The festive party season is in full swing, the perfect occasion to eat, drink and be merry… and also the chance to shake things up when it comes to festive food and drink pairings. In particular, this year we recommend you building cold brew coffee into your festive menu as, you might be surprised to learn, cold brew actually pairs perfectly with a number of festive favourites.
To explain more, we asked our Group Quality & Analytical Science Director (and self-confessed foodie) Frieda Dehrmann to pick out her favourite cold brew coffee pairings, and to explain the science behind what makes them work.
“Cold brew coffee lends itself to fabulous food pairing experiences. This is because the essence of cold brew coffee is its smooth mouthfeel and lower bitterness, which makes it a friendly companion to food flavours and aromas – some of which are unexpected delights partners with cold brew”.
- Cold Brew Coffee and Chocolate (anything!)
Chocolate contains cocao pyrazines- a class of compounds produced when foods are heated, baked and roasted that impart the key flavour and aromas of heated foods. They occur in nuts, cereals, coffee, cocao and are positive flavours. The cocao pyrazines give a unique dark chocolate nibs character that is characteristic and extremely pleasant.
These are well suited to coffee, particularly those with a key chocolate character (like Colombian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian Vietnamese coffees). This makes cold brew coffee especially delicious with chocolate desserts, biscuits and sweets as the flavour is enhanced synergistically! The key cocao pyrazines are a class of alkyl pyrazines and 2 methyl pyrazine is one of the most dominant ones. This pairing offers a synergy where the flavours “build” on each other.
- Vanilla and Cold brew coffee
Most coffees have a delicate character of vanilla, which unless the coffee is flavoured, is recessive and shy. Pairing it with a vanilla treat, like shortbread or vanilla madeleines really enhances this character bringing it forward. Vanilla in coffee is derived from the break down of the cell wall components, most notably a compound called ferulic acid, which forms vanilla and related biomolecules during roasting. This kind of pairing represents a complementary pairing where the characters complement each other.
- Smoked foods and Cold brew coffee
Smoked cheese and crackers, smoked mussels and smoked meats are especially interesting with cold brew coffee. Underlying most coffees is a smoky character formed during roasting and often enhanced during the aging process, this character is quite unusual in that it pairs well with savoury products. Cold brew coffee espresso martinis and smoked mussels are a sophisticated must try! Pair this with a smoked cheese, for an evening snack is a luxurious treat.
- Nuts and Cold brew coffee
Most nuts contain a set of compounds called aldehydes, that give them their unique flavours. This includes Isobutyraldehyde in hazel nuts, and benzaldehyde in almonds. Pairing nuts with cold brew coffee brings out the aldehyde character in a healthy and delicious way, making them a perfect aperitif pairing!