5 Unconventional Food & Coffee Pairings To Try

5 Unconventional Food & Coffee Pairings To Try

Jake Bonneman
4 minute read

Pairing coffee with food can be tricky, but there are some tried and true combinations that always work.

For example, coffee and chocolate is a classic pairing that never fails to please. The bitterness of the coffee pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the chocolate, creating a balanced and delicious flavor.

But what about some other, more creative combinations?


How about coffee and cheese? Hear me out. The sharpness of some cheeses can really bring out the flavor of the coffee, while the creaminess of other cheeses can just feel plain luxurious. Plus, both coffee and cheese are notoriously rich in flavor, so they complement each other perfectly. Try a few different types of cheese with your coffee and see what you think!


Or how about coffee and bacon? The smoky, salty flavor of bacon goes surprisingly well with coffee, especially a rich and dark roast. The two flavors play off of each other perfectly, making for a delicious and unique pairing. And who doesn't love bacon? Sure, it may have gone through a little period of overexposure a few years back, showing up in everything from sundaes to cupcakes, but I still think it's safe to say that bacon is here to stay.

While you may not want to have bacon with every cup of coffee (or at least your heart may not want you to) it's definitely a coffee pairing worth trying out!

Sweet Breads

Bready pastries are the perfect accompaniment to coffee. A cup of joe with a doughnut, a cinnamon roll, or a muffin are classics, but have you ever tried a sweet bread with your coffee? (The kind that's actually made of bread and is sweet, not the other kind.) Real sweet breads, like the Mallorca Sweet Bread, pair particularly well with Kona coffees, in my opinion.

Tortuga Rum Cakes

If you're looking for a "coffee cake" that's a little different, try something with rum in it, like these Tortuga Rum Cakes. They're made in the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman with real rum and spices, and they have a really rich flavor. I always stock up when I'm getting them, since I know they'll be gone in no time. My friends who didn’t grow up around them in Florida love them too, so I'm always getting requests for them.

The sweetness and richness of the rum pairs perfectly with the coffee, making for a delicious and unique flavor. Honestly, I'm salivating just writing this. I'm going to have to go get myself a cup of coffee and a rum cake now. Thanks for making me hungry!

Why not pair it with some non-alcoholic Kahlua coffee, and really get a taste of the islands? (I know Kahlua started in Mexico, but Veracruz is basically part of the Caribbean. Look, the Chicago Tribune says so.)

Strawberries (or any kind of berries, really)

Berries are also a great option to pair with coffee. The bright, tart flavor of the berries offsets the bitterness of the coffee, resulting in a refreshing and delicious combination. Strawberries aren't as tart as some other berries, so they're better if you're more in the mood for something that's just sweet without as much face -puckering. But really, any kind of berry will do. I've had great success pairing coffee with raspberries, blueberries, and even boysenberries. Every coffee tastes a little different with different berries, so it's fun to experiment and see which origin/blend goes best with what berry.

Final Thoughts

There are endless possibilities when it comes to coffee and food pairings. These are just a few unconventional ideas to get you started. Be creative and have fun experimenting! You might be surprised at what you come up with. (But seriously, try it with rum cake, it's the best.)


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