Coffee and chocolate. What’s not to love? And what could go wrong? Pairing coffee and chocolate is more of an art than you might think.
When done right, they can bring out the best in each other and complement each other’s complex flavours. When not paired well, one could seriously overpower the other and not be a good mix at all.
Don’t worry - we’ll cover the basics of how to pair these two treats. So when you’re treating your loved one this Valentine’s Day (or just treating yourself), you can make sure your gifts are a good match too.
Why do coffee and chocolate go well together?
There’s a reason coffee and chocolate seem meant for each other. Actually, there are a few of them:
- They come from a common latitude
- Both the coffee and cocoa bean are the seed of a tropical fruit
- They’re both dried at origin - their production process is similar
- They’re both artfully roasted to bring out their inherent flavour profiles (of which both have a huge variety)
- They’re chemically similar
- They both have healthy antioxidants
No wonder it seems natural to pair them.
What flavours pair well with coffee?
When thinking about coffee and food pairings, you can take two key approaches.
A mirror pairing means looking for similarities in the qualities of the food that are in your coffee of choice. This enhances the qualities they have in common.
As you might expect, a contrast pairing is pairing a coffee and a chocolate that have contrasting qualities. This is a bit more tricky, but can still be compatible while delivering unexpected delights. The differing qualities can also act to balance each other out.
Whether you’re mirroring or contrasting, there are elements of the coffee you will need to take into account when choosing your chocolate pairing. Generally speaking, when mirroring, lighter roasts are more acidic and lend themselves more to milk and white chocolate with more subtle and fruity characteristics. Darker roasts have more body but fewer subtleties, pairing well with darker, nuttier chocolate. But it depends on how creative you want to get - you could be bold with your contrast pairings and produce some interesting results.
Coffee and chocolate pairing ideas
We’re excited about our Valentine’s Special Edition Honey Geisha coffee, so we’re going to use it as an example of how to pair. To give some context for the flavour pairings, let’s get into what a Honey Geisha coffee is.
Geisha coffee is one of the most sought-after coffee in the world and it’s known for its naturally sweet flavour and can have notes of jasmine, honey and even black tea. It’s prestigious because of its complexity and unique flavour. It’s certainly an elegant coffee with subtle notes which are best preserved with a lighter roast.
Our Geisha is honey roasted. If you’re not familiar with honey roasting, this means the coffee cherry is de-pulped with water but then left to dry. The leftover fruit on the bean resembles honey - gold and sticky. After it dries, it’s then milled out during processing rather than washed off.
So it’s not quite a natural (dry) processed coffee, nor is it completely wet processed - it’s a hybrid. This slightly untraditional method results in a delectable natural sweetness to the coffee, which really brings out the inherent sweetness of Geisha.
So we’re working with a luxurious fruity floral coffee that’s subtle, sweet and light. And because, like all our coffees, it’s such a high standard of quality and ethics, we want to pair it with a chocolate that has the same loving attention to detail and a similar ethos.
Our Honey Geisha we’re excited to unveil is our Valentine’s limited edition Geisha San Jerónimo from Guatemala, with hints of strawberry and rose. It honours the fruity-floral profile of a traditional Geisha with an extra touch of romance and luxury.