We Love Chocolate!
I have two major vices in this world, coffee and sweets. I’m the guy that needs to cap off every night with just a little something sweet to satisfy my cravings. Specifically, I am a sucker for anything with chocolate. So, in celebration of World Chocolate Day (yes, that is a thing!) on July 7th, I’ve decided to dedicate this entire post to my two favorite things, coffee and chocolate.
Does Coffee Go Well with Chocolate?
YES! Well, if you ask me, everything goes well with chocolate, but coffee is a particularly perfect match. The beauty of coffee and chocolate is that they really complement one another. The strength and bitterness of your espresso or coffee can be counterbalanced with a sweet and smooth chocolate. This can also be true the other way when you have a strong and semi-bitter chocolate that is balanced by a light and smooth coffee. If you’re unsure about the whole coffee and chocolate thing, just go to your local coffee shop and order a mocha, you’ll start to understand the magic after just one sip.
Coffee and Chocolate Similarities from Farm to Table
Coffee and chocolate share so many similarities. First and foremost, many of the popular growing regions for coffee are also the primary growing regions for cacao. When it comes to production, both come from the seeds of fruits that are processed and dried before ultimately getting roasted. Similarly to coffee, chocolate also has an array of quality and offerings. You can find inexpensive commodity chocolates that are blended with sugar in your convenience store candy bars, or you can find artisanal chocolates crafted in small batches with varying levels of cacao that command top dollar. Both coffee and chocolate are very subjective and an individual’s flavor preferences might dictate the origin and specific type that is preferred.
How to Pair Coffee and Chocolate
This is where the fun begins! It doesn’t matter which you select first but consider the pairing to help dictate which coffee should go with which chocolate and vice versa. Here are some suggestions.
- Espresso with Dark Chocolate
With the inherent strength of espresso, I recommend going with a chocolate that has a higher percentage of cacao. Somewhere around 70% should do the trick. The darker chocolate will help ensure the bold espresso does not completely overshadow the chocolate itself. A small square of dark chocolate with a short ristretto is my personal favorite.
- Traditional Drip Coffee with Bittersweet Chocolate
For your well-developed traditional drip coffees with those classic nutty and chocolate flavor notes, I highly recommend something with just the right amount of sweetness, bittersweet chocolate. The balance of the typical coffee notes with a delightful 50-60% cacao chocolate is really something special.
- Light Fruit-Forward African Coffees with Milk Chocolate
For those that favor higher altitude, light roast coffees with bright acidity and fruit notes, you can’t go wrong with milk chocolate. The acidity is counterbalanced very well by a milk chocolate which will not overpower these outstanding coffees like some darker chocolates. A light chocolate is a match made in heaven for a light coffee!
- Experimental Coffees with Experimental Chocolate
If you are into those taste bud-shattering anaerobic coffees or any specialty coffee that is delivering out-of-the-box flavors, I find it fun to pair with a chocolate that is equally funky. Try pairing that coffee with tropical fruit notes with a spicy dark chocolate or even that citrus-forward coffee with a lemon sea salt white chocolate bar. Get crazy with it. You might make some bad pairing decisions along the way, but you also just might find “the one.”
If you really need a reason to drink coffee and eat chocolate, you have my permission to use this year’s World Coffee Day as your excuse!