How to Guide x Coffee Pairing

Check out the full article by Rebecca Furtado—“Picking the Right Coffee for Your Dinner Party” that spurred my interest in coffee pairing!



Coffee pairing seems like such an obvious notion for foodies and caffeine addicts alike, yet somehow it is so rarely discussed despite the ludicrous rate at which we consume coffee.  After delving into the topic further, I did some research and have summarized my findings into a few key points for all of you:


(Think of this as the coffee version of my Perfect Wine Pairing guide)


| The Language of Coffee |


Aroma  x  the scent of the bean when water is passed through it during the brewing process (different than fragrance, which is released when the coffee is roasted then ground)


Acidity  x  a measure of the dryness felt in the sides and back of your tongue, giving coffee its brightness or snap


Body  x  how the coffee feels in your mouth – those with a lot of body feel heavier and thicker than those with little body which feel waterier


The combination of the three above are what give the coffee its flavour and determine the overall effect the brew has on the taste buds of the drinker.


| The Main Coffee Regions |


According to Furtado, the base flavour of the coffee is determined by the location that coffee is grown with “different soil and moisture levels in the growing process determin[ing] different flavours inherent in the coffee”.  The three main regions of coffee production are Latin America, Africa/Arabia and the Asia-Pacific region, with each area producing a different bean with a specific flavour profile.


LATIN AMERICANThin body, nutty flavour, moderate aroma, most do not leave an aftertaste in your mouth.  Known for being well-balanced with bright, tangy notes.


Body x Light to Medium
Acidity x Medium to High


Best served with light foods + desserts—rich foods such as cheesecakes or rich mousses may result in the coffee tasting excessively watery.
Compliments nutty flavoured breads and muffins.  Noted to go well with chocolate. 


AFRICAN + ARABIAN | Bold + hearty aroma, leaves a lingeringaftertaste.  African beans tend to have a citrus flavour with floral notes and Arabian beans tend to have berry/wine-likecharacteristics that sometimes have spice and cocoa notes.


Body x Medium to Full
Acidity x Medium


Makes an excellent iced coffee as it does not taste watered down when it encounters ice. Best served with deserts that have a light pastry crust, especially those featuring berries or citrus fruits.


ASIAN-PACIFIC | Heaviest body, rich + intensely flavoured bean.  They have robust, earthy characteristics that often have floral or herbal notes to them. 


Body x Full
Acidity x Low


Goes well with any type of breakfast bread or any dishes featuring cinnamon, caramel, maple or toffee.  It also pairs well with meals where hearty meat dishes are served.


| Entertaining with Espresso |


So whether you’re hosting a brunch with lattes or a dinner party with after dinner coffee or espresso martinis, serving espresso to your guests is a nice little treat.  One of my favourite desserts is affogato which is made by pouring a shot of espresso directly over a scoop of vanilla bean Haagen Dazs.


[image from cocoakiss]




With Love,




What are some of your experiences with entertaining with espresso? Do you know of any good espresso-based recipes?  Share them below!


[Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.  These opinions are my own and are in no way indicative of the opinions or positions of any of the companies mentioned.]

How to Guide x Perfect Wine Pairing


I never gave wine pairing much thought and mostly chose wines based on a combination of my mood and the general rule of “red wines with meat, white wines with fish”.  While that old saying may still ring true, there’s really so much more to it and it was only my recent experience at Vancouver Urban Winery that my eyes were opened to what pairing is really about.


I had the Sommelier’s Choice Wine & Food Pairing ($24), a seasonal selection of local meats, cheeses and even an espresso brownie paired with 5 wines curated by their Wine Sommelier.  Our party was instructed to taste the wine, have a bite of the food and then take another sip of the wine—and WOW, it was surprising what a difference it made!  Maybe it was that the combination was exceptional (probably) or maybe it was because I never paid much attention or took the time to truly savour the flavours (HA, probably true as well!), but I finally understood what all the fuss was about.  Wine pairing is so much more than simply finding things that go well together, but when paired correctly (or incorrectly!) food can change the flavours within wine and wine can change the flavours within food.  Now a changed woman (apparently an overdramatic one as well! Haha), I realize what a huge difference it makes when you are able to find the perfect wine to complement your meal. 
While wine pairing can be tricky, I came across a fantastic article by Wine Folly with 5 Tips to Perfect Food and Wine Pairings that I knew I had to share with you.

5 Wine & Food Pairing Guidelines

Champion the Wine  The number one guideline is to bring out the best characteristics of a wine. A high tannin red wine will taste like sweet cherries when paired with the right dish. Focus on the characteristics that you want to champion and make sure that the wine will shine instead of fighting against the food.

Bitter + Bitter = Bad  Since our tastebuds are very sensitive to bitterness, it’s important to pay special attention to not pair bitter food and high tannin wine. Green Beans with Cabernet Sauvignon will multiply bitter tastes. If you want to pair a high tannin wine, look to foods with fat, umami and salt for balance.

Wine Should be Sweeter  As a general rule, make sure that the wine is sweeter than the food and you will have a successful wine pairing. If the wine is less sweet than the food it’s matched with, it will tend to taste bitter and tart. This is why Port wine is perfect with dessert.

Wine Should be More Tart  A wine should have higher acidity than the food it’s matched with otherwise it will taste flabby. For instance, a salad with vinaigrette is better with an extra brut Champagnethan a buttery Chardonnay.

Improve an Earthy Wine  Ever hear that Old World Wine is better with food? On their own, Old World wines can be very earthy and tart. However, when you pair an earthy wine with something even more earthy like mushroom stroganoff, then the wine tastes more fruity.


Whether hosting a large event, holding an intimate dinner party or simply pouring yourself a glass with your meal, it is always useful to know a little bit about selecting the right wine.  For some reason, there is something about food and wine pairing that can leave even the most confident foodie feeling completely out of his or her element.  Did you know that chocolate is one of the hardest things to pair with wine? Or that asparagus contains methyl mercaptan, which gives wine a vegetal flavour? What about the fact that the tannins in red wine interact with the high iodine content in some seafood (like cod, mackerel and shellfish)resulting in a metallic and unpleasant taste?Wine Folly’s tips can help less-than-savvy wine drinkers navigate these complex waters – that are made even more confusing by the sheer number of international wines and modern cuisine’s fusion of ethnic styles and unusual ingredients in one dish! 
To take it one step further, Wine Folly has created a handy chart on how to create the best pairings, based on the sommeliers’ principle of opposing taste profiles (e.g. sweet and sour).  This chart is a helpful (and cute!) resource for your next event or dinner party.  Also available as a poster, it makes the perfect gift for the wine-lover on your list! 


So crack open a bottle (or two!) and try some of their suggestions out!  After all, it’s all in the name of research, right?
With Love,
Do you have any wine pairing tips or advice? Share your experiences with and/or recommendations of places to go for interesting food and wine pairings! 
[Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  These opinions are my own and are in no way indicative of the opinions or positions of any of the companies mentioned.]