Coffee is the perfect way to wake up in the morning. On the first sip, those delicious nutty flavors hit the palate. Then as you drain your mug, the caffeine gives you the boost you need to get your day started right.
Some foods compliment smooth coffee tastes, while other foods can overpower them. So, what are the best foods to eat with coffee to give you that perfect pick-me-up?
The flavor profile of your coffee beans and your taste buds will determine which food pairings work best with your cup of joe. You can choose to match the flavors of your food with your coffee. Or, you can contrast rich roasts with mild-flavored foods. Keep in mind that food with strong, spicy flavors can overpower the delicate nuances of a light roast coffee.
We’ve listed some foods that people love to eat when they drink coffee. Whether you are into lattes and sweets, or cold brews and avocados, we have some great combinations just for you!
What foods taste good with coffee?
Some foods just work well with a cup of coffee. This is why you will find that many coffee shops have a lot of overlap in the snack section of their menus. Who doesn’t love a buttery pastry to go with that caramel macchiato?
While pairing food with coffee can be somewhat subjective (everyone has a different taste palate), there is a bit of science for which combinations work well and which don’t. We’ll let you know what type of coffee we would pick to pair with these delicious treats, and why it tastes so good.
Coffee Cake + Medium roast coffee
Coffee cake is made with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter. And then, you add more butter, cinnamon, sugar, and flour (and sometimes oats or nuts) on top! Back in the day, many coffee cake recipes also included coffee on the ingredient list. While this sweet, bread-like cake rarely contains coffee these days, it still keeps “coffee” in the name. This is because it just goes so well with a cup of coffee!
A medium roast coffee can do a great job at pulling out the sweetness of this cake. This well-rounded brew can accent the cinnamon in the recipe nicely, as well. You probably won’t miss the sugar in your cuppa with this sweet treat on the side. However, a splash of cream is always nice. When you pair medium roast coffee with coffee cake, it is a match made taste-bud in heaven.
Doughnuts + Your average cup of joe
Donuts and coffee. These two fit together like a hand in a glove. You can’t go to a donut shop and not get coffee. And if you are getting a coffee in a donut shop… well it’s just hard to leave the donuts behind.
Donut shop coffee is usually not very fancy, but it doesn’t need to be. Iced and glazed donuts tend to pair well with your regular medium roast coffee. Dark roast coffees work well for denser donuts like old-fashioned or cake donuts. A caffeine-packed nitro cold brew can be delicious with any donut!
Biscotti + Cappuccino
Biscotti is an Italian cookie that has become a treat even in American coffee shops. These twice-baked cookies are made to be dunked in delicious coffee. The firm texture softens just the right amount to be edible, but not so soft that it crumbles into your coffee.
Since we get this treat from the Italians, it’s only right you go all the way and choose an Italian-style coffee drink, cappuccino.
The cappuccino uses espresso as a base and then adds foamy milk on top. The steamed, frothy milk gives this coffee drink a slightly sweet flavor with no sugar added.
Since most biscotti contain almonds, these Italian cookies pick up the flavors in the coffee nicely. This combination can be addicting once you try it out!
Brownies + Latte
What’s better than eating chocolate brownies with a glass of milk? Eating chocolate brownies with a latte!
Latte is the Italian word for milk and this drink contains more milk than many other coffee drinks. The base of the drink is espresso and then you’ll pour at least 8 ounces of steamed milk poured over the top.
If you are in the mood for a cold drink, you can froth cold milk and pour it over your espresso. This creamy coffee drink is the perfect partner to a brownie.
Chocolate cake + Medium roast coffee
Foods made with chocolate will taste delicious with a cup of hot or iced coffee. And chocolate cake is no different. A medium roast coffee blend will pair nicely with this snack. Coffee and chocolate have many overlapping flavors, but also bring some tastes to the table that are uniquely their own. This perfect pairing will tantalize the palate.
Scones + Peruvian coffee
In England, scones are a popular choice at high tea. But why drink tea when you can have a nice warm cup of joe? Warm, flaky scones can be delicious topped with a dab of jam and some clotted cream. A smooth, mellow coffee from Peru with its mild acidity and vanilla or chocolate undertones is a good choice for scones. This hot cup of coffee tastes great with this cozy treat.
Tiramisu is a sweet Italian dessert made with ladyfingers soaked in coffee and smothered with sweet mascarpone cheese and layered with cocoa powder. The literal meaning of the Italian word tiramisu is “pick me up.” Because, not only does this dessert give you energy, it also gives you an energy boost. This desert cries out for a coffee drink to go with it, and espresso is a perfect choice.
Espresso is short and stout, which makes it a great companion to tone down this rich, over-the-top dessert. This coffee drink is made under pressure so you get a lot of the great chocolate and nutty tastes of the bean without the bitterness.
Crepes + French roast coffee
Is anything better than freshly made crepes topped with ice cream and berries? Well. Yes, actually. Try freshly made crepes with ice cream and berries and a cup of French roast coffee!
This rich-tasting, dark roast coffee highlights the contrasting sweetness of the ice cream and berries. Also, French coffee and French crepes speak the same language: delicious goodness!
