How and why should you pair coffee and chocolate?
If anyone asked you what the best compliment to a cup of coffee was, I am almost sure that the answer would be chocolate. Or is it just us? I hope not, because if you didn’t know, coffee and chocolate is a match made in heaven. That’s why so often we find ourselves grabbing that piece of chocolate whenever we are having a coffee break or why coffee and chocolate combinations are so usual in the dessert world.
Pair it and enjoy it
You can find countless tips and tricks how to pair food and wine in books and on the internet. But do you know how to awaken, intensify and maybe even make your favourite chocolate a more addictive ‘drug’? A cup of coffee comes to the rescue. 🙂
Both coffee and chocolate have a lot of flavor combinations in common – some of those highlight fruity notes, while others – intense, slightly bitter flavors. Therefore, the right combination of these two can open the door to a whole new world of flavor. To make a long story short, if you want to extract the best qualities of this combination, you should go with similar levels of intensity.
Espresso and a dark dark chocolate. A cup of espresso prepared from a Brazilian blend will go great with a dark, high cocoa percentage having chocolate. A 70 % black chocolate can be the answer, and any additions to it will be a lift up for the whole combination. The bitterness of the chocolate is an amazing compliment to those chocolatey and nutty notes in the coffee.
Black coffee and not so black chocolate. Any Sumatran coffee can be enriched by a bit ‘weaker’ than previous black chocolate. The slight sweetness in the chocolate will enhance the earthy, spicy Sumatran coffee notes. The best coffee option for this combination – the traditional black coffee or a bit ‘longer’ americano.
Coffee with milk and milk chocolate. An afternoon delight won’t be as good without some milky coffee and a milk chocolate to go with it. The fruitiness of the single origin beans, which I recommend for the coffee part in this pairing, and the sweetness of the milk chocolate, as different as it may sound, will complement each other in the best way.
Pairing according to your taste. To each his own, as the saying goes, and these recommended pairings are far from being some rules. Experimenting with some non-standard flavor chocolates can also lead to great results and create small pleasant habits.
Beans in relation
The reason of such a deep connection between coffee and chocolate might be the fact that coffee and cocoa beans are related. They are both seeds of tropical plants, both are fermented and dried, both need some level of roasting. Probably the most uniting characteristic is the bittersweet flavor notes. Just like coffee beans, there are 3 types of cocoa beans:
Forastero. The most popular and mostly used cocoa bean accounts for around 80-90% of the whole cocoa production and can be recognized by a quite strong earthy flavor.
Criollo. The rare one, accounting for only around 3% of world’s cocoa production. This bean features a strong aroma, low level of bitterness and is a high-quality one. No surprise then that it is quite expensive and used only for making the finest chocolates.
Trinitario. Fun fact – this one is a hybrid Forastero and Criollo bean, born after a hurricane in Trinidad almost destructed the Criollo bean plantation in the XVIII cen. The Trinitario bean is of high yield just as Forastero and has a refined taste just as Criollo.
‘Differences attract’ – an expression we have all grown tired of is of no value here, when the beans so similar are in question. So when ‘I want something sweet with my coffee’ mood comes over next time, grab a piece of chocolate. Pair it or not, when there are so many flavors, you are sure to find a heavenly match!