Think of your perfect coffee – now think of its perfect partner, the one thing you love to eat (or smoke) as you savour the flavour of your favourite brew.
Many people choose something sweet – cakes, biscuits, pastries or chocolate – and coffee shops across the world reflect that trend with fridges and cabinets packed with sugary treats. The Coffee & Chocolate Expo held annually in South Africa attracts 50,000 visitors and in Australia and New Zealand there are numerous festivals each year celebrating the same two products.
Steve Leighton is managing director of Has Bean, a coffee roaster based in Stafford, England. He says: “By far the best pairing in my opinion is chocolate. The sweetness and bitterness is a good match.” And what’s a bad one? “I’d never encourage smoking with coffee,” says Steve. “The strong flavours of the cigarette tends to mask flavours – and has been proved as something that can dull taste buds.”
Despite this, smokers across the world swear there is nothing better than combining their two favourite habits first thing in the morning or at the end of a meal. In fact, I visited a coffee shop in Guatemala which served a single cigarette alongside all items on its breakfast menu. American musician Iggy Pop puts it simply. “Cigarettes and coffee, man, that’s a combination.”
But not everybody wants something sweet or something smoky with their coffee.
Kristine Breminer is chairman of the British Coffee Association and director of London-based coffee traders Complete Coffee Ltd. She loves to combine her morning brew with toast and Marmite, a salty paste popular in Britain. The yeast spread is a by-product of beer brewing.
Others prefer to keep it simple. Tom Hyde is co-owner and founder of Brew Lab, an artisan coffee shop and training centre in Edinburgh, Scotland. “I like coffee on its own,” says Tom, also ruling out sugar. “Coffee should be naturally sweet.”
And he has no doubt about the worst thing to eat with coffee. “The worst possible thing you can have with coffee is cheese. It’s an awful pairing.”
To eat or not to eat? Ultimately it comes down to personal choice but whether your favourite treat is sweet or salty or smoky, my personal advice would be this – don’t forget to keep a mouthful of coffee for your final flavour.
Source: Katie Corleone