SOURCE: Starbucks Coffee

September 29, 2011 11:03 ET

Coffee and Wine Pairings

A Surprising Way to Entertain

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Sep 29, 2011) - (Family Features) While pairing a meal with wine has been a staple of entertaining, offering coffee, wine and food pairings is an innovative twist that can take your next social gathering to a new dimension. Whether you are a foodie novice or a culinary aficionado, this easy guide uses the basic premise of wine tasting, but will open your mind (and taste buds) to coffee and food pairings.

Coffee and Wine Similarities
Understanding the similarities in the flavor profiles between coffee and wine will help you to identify and appreciate wine and coffee pairings with food:

  • Much like wine, coffee growing, harvesting and processing practices have a dramatic influence on the flavors they produce, providing a flavor profile as complex as some of the best wines.
  • Our perception of flavor is directly related to our sense of smell, so noting the initial aroma is critical in properly experiencing the full taste of both wine and coffee.
  • When tasting wine or coffee, pay attention to the acidity of each. Wine or coffee with high acidity can be described as crisp, tangy and bright while those with low acidity tend to feel smooth.
  • The feel of the wine or coffee on your tongue is known as the body. Wine and coffee can be described as light, medium or full. Like wine, some coffees naturally have more body than others.

Coffee, Wine & Food Pairing Suggestions:

Gouda Cheese
Soft cheeses with strong or mild flavors are best paired with white wines. A crisp Riesling has a sweet and mild flavor with citrus undertones that perfectly balances the distinct, slightly tangy flavor of Gouda.
Coffee: The interplay of Latin American, Indonesian and Italian Roast coffees in Starbucks® Caffè Verona® weave a densely rich and deeply complex taste for this multi-region blend that is ideal for rich and creamy appetizers. The mild flavor of Gouda helps bring out the layers of flavor and subtle sweetness of the coffee.

Spicy Italian Sausage Flatbread
Known for its zesty flavor, Zinfandel carries notes of berries and licorice and a distinct peppery spiciness. Because of its moderate acidity, the robust flavors of this red wine perfectly accent bold foods with a spicy sweetness, like the combination of Italian sausage and tomato sauce.
Coffee: With virtually no acidity, Starbucks® Sumatra features intensely aromatic, earthy and herbal notes that linger on your tongue. The bold flavors of the coffee stand up to the robust flavors of Italian sausage without overshadowing its hints of sage and spices.

Chocolate Tiramisu
Strong flavors of dark chocolate are best accompanied by equally strong, full-bodied wines, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon. Intense flavors with notes of dark fruits like black currant provide a good contrast to the sweet and slightly bitter taste of rich dark chocolate.
Coffee: The deep and velvety Starbucks® Italian Roast has a slight sweetness that is achieved through its dark roasting practices. The richly roasted beans are a wonderful accompaniment with cacao-based desserts like the Tiramisu torte, which offer sweet and contrasting notes to the tangy spice of semi-sweet chocolate.

Whether they favor the sweet and mild, or the robust and bold, the pairing of coffee, food and wine will offer a unique and memorable entertaining experience that your guests are sure to appreciate.

To learn more about the flavor notes of coffee, visit

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