Chocolate and Coffee: Our Pairing Guide
It doesn't take much to convince us that chocolate and coffee go together. One sip of rich, chocolatey mocha and that's it - sold!
Chocolate and coffee are a heaven-made match. Sharing similar flavour descriptors (nutty, fruity, floral, berry-like etc.) make them natural partners. But did you know you can tailor your pairings to create truly astounding flavour combos? We've teamed up with Two Chimps Coffee, a carbon-neutral coffee roastery based in Rutland, to discuss the best way to pair our favourite edibles and drinkables.
Coffee Beans and Cocoa Beans
Despite sharing tasting notes, coffee and chocolate start life quite differently. Take their countries of origin, for instance: cocoa beans came from South America, while a goat herder first discovered coffee in Ethiopia (so legend tells us!).
Arabica coffee beans grow inside bright red cherries on the bush-like Coffea arabica plant. This is quite unlike the large cocoa pod, which each have 30-40 cocoa beans inside. The grape-sized coffee cherry, on the other hand, has just two little beans nestled within.
We also find some key distinctions when it gets to roasting. Coffee roasters like Andy at Two Chimps roast raw ('green') coffee beans at high temperatures. This will be around 180°C for light roasts and up to 240°C for dark roasts. Cocoa beans prefer lower roasting temperatures, usually between 120°C and 160°C. The cocoa bean roast takes a little longer, too.
So coffee and chocolate: not twins but certainly best friends!
Chocolate and Coffee Pairing
Time for the best bit - tasting!
Likeness is the best approach when pairing chocolate with coffee. Combining a rich, intense chocolate with a milky-mild coffee will lead to flavour disparity, with one half overwhelming the other. The same goes for partnering punchy coffees with delicate chocolate: their flavours will compete rather than complement.
With this in mind, try marrying your strong espresso with high percentage cocoa dark chocolates, and enjoy creamy milk chocolate with a caramelly, easy-drinking medium roast coffee. Bear origin in mind, too. Each coffee and chocolate-growing country produces beans with distinctive profiles; Kenyan coffees, for example, tend to taste bright and berry-ish, and pair beautifully with fruity chocolates from Madagascar.
Here are our top pairing picks!
Passion Fruit Dark Chocolate Bar and Espresso
The classic depth of this fruity 61% dark chocolate is great with espresso coffee. Espressos are intense and concentrated, but the punchy flavours in this divine Colombian chocolate can hold their own against the coffee. Tangy-tart passion fruit cuts through the intensity perfectly.
Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Bar and Cappuccino
Premium Sea Salt flakes from the Isle of Skye make this Colombian milk chocolate truly special. It calls for coffee less strong than espresso but still full of flavour.
The answer? Cappuccino. The caramel butteriness of the chocolate pairs superbly with milky coffees like a cappuccino or flat white. Colombian coffees are a good shout here; they have natural sweetness and underlying notes of caramel.
Lavender Milk Chocolate Bar and Filter Coffee
Subtle and floral, the blissful flavour of this 40% milk chocolate needs a coffee with similar floral notes.
Typically, light roast coffees have bright, floral flavours or fruity notes. Light roasts brew perfectly in filter and cafetiere devices, so try freshly made filter coffee with your lavender chocolate today!
Dark Chocolate Giant Raisins and Americano
Try these juicy dark chocolate-covered raisins with a nutty-tasting coffee for fruit 'n' nut success. It's the classic flavour pairing!
High-quality medium and darker roast coffees are known for their caramelised nut sweetness. Spending slightly longer in the roaster gives the natural sugars more time to caramelise and take on toffee-like sweetness. South American coffees often have nut flavours, too.
The strength and slight bitterness of an Americano is a great companion to dark chocolate. The Americano is especially good here as it's not as concentrated as espresso - that chewy raisin sweetness can still shine bright!
What are you waiting for? Upgrade the coffee break with delicious chocolate and coffee pairings!