Top pairings | What food to pair with coffee

Top pairings

What food to pair with coffee

For many people coffee is a regular companion to food whether it’s breakfast or that great German institution of kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) - only the amount of caffeine they might consume holding them back.

But apart from the time of day there are specific ingredients and dishes that make great coffee pairings

Coffee of course comes in many guises from a flat white to a double espresso to a delicate single origin filter coffee. In general I’d say milky coffees such as cappuccinos and lattes lend themselves better to sweet foods and darker more intense coffees such as espressos and black americanos to savoury ones but it is of course a question of taste and how you like your coffee. (I generally like mine black)

Here’s a general round-up, some of which may be familiar to you, some not.

Sweet coffee pairings

Almost any kind of chocolate bars, cake or cookies, especially brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

Coffee-flavoured cakes and desserts such as this Austrian coffee cake, espresso and hazelnut cake and Turkish coffee cake.

Tiramisu (with black coffee, I'd say)

Nut-flavoured cakes and desserts - especially hazelnut and walnut cakes, biscotti, almost anything with Nutella, walnut or pecan pie.

Ice cream - in fact to pour espresso coffee over vanilla ice cream is a recognised dish called affogato

French-style breakfast pastries such as croissants and pain au chocolat

Cinnamon buns (in fact cinnamon generally as you can see from this post

Doughnuts and beignets (see these doughnuts with hot chocolate sauce)


Toast and marmalade

Banana bread

Cheesecake especially ones with caramel or nut toppings

Savoury coffee pairings

Bacon, in practically all its guises - in a fry up, in a sandwich, in a roll

Smoked salmon bagels

Cheese - especially sliceable Swiss, German and Scandinavian-style cheeses or Dutch Leerdammer

Rich fatty triple cream cheeses

Coffee-rubbed cheese such as Barely Buzzed from Utah

Cheese toasties/grilled cheese

Cured meats such as salt beef and frankfurter sausages (so hot dogs)

Coffee-rubbed ribs and steak

Chilli con carne


Coffee is also often consumed with spirits such as brandy (especially cognac) and grappa

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Comments: 4 (Add)

JMM on May 16 2021 at 20:07

Building on pecan pie, most American-style fruit pies -- apple, black raspberry, peach, cherry, even rhubarb and pumpkin -- go great with coffee. Classic diner fare at any hour, and especially good (and indulgent) as breakfast.

Monika on February 14 2020 at 22:37

I love the Nuova Point Coffee Cups in the first photo. Beautiful and great quality.

Fiona Beckett on February 13 2018 at 08:19

I suppose I think of other things in relation to cheddar - beer, cider, a good glass of red, even chardonnay rather than coffee but will try it I promise!

Sache on February 13 2018 at 01:16

Coffee Pairings: Cheddar Cheese! You list cheese, but there is something so compelling about a cup of black coffee (espresso) and the buttery/tangy taste of sharp cheddar that really takes the tongue for a whirl. Particularly if the cheddar is at room temperature to begin with. A great mid-morning pick-me-up!

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