While some people use coffee shops as a pit-stop on their way to another destination, there are many people who make their way to a local coffee shop with the intention of spending hours in the cafe. For customers that want to hang out and take their time at your coffee shop, it is imperative that you offer combinations of food and beverages that complement each other.
Plus, intentionally having coffee and food pairings on your menu will provide the baristas with the perfect talking point. Not all customers know what goes well with what—Particularly if you don’t have a coffee food pairing chart already displayed in your cafe, your customers might be at a loss (we go more into charts, later—but you should really consider investing in one!) However, if you haven’t been the person who rings up customers at the register before, then it might surprise you to hear that more people than not ask for advice on decent pairings—A coffee break’s a perfect time for a snack, right?
If you have drink and food options that pair well together, then your baristas will know exactly what to reply with when a customer asks, “What is your recommendation?” Here are five delicious food and drink pairings for your menu. We hope that this list of our top pairing options spark your imagination in a way that helps you figure out what to serve with coffee and tea!
1. Oat Milk Latte with Cinnamon Crumble Coffee Cake
We bet that you’ll find this duo on any coffee food pairing chart you find—and for a good reason! Oat milk is all the rage lately. As the creamiest and arguably the tastiest alternative milk on the market, oat milk has such a subtle taste that it pairs well with just about everything. One flavor that oat milk goes particularly well with is cinnamon, so the pairing of an oat milk latte—or another favorite made with oat milk, like our caramel white chocolate chai latte—and cinnamon crumble coffee cake is absolutely delectable.
Oat Milk Latte Recipe
- 6 ounces of oat milk
- 2 shots of espresso
- Cinnamon powder
- Pull two shots of espresso.
- While the shots finish pulling, steam the oat milk in a frothing pitcher.
- When the oat milk reaches optimal temperature, remove the steaming wand from the pitcher.
- Let the oat milk settle while you pour the two shots of espresso into a coffee cup.
- Pour the oat milk into your espresso, and design beautiful latte art, if you so desire.
- Serve the beverage to your customer with a saucer beneath the cup!
Cinnamon Crumble Coffee Cake Recipe
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 cup of butter
- 3 cups of brown sugar
- 2 cups of source cream
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder
- Half of a cup of walnuts, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine the sugar and butter in a large bowl.
- Add the eggs, and then the vanilla extract, followed by the flour.
- Mix in the kosher salt and baking soda, followed by the sour cream.
- Add the cinnamon and walnuts to the rest of the ingredients.
- Pile the dough into your baking ban in three layers.
- Separate each layer with cinnamon and sprinkled sugar.
- Bake the coffee cake for an hour.
- Let it sit for 20 minutes before you serve to customers.
2. Ethiopian Pour Over with Avocado Smoked Salmon Toast
This is one of our absolute favorite pairings at Barista Underground. The smokiness of the salmon goes so well with the dark, rich Ethiopian coffee. It’s a duo that your customers will love, for brunch or for an afternoon snack.
Pour Over Recipe
- Ethiopian espresso beans
- Warm water
- Heat room temperature water to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use a cooking thermometer to test the temperature of the water.
- Take a scale and weigh out 25 grams of Ethiopian coffee beans.
- Take a dry paper filter and place it into the cone of your pour over set.
- Pour hot water into the cone so that the filter becomes damp.
- Dump out the water that falls into the pitcher. Grind the Ethiopian espresso beans.
- Then, add the ground beans to your now-damp paper filter.
- Put the cone and pitcher onto the scale, pouring 50 grams of hot water over the coffee grounds.
- Wait for 30 seconds.
- Then, continue pouring hot water over the grounds until the scale shows 400 grounds.
- Let the water trickle into the pitcher for a minute, and then serve the pour over to your guest!
Avocado Smoked Salmon Toast Recipe
Prepare the avocado smoked salmon by adding the following ingredients to your toast in the order they are listed!
- Sourdough bread
- Avocado spread
- Smoked salmon
- Himalayan pink salt
- Ground peppercorn
- Lemon juice
- Dill leaves
3. Grilled Cheese with Kenyan Espresso
Kenyan espresso has an aftertaste that is very reminiscent of tomatoes. Imitate the tasting notes of tomato bisque soup by pairing coffee with food in this manner. A Kenyan espresso shot with a grilled gouda and cheddar cheese is unbeatable. Offering a grilled cheese sandwich is a generous way of letting your customers know it is perfectly fine to stay and dine for awhile, too!
Grilled Cheese Recipe
This grilled cheese is prepared by placing the cheese between two slices of bread. Let it cook over low heat until it becomes crispy and slightly charred.
