Guide to Pairing Coffee with Food

Posted by Denisha on 2021 May 10th

Guide to Pairing Coffee with Food

Wine connoisseurs spend a lot of time paring the right wine with food to improve the taste of both, and you can do the same with coffee. You can enhance the flavour of both your coffee and food with the right coffee pairing.

Two Kinds of Pairing

There are two, equally appropriate, ways to pair coffee. You can emphasize similarities or highlight contrasts. If you’re new to coffee pairing, start with complimentary flavours so your palate gets used to identifying individual characteristics.

Savor Each Sip

The only way to get the most out of a coffee pairing is to slow the whole process down so you can identify what you’re tasting. Describe the flavours and compare them to the coffee's description. Notice flavours like these when you sip coffee:

  • Bitter
  • Nutty
  • Chocolate
  • Fruity
  • Floral
  • Earthy
  • Sweet
  • Balanced
  • Coffee Pairings

    Each of us enjoys coffee differently, so there’s no wrong way to pair. If you want to bring out the best in your coffee and food, we have some great recommendations.

    The first rule in pairing? Coffee goes with everything.


    Certain coffees go really well fruit. Look for coffees with floral notes like Ethiopian and Costa Rican.


    Dark, espresso and bold medium-dark roasts like Italian or French go well with desserts of all kinds. Sumatran goes well with desserts made with cinnamon and maple syrup.


    Just like wine, some coffees were born to be paired with chocolate. Go for Guatemalan or Brazilian chocolate for an ideal match.


    Coffee can make cheese taste even more brilliant. Kenya AA is great with strong cheese and Sumatran goes with creamy cheeses.


    Dishes of chicken and duck pair well with light and citrusy coffees like those from Ethiopia and Kenya.

    Red Meat

    Espresso is a great go-to for rich red meats. Kona and Sumatran are great pairs too.

    Find the Perfect Pairing

    Find all these coffees and more at Zavada Coffee Roasters. While you’re at it, subscribe to our newsletter to get all things coffee delivered to your inbox. You’ll get information on seasonal varieties, info on accessories like cups and coffee filters and sales as soon as they happen.