Some coffee lovers believe enjoying a cup of Joe means having a light meal or treat to go with it. Read on to discover the best snacks that go with coffee.
Food pairing is always a fascinating thing for me. Back in the day, one of our go-to afternoon snacks was chocolate-flavored oatmeal and salted dried fish. This stark contrast in flavor creates a wonderful sensation in your mouth because, as it turns out, salt reduces bitterness and enhances the sweet, sour, and umami receptors in your tongue.
This can explain why we enjoy coffee more with salty meals.
The same goes for desserts, as well! We crave it because the coffee’s bitterness actually makes our snack much sweeter. This might be the reason why coffee is so easy to pair with dessert, but not all snacks are created equal. Here are the best snacks that go with coffee to make it easier.
1. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
It is a snack widely available and fairly easy to make. A grilled cheese sandwich is best eaten with coffee during breakfast or your late afternoon break. The crispy texture gives contrast to your smooth cup of coffee, and the bitterness of it brings out the creaminess of the cheese as its sweet and salty notes are highlighted.
This pairing is a match made in heaven if you are an espresso lover!
Bagels are great with coffee as the sweet and salty flavor blends with the java. What is great about it is you can dip it in your brew to give your snack a tasteful coffee twist, or you can slice it and put any spread that also goes well with coffee.
You can start with classic cream cheese, peanut butter, or grape jelly. What you get is a complemented flavor between your coffee and bagel and between your bagel and spread!
Pairing berries with coffee doesn’t just mean actual berries, but berry-flavored goodies. You can spoil yourself directly with jelly or bake some berries into a pie, which will still blend well with your cup of Joe.
This works extremely well with coffee that has high acidity levels and features a bold and smoky flavor profile with fruity notes. You might enjoy our list of the best Kenyan coffee brands to pair with your berries the next time you are enjoying a cup!
A word of caution – it is best to choose another option if you are sensitive to acidic foods, as both the coffee and berries might irritate your bowels. If you really love fruit with your cup of Joe, how about opting for the next one on this list?
Here is a type of berry people forget is a berry. Bananas are low on the acid scale but are deliciously sweet. Its unique notes of sweet candy, melon, and pineapple are a treat when paired with your cup of coffee, and it has health benefits too!
Caffeine can lower your body’s potassium level, and eating a banana right after can counteract this side effect.
The fruit is also flexible as you can cook it to turn into chips for that contrasting crispy texture or bake it and make yourself banana bread for that upgraded sweetness and malty consistency. An easier option would be to smear it with chocolate syrup or peanut butter.
A staple in police pop culture, you can never go wrong with this classic pairing, but the experience can certainly improve if you know which goes well with which. For instance, a regular black coffee, an americano, or an espresso shot works well with a good old glazed donut, as the latter’s sugar makes up for the lack of sweetness and masks some of the bitterness.
On another note, a traditional Boston Cream is worthwhile when paired with light roast due to the latter’s mellow and subtle floral sweetness complementing the creamy vanilla flavor of the donut. For me, a latte, cafe au lait, or any typical coffee with milk tastes amazing when paired with a cinnamon-flavored donut or churros. It is a personal favorite that you have to try!
It is no surprise that tiramisu made our list as its combination of different flavor profiles is emphasized when you drink java. The delightful balance of creaminess, saltiness, sweetness, and bitterness produces an explosion of flavor that is accentuated when you have an espresso, a cappuccino, or a medium roast coffee with prominent nutty notes.
Additionally, choosing the perfect coffee as an ingredient for your tiramisu will take this drinking experience up a notch. You can learn more by reading our list of the best coffee for making this delicious dessert!
The list won’t be complete without a staple American breakfast. Bacon pairs well with coffees that are smooth and with notable sweet notes, such as Colombian, Costa Rican, or Brazilian coffee, to name a few, as its salty nature reduces the bitter flavor and heightens the other flavor profiles.
Don’t fret, as any sweet-tasting coffee will work with this breakfast, as well. You can top your breakfast with a creamy scrambled egg for that added silky texture. You may have to watch your proportions, though! This breakfast is best enjoyed in moderation.
This one is a no-brainer. Chocolate is often used to concoct some of the most delicious coffee beverages, which are usually topped with cocoa powder. It is only logical that chocolate, whether white, milk or dark chocolate, goes really well with a cup of Joe.
If you love a fruity and nutty cup of coffee or prefer a mellow light roast, white chocolate desserts should be your go-to as it complements the silky and creamy texture of the cocoa butter. For dark roast lovers, the robustness of the beverage will elevate the sweet richness and pleasant bitterness of dark chocolate brownies and dark chocolate cake. Those who prefer the balanced taste of medium roasts can go for the softer chocolate treats like ice cream (which offers a contrast in temperature, as well), chocolate tart, or mousse.
9. Coffee Cake
A coffee-coffee pairing is so delightful that I can’t resist adding another one to the list of snacks that go with coffee, especially if it is a coffee cake topped off with cinnamon powder. The dessert is so soft that it absorbs your java effortlessly if you dip it into your brew.
Try to eat a piece of the cake first, but don’t swallow it! Sip the coffee with the dessert in your mouth and let it sit and melt on your tongue to appreciate the flavors more. The cinnamon powder is a treat since it gives that subtle sweet zing.
This is best paired with a latte or a cappuccino if you love sour cream coffee cake. Consider a French roast if you prefer the classic sweet dessert or fruit-filled variants. If you have leftover coffee cakes, don’t forget to store them properly! You might want to learn how to freeze it to enjoy it later.