vanilla lattes are also popular, though they also feature a significant amount of sweetness as vanilla flavoring is subtle on its own.


Cinnamon has a warm, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor profile that complements the rich taste of coffee, creating a more balanced and complex flavor experience. Cinnamon can often bring out more flavors in the coffee that you wouldn’t even know were there otherwise. The warming sensation of cinnamon can add a cozy and comforting element, especially during colder months. The best way to get the most out of cinnamon with your coffee is to add a light dusting of cinnamon powder on top of a hot latte; the aroma of cinnamon goes a lot further than it would being mixed into the coffee.


Ginger is a really interesting spice to pair with coffee because it has a unique warming effect which can really enhance hot coffee. The spiciness of ginger also has a way of amplifying flavors, especially coffee, creating a more intense experience in the same way that cinnamon does.


The rich, buttery sweetness of caramel is a great contrasting flavor to coffee. Together, coffee and caramel create a delicious balance of sweet and bitter notes. Most caramel desserts have a smooth and creamy texture, which contrasts nicely with the bold and sometimes grainy texture of coffee. Coffee and caramel are both rich flavors, however, so get ready for a taste explosion. This is best enjoyed in milk-based drinks where the fat from the milk and the sweetness from the caramel can complement each other properly.

Foods to Pair With Different Types of Coffee

Ready to get tasting? Here’s our recommendations of what types of foods to try with coffee, from brewed coffee to espresso beverages.

Brewed Coffee

There’s nothing quite like a fresh cup of brewed coffee. It goes well with just about everything, though there are certain foods that taste better depending on the type of roast you choose. Here’s what you should pair with light roast coffee, medium roast coffee, and dark roast coffee respectively.

Light Roasts

Citrus fruits and desserts pair incredibly well with light roast coffee since it has a brighter, more acidic flavor. Avant-garde and third-wave coffees typically have more complex, fruit-forward flavor profiles that can really shine when paired with a cherry tart or slice of key lime pie.

Light pastries with delicate flavors, like almond croissants or angel food cake, can complement the subtle sweetness and vibrant flavors of light roast coffee. Likewise, the brightness of light roast coffee helps enhance the buttery and fruity notes of these desserts. It’s a win-win.

Some other snacks and desserts that pair well with light roast coffee are white chocolate, almond biscotti, marzipan, and even granola.

Try our bright and delicious Pink Lady coffee →

Medium Roasts

Medium roast coffee typically offers a balanced flavor profile with moderate acidity, making it perfect to pair with just about any dessert or breakfast fare. Baked goods with moderate sweetness and delicate flavors, like muffins, scones, or banana bread, can pair well with medium roast coffee. The coffee's balanced flavor profile can enhance the subtle sweetness and texture of these baked treats.

Peanut butter and almond butter also pair well with medium roast coffee. The moderate acidity of medium roast coffee balances the richness of the nut butter, creating a satisfying and flavorful combination. Try brewing up a cup of coffee the next time you make a PB&J!

Try our perfectly balanced Blue Boy coffee →

Dark Roasts

Dark roast coffee typically has bold, robust flavors with lower acidity and often a slightly bitter profile, which is why it’s amazing to pair with rich, sweet desserts. Dulce du leche cake, crème brûlée, and cinnamon rolls can all pair well with dark roast coffee. Even plain dark chocolate tastes incredible when paired with dark roast coffee, the flavors of each enhancing and complementing one another.

Dark roast coffee tastes great paired with other food besides dessert. In fact, dark roast coffee is what you’d normally be served in a diner or cafe, and for good reason. Dark roasts pair well with almost everything, from syrup-covered pancakes to bacon and eggs. Spicy foods with bold flavors, like chili, Mexican mole sauce, or Indian curries, can complement the robust flavors of dark roast coffee as well.

Try our Late Night dark roast coffee →

French Press Coffee

The full-bodied flavor of French press coffee pairs wonderfully with rich and decadent pastries like chocolate croissants and cinnamon rolls. The strong, robust coffee flavor easily balances the indulgent sweetness and buttery richness of these pastries, creating a luxurious and satisfying combination.

