A Chocolatier Explains Exactly How To Pair Coffee And Chocolate

Coffee cup with chocolate types
Coffee cup with chocolate types - Static Media/Shutterstock

It's certainly no secret that coffee and chocolate are a match made in heaven, whether they're paired together in a delicious mocha that you order from a coffee shop or in pastry form such as espresso chocolate muffins that you make at home. However, the topic is actually a bit more complicated than simply pairing any coffee with any chocolate — there are coffee roasts and types of chocolate that complement each other better than other pairings. So, to find out the very best ways to pair the two, Tasting Table spoke with an expert: Nicole Patel, owner and chocolatier of Delysia Chocolatier.

Patel breaks down, in detail, which coffee roasts go best with each type of chocolate. However, she also noted that it doesn't hurt to experiment with unconventional combinations. She says, "Everyone's palate is unique, sparking interesting conversations and making the whole experience more enjoyable." But, if you want to take an expert's advice, here's what Patel has to say about the best coffee and chocolate combinations for each type of chocolate: dark, milk, and white.

Read more: 26 Coffee Hacks You Need To Know For A Better Cup

Dark Chocolate Pairs Best With Strong Coffees

Top-down view of a mug of coffee with chocolate bars
Top-down view of a mug of coffee with chocolate bars - Alfimimnill/Getty Images

If you prefer dark chocolate, then you know that it's defined by its bittersweet nature — which, as Patel explains, pairs best with coffees that are "bold and robust," such as darker roasts and espresso. She continues, "The stronger coffee flavor can stand up to the intensity of the darker chocolate to create a harmonious balance."

But, when it comes to pairing dark chocolate and coffee, it's also important to pay attention to the chocolate's cacao percentage, also known as the cocoa percentage. As you likely know, various dark chocolates have different cacao percentages, which can range anywhere from at least 43% to 100%. The higher the percentage, the more bitter and less sweet the dark chocolate is.

Patel explains, "Dark chocolates with higher cacao percentages (70% and above) often boast intense, robust, and occasionally bitter flavors, making them a perfect match for bold and robust coffee drinks. Medium cacao percentages (50% to 69%) strike a harmonious balance between sweetness and bitterness, pairing seamlessly with medium to medium-dark roast coffees." Meanwhile, if chocolate has a percentage lower than 50%, it's going to be very creamy and sweet, making it a perfect match for anything "indulgent," such as lattes and cappuccinos.

Milk Chocolate Pairs Well With A Latte Or Cappuccino

Latte with chocolate
Latte with chocolate - Olga Leschenko/Shutterstock

According to Patel, milk chocolate is a good fit for a medium roast or a coffee drink made with milk, such as a latte or cappuccino. And if you prefer iced coffee to hot coffee, Patel notes that iced coffees and even blended coffee drinks work just as well with milk chocolate.

As for why it works so well, Patel explains, "The coffee's creaminess complements the sweetness of the chocolate for a balanced experience of both taste and feel on the palate." With this in mind, next time you have a piece of milk chocolate to enjoy, you may want to pair it with a homemade cafe latte or even an iced coffee topped with your favorite creamer. Or, to go the blended route, you can try a coffee smoothie as your drink of choice. Any of these options will certainly ensure that you get the most out of your milk chocolate and coffee pairing experience.

White Chocolate Is Complemented By Creamy Coffee Drinks

White chocolate pieces
White chocolate pieces - Ac_bnphotos/Getty Images

Finally, what about white chocolate? Essentially, white chocolate follows the same rules as milk chocolate because it is also a sweet chocolate. So, the best coffee options include lattes, cappuccinos, or blended coffee drinks. If you want to opt for a really decadent coffee drink, you could try making a toasted marshmallow coffee milkshake, or, for a boozy alternative, a luscious black forest coffee, both of which have plenty of creaminess to complement the white chocolate's sweetness — just be aware that these drinks are also plenty sweet themselves, so these pairings may only be for those with very prominent sweet tooths.

Meanwhile, one coffee drink that goes with just about any chocolate is Vietnamese coffee, which uses dark roast beans but is sweetened by condensed milk. Patel says, "[It] can pair with any style of chocolate -- dark chocolate will cut through the sweetness of the coffee, whereas milk or white chocolate will complement the creaminess of the drink." So feel free to pair your next Vietnamese coffee with whichever type of chocolate you're most in the mood for that day.

Read the original article on Tasting Table