Fresh Small-Batch Roasted Coffee Delivery to Your Home, Store or Office for Over 30 Years ~ 802-644-8300

How to Pair Coffee and Dessert

Just as there are diverse tastes in sweets and coffees, there are diverse schools of thought regarding the ideal combination of coffee and dessert. Even great chefs have different opinions about this, but they do agree on one thing: in the end, it’s a matter of experimentation and developing one’s palate. This being said, there are a few sound guidelines you can apply to pairing coffee and dessert when you are expecting company for dinner or simply if you wish to embark on a delicious exploration of your own.

One school of thought observes that, contrary to popular belief, one should never serve contrasting coffee and dessert, such as a sweet coffee with a tart dessert. The premise behind this rule is that they will cancel each other’s flavor instead of complimenting each other. One it too mellow while the other is too intense.

Another school of thought maintains that if coffee is to complement a dish, there must be similarities, or at least harmony between their strongest flavor and texture points. A smooth, café au lait, for example, would be the perfect accompaniment for a sweet custard.

A third school of thought seems less rigid in its approach. It suggests a keystone guideline that leaves the door open to variations. Richness is the key word. It is not the flavor of the dessert that should inspire the choice of coffee, but rather its richness. A rich dessert loves a dark roast; a light dessert prefers a city roast, also known as Medium roast.

Again, the proponents of these slightly different approaches to pairing coffee and dessert do meet in the middle as each of them agree that, most importantly, the quality of the beans and the freshness of the roast makes all the difference in the world. Think about it, if you took the time to prepare a delicious dessert from fresh ingredients (or purchased one made with equal effort), wouldn’t it stand to reason that a quality brew might provide the ideal finishing touch?

Thus, the main goal when pairing coffee with dessert is this: combine flavors that are pleasing together. If one bite of your dessert overwhelms your ability to enjoy the nuances of each sip of coffee, or vice versa, you know you’re not quite on the right track yet. Of course, experimenting is as delightful a process as serving the feast.

Always remember this: Coffees from different regions have different underlying flavors. This can make it very interesting when paring with dessert. For inspiration, refer to our Coffee Flavor Profiles page.

Here are a few tried and true suggestions:

Common Cake, Pound Cake, Coffee Cake

Coffee: A South American Coffee or Coffee Blend such as Connoisseur’s Cup (Costa Rican and Brazilian) or Breakfast Decaf Blend (Colombian and Peruvian).

Dense Cake, Cheese Cake, Fruit Pies, Tarts and Puddings

Coffee: Espresso style or dark roast. Organic French Roast, Black Ice (deep roasted Ethiopian).

Chocolate Desserts

Coffee: Something with light, spicy undertones. Estate Java or Kenya AA.

Finally, whether you drink your coffee black or with cream can also affect its relationship to the dessert you are enjoying at the same time. This is easier to control when you are eating alone or with only one companion. When serving a group of people, it can serve as a conversation piece. Announce the dessert du jour and make expert recommendations as to how it might be best enjoyed with their brew. Black coffee tends to pair well with chocolate desserts, fruit desserts and puddings. Any coffee with milk, cream or served cappuccino style will be especially enjoyable with light cakes.





Also in The Vermont Coffee Blog

The Mighty Peaberry
The Mighty Peaberry

The peaberry is prized for the richness of its flavor. Tanzanian Peaberry is a lively, inviting coffee from the acclaimed Kilimanjaro region. Unlike the traditional coffee berries, which feature two side-by-side fertilized seeds, peaberries occur when only one of the two seeds is fertilized. This, you may be interested to know, does not occur on … Continue reading The Mighty Peaberry

Continue Reading →

8 Ways to Reuse Paper Coffee Filters
8 Ways to Reuse Paper Coffee Filters

We are increasingly sensitive to our environment. Americans recycle more than ever, and that’s a good thing. The small choices we make daily make a world of difference. Did you know that a single person can generate as much as 4 pounds of trash daily? It adds up quickly; to nearly 1,500 pounds per year … Continue reading 8 Ways to Reuse Paper Coffee Filters

Continue Reading →

Coffee Tree or Coffee Shrub?
Coffee Tree or Coffee Shrub?

The coffee plant belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which includes well over 13,000 different species of trees, shrubs and even herbs. We get coffee from the Coffea species. It is a perennial shrub but is often called a tree since it reaches heights of 20 feet or more. Interestingly, cultivated coffee shrubs are pruned down … Continue reading Coffee Tree or Coffee Shrub?

Continue Reading →

Shopify secure badge