Savory breakfast dishes like eggs benedict, quiche Lorraine, or ham and cheese croissants also pair well with this type of coffee. The rich flavor of French press coffee interacts beautifully with the savory flavors in these dishes, enhancing the whole breakfast experience.

This might surprise you, but creamy cheeses like brie, camembert, or goat cheese also taste amazing with French press coffee. The creamy texture and subtle tanginess of the cheese complement the rich flavor and mouthfeel of French press coffee, creating a delicious contrast of flavors and textures.

Learn more: Espresso vs. French Press: What's the Difference?

Espresso Based Drinks

Espresso beverages add another level of flavor and complexity to coffee. Espresso alone has a concentrated flavor, but it becomes something else altogether when paired with steamed milk to create a latte. Here are some of the best food items to pair with espresso-based beverages.


The bold taste of espresso can be paired with a wide variety of things. Crisp and crunchy biscotti are a classic accompaniment to espresso, contrasting with the richness of espresso in a delicious way. Dark chocolate is another natural partner to espresso, its bitterness matching the intensity of espresso extremely well. You can enjoy a bar of dark chocolate with your espresso, or enjoy a big slice of devil’s food cake to make the most of this pairing.

For something a little less heavy, look to fruit. The bright acidity of citrus fruits provides a refreshing contrast to the boldness of espresso. Consider pairing espresso with citrus-flavored desserts like lemon tarts or orange-infused chocolate for a delightful combination of flavors.

Don’t forget the power of vanilla ice cream! The affogato is a popular and beloved dessert that features freshly brewed espresso on top of ice cream or gelato. This dessert is the perfect blend of sweet and creamy ice cream with the richness of fresh espresso.

Espresso Macchiato

An espresso macchiato, with its intense espresso base and a dollop of frothy milk, pairs well with foods that can complement its bold flavors while also providing a balance of textures and tastes. Buttery shortbread cookies are delicious when paired with an espresso macchiato, the contrasting flavors complementing one another perfectly. Some people even dip the shortbread cookies into the macchiato for an even tastier experience.

For something a little more indulgent, try chocolate truffles with your espresso macchiato. We already know that chocolate and coffee are soulmates. Chocolate truffles dial that up a notch with a higher cocoa content and more intense flavor, perfect for a strong and smooth espresso macchiato.


An Americano is fairly comparable to brewed coffee, which means it also pairs well with the same foods. But with a slightly different flavor profile and mouthfeel, Americanos can also pair well with many other things. Americanos tend to be bold and smooth, so savory breakfast items like bagels with cream cheese and avocado toast taste amazing when paired with this coffee beverage.

Lattes, Cappuccinos, and Flat Whites

These espresso-based beverages feature strong coffee flavors that have been balanced by delicious steamed milk, creating a perfect palette to pair with foods of all sorts. Croissants, biscotti, shortbread, chocolate chip cookies, and pastries of all kinds are the classic partners to lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites.

Breakfast foods are also commonly served with these beverages. In fact, most of these coffees were first created to be served at breakfast time. The next time you host a brunch or have breakfast for dinner, consider whipping up some lattes and cappuccinos for your guests to enjoy.

Other Foods to Pair with Coffee

Tree Nuts

Since many coffee roasts also feature a subtle nutty flavor, nut-based desserts and snacks help to bring out those flavors. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans all have excellent flavors that pair well with coffee. Roasted nuts are a great snack to pair with coffee on their own, as well as desserts like almond croissants or pecan pies.


Fruit might seem like a weird thing to pair with coffee, but give it a chance. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes can add a refreshing and tangy element to coffee, brightening up the flavor profile considerably. Berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, and blackberries have a sweet and slightly tart flavor which pairs well with coffee. The coffee plant itself produces a cherry-like berry, so it’s no wonder that berry desserts can help bring out the innate flavors of your coffee.

Bon Appetit!

Pairing food with coffee can add depth, complexity, and enjoyment to your coffee-drinking experience, allowing you to savor the flavors, textures, and aromas of both the food and the coffee in a more nuanced and satisfying way. After all, that’s what life should be about, right? Savoring and enjoying every moment, one bite at a time.

Searching for high-quality coffee to get you started on your coffee pairing journey? Look no further than our selection of single-origin and blended coffees, perfect for any brewing method you choose.

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