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I feel like I am not the only one who feels this way. At this meal, coffee is rarely absent. While I usually stick to a regular cup of Joe out of routine, it’s fun to break out of the box now and then. Here are a few of our favorite breakfast foods and coffee pairings:
Waffles + French press coffee
Waffles can make a morning start off feeling like a holiday. These are delicious topped with maple syrup or with strawberries and whipped cream. French press coffee can add just the right touch to round out this festive breakfast. Add a bit of cream, and a touch of maple syrup to your coffee if you like!
Egg and cheese sandwich + Mocha
An egg and cheese sandwich can be dressed up or down as you wish. If you want to make a quick protein-packed sandwich, you can eat an egg on toast with a cheese slice melted over the top. To make it a bit fancier (and yummier), toast a croissant and layer it with egg, cheese, tomato, and bacon.
A mocha can add a bit of sweetness to the menu and give you an extra punch of caffeine with its chocolate base. This combination may be a bit rich, but that’s not always a bad thing.
Fresh strawberry yogurt parfait + Latte
A fresh strawberry yogurt parfait with granola on top is both a yummy and healthy way to start your morning. The strawberries and oats can give you natural energy and a latte can give you an added kick of caffeine. This combo matches the light, creamy flavors of your yogurt parfait with an equally creamy coffee drink.
What foods are healthy to eat with coffee?
Coffee is high in antioxidants and has been connected with several health benefits such as heart health, weight loss, and reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases. However, some studies suggest that an excess of caffeine may leach or block the absorption of some vitamins and minerals such as B-vitamins and calcium.
We found some healthy foods that contain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Here are some of our favorite nutritious combos:
Bagels, cream cheese, lox + Iced coffee
Bagels and cream cheese make a delicious combination for a morning morsel or mid-afternoon snack. Add some smoked salmon lox to the top and you have a snack that is high in protein and also contains B6. Iced coffee sweetened with maple syrup is a deliciously light and refreshing touch next to this salty, protein-packed snack. The caffeine and protein combination can keep you feeling alert for hours to come.
Avocado toast + Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso
For a healthy vegan snack, try fresh avocado on wholegrain toast. Avocado is basically a wonder food that contains protein, healthy fats, potassium, B6, and more. Spread this on some wholewheat toast and you have a solid vegetarian snack to start your day off right.
This light meal combines well with a Starbucks® Oat Milk Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso. Not only is this coffee drink vegan and delicious, but it is relatively low-sugar as well. This drink is made with blonde espresso and has a touch of cinnamon that adds a pleasing kick.
Charcuterie board + Light roast coffee (Or make it a coffee-tasting night!)
A charcuterie board is a great way to set out a spread for guests. It’s as if the Lunchables that were the status symbol of our childhood, became nice enough to pair with wine and coffee. Only instead of cheddar cheese and saltines, our mouths now water over gruyere cheese, nuts, fresh berries, dried fruit, olives, dark chocolate, and flatbread crackers.
These snacks not only make a delicious combination but are also fairly healthy to eat. You’re basically serving up protein, iron, calcium, and antioxidants on a Smörgåsbord!
You can pair a charcuterie board with a light roast Colombian coffee and savor all the flowery, exotic coffee notes. Or, make it a coffee-tasting night and try out many delicious coffee flavors!
For a coffee-tasting evening, Starbucks has your back with its coffee-tasting guide and checklist to get you started. And we’ve got your back to tell you how coffee-tasting works: The Art of Coffee Taste-Testing (How to Taste Coffee and Figure Out Its Flavors)
It’s clear that if you have a charcuterie board (and coffee to go with it) friends are sure to come sit at your table!
If you love coffee as much as I do, the list of snacks you can eat with coffee is pretty much endless. However, some pairings just seem to be made for each other, while others are admittedly not the best (hot coffee with stuffed jalapenos goes in the “never again” category).
We tried to include some of our best matches in this list. We’d love to hear a few of yours, as well! Let us know in the comments what snack is your favorite to eat with a hot (or cold) cup of coffee
What is the best snack with coffee?
When you pair a snack with coffee, there are two ways you can go about it. You can either contrast the flavors of the food with the coffee or match them. By choosing a strong flavored coffee with a light snack, you can accent the flavors in the coffee. However, if you want to accent the flavors of the food, you can choose a lighter drink such as an iced coffee or latte. When you match flavors, you will choose light food and light coffee, or a rich snack and dark coffee.
What is French roast coffee?
French roast coffee is roasted until the second crack and will look dark and oily. This roast has a rich coffee flavor but contains surprisingly less caffeine when compared scoop to scoop with a light roast. French roast will also be lower in acidity than light or medium roasts.
How long should I brew French press coffee?
Five minutes is the average amount of time it takes to brew coffee in a French press using a 1:16 coffee to water ratio. However, you can adjust the time and the coffee to water ratio according to your personal taste. If you like a stronger coffee, you can add more coffee grounds to the pot. For weaker coffee, you can steep your coffee for 3-4 minutes.