- Aged gouda cheese
- Sharp white cheddar
- French-style baguette
- Truffle olive oil
4. Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies and London Fog Lattes
What else is better than tea and cookies? We know what you’re thinking—you wanted a list of coffee and food pairings. But, just wait. This pairing (and it’s coffee!) is perfect for earl grey tea enthusiasts. As hot-beverage-enthusiasts, we all know that one of the best types of cookies to enjoy alongside a warm cup of tea is shortbread. But, if you really love the soothing flavors of earl grey, a single cup of tea just doesn’t cut it. So, if you are an avid drinker of earl grey, then combining earl grey shortbread cookies with a London Fog latte will make your taste buds happier than ever.
Earl Grey Shortbread Cookie Recipe
- 1 cup of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of earl grey tea leaves
- 1 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract
- Half of a teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt
- Three-quarters of a cup of coconut sugar
- 2 cups of flour of your choice
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take the tea leaves, Himalayan salt, and flour, and place them into a food processor.
- Then pour the coconut sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract into the processor as well.
- Process the six ingredients together until they turn into a doughy consistency.
- Take your baking pan and place oven-safe plastic wrap on top.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and roll it into a medium-sized log.
- Fold the plastic wrap so that it is completely covering the log of dough.
- Twist the ends to keep the plastic wrap in place.
- Put the shortbread dough in your fridge for roughly 20 minutes, or until it is chilled.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take the plastic wrap off of the dough.
- Cut the shortbread dough into pieces that are to your liking in terms of thickness.
- Lay the individual slices of dough on your baking pan.
- Lightly sprinkle coconut sugar on top of the shortbread dough.
- Bake the earl grey shortbread cookies for 12 minutes.
- Let them sit on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes.
- Set the cookies out on display in your cafe!
London Fog Latte Recipe
- Earl grey tea bag
- 4 ounces of milk of your customer’s choice
- Steaming hot water
- Vanilla syrup
- Take a 16-ounce cup and fill it halfway with steaming hot water.
- Let the tea bag steep in water for five minutes.
- Remove the earl grey tea bag from the water.
- Pour an espresso spoon full of vanilla syrup into the cup.
- Using a stir stick, mix the syrup into the tea-infused water.
- Pour four ounces of milk into a frothing pitcher.
- Aerate the milk like you would froth cappuccino milk.
- Once the milk is done steaming, pour it into the cup.
- Making sure you get as much foam into the cup as possible, serve the drink to your customer!
5. Cheese Board and Vietnamese Egg Coffee
A cheese board with Vietnamese egg coffee is a cheese and coffee pairing that’s a less common combination, but the reason for this rarity is rather confusing. Given the way that cheeses of all kinds pair marvelously well with coffee, it is surprising that a cheese and coffee pairing is not more widely available. Here is an excellent cheese and coffee pairing suggestion Vietnamese egg coffee is incredible, and something you should try regardless!) that your cafe guests will appreciate!
- Gjetost Norwegian cheese
- Goat's milk fenacho cheese
- Lavender-infused cheese
- Piave Vecchio Italian cheese
- Rye crackers
- Water crackers
- Variety of olives
- Take the five different types of cheese and cut four slices from each cheese block.
- Place them delicately and aesthetically onto a marble slab board.
- Arrange ten rye crackers and ten water crackers on the board in a neat fashion.
- Depending on the olives locally available to you, place them methodically on the board.
- Serve with small metal tasting forks and an abundance of napkins.
Vietnamese Egg Coffee Recipe
- 3 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
- 6 ounces of brewed coffee
- 1 egg yolk
- Brew six ounces of black drip coffee.
- Place the egg yolk into a mixed bowl along with the condensed milk.
- Take a small hand-held blender and mix the egg yolk with the condensed milk.
- Pull a shot of espresso, and add it to your brewed coffee when it is ready.
- Pour the egg yolk into your coffee cup, and sprinkle with cinnamon if you'd like!
Pairing Food and Coffee Options Will Improve Customer Experience
Food and coffee pairings are a great way to improve the experiences your customers have while at your cafe. Whenever you are wondering what to serve with coffee and tea, just think about what kinds of food you love to enjoy alongside your shot of espresso or cup of tea. You can also view a coffee food pairing chart! A coffee food pairing chart helps you visualize the way flavors interact with each other, and it will help you envision the perfect coffee pairings for your cafe. You might even consider buying a chart to hang up in your cafe, for your customers to reference.
If you can’t find a chart, experiment yourself. Try pairings at home, and see what you enjoy. You’re an expert, so trust your instincts, and go while. Maybe you’ll even create your own chart for your coffee shop!
If that does not help you brainstorm any creative ideas, then we advise that you turn to the coffee and tea options from Barista Underground. Take the time to look through the various teas and coffee syrup flavors for inspiration on pairings for teas and coffee with food!