The Perfect Pair: How to Match Coffee with Desserts?

How to Match Coffee with Desserts
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When you visit a coffee shop, you might also notice that they offer delectable desserts in addition to delicious caffeinated beverages. If you enjoy desserts and coffee, you ought to try pairing the two.

Coffee and dessert pairing is both an art and a science that can enhance the flavors of your taste buds even more. To pair them well, you’ll need to grasp the flavor profiles behind different coffee beans.

Understanding Coffee Flavor to Pair with Desserts

 Coffee grounds are found in various brews, each with its distinct taste and flavor. The brewing technique alters the entire structure of the coffee bean. 

You can transform it from a single, comparable coffee bean into a variety of coffee flavors.

Apart from this, different kinds of roasts can also alter the flavor of the coffee bean. There are typically four kinds of coffee roasts:

  • Light roasts
  • Medium roasts
  • Medium Dark roasts
  • Dark roasts

The light roasts have the greatest caffeine levels and have a roasted grain flavor whereas the dark roasts have the least amount of caffeine and have a smoky, burnt flavor.

Must Try Coffee and Dessert Pairings

 Here are some tested and widely loved dessert pairings for each type of coffee.


Espresso is a dark roasted coffee made popular by Italian culture, distinguished by its bitter flavor and small serving cup. It has a very strong taste, and its scent accentuates that flavor.

This coffee also serves as a base for many other kinds of coffee. 

If you’re a coffee lover, investing in a good espresso machine can help you fill your mug with multiple delicious varieties of coffee. What makes a good espresso machine is not a simple question, but it must be a combination of convenience, functionality and attractive design. Some quick pointers on what a good espresso machine should have are:

  • A powerful heating functionality
  • Ability to maintain a consistent temperature
  • Ability to produce a high pressure (around 9 bars) for optimal extraction
  • High quality portafilter and tamper

Espresso goes well with bitter and dark chocolate-based treats with bold and rich flavors. You can go for dark chocolate cookies, cake, or any dessert mostly made of dark chocolate.

You can also try pairing your espresso with fruits such as black currants, cherry, peach, and granny smith apples.

espresso with fruit


Americano, also known as Caffè Americano, is made up of only espresso and boiling water, which is diluted to make this type of coffee.

It goes best with heavier, more rich desserts. 

Try pairing your Americano with a vanilla buttercream cupcake next time. 

Black Coffee

Black coffee can be paired with almost any dessert.

However, there are two things that should never be combined with black coffee. Never try black coffee with salty or cheesy sweets.

It is best to stick with more chocolate and rich flavors and avoid spicy or savory flavors.

black coffee with chocolate cake


Cappuccino uses dark roast to cut through the milk and is distinguished by the addition of cream. Experts advise trying cappuccino with an ice cream dessert. 

If you like mint ice cream, you can sample your cappuccino with a mint ice cream dessert as long as the mint isn’t too overpowering.

If you’re not a fan of ice cream with coffee, you can also try combining your cappuccino with crispy thin chocolate chip cookies.


Cortado coffee is identical to cappuccino and is made with a darker roast. However, it is prepared with less milk than a standard cappuccino.

You want to serve something with a higher chocolate content when combining a cortado. A flourless chocolate cake or a delicious dark chocolate chip cookie are both recommended by experts. 

Just choose a dessert with considerably more chocolate than usual. 


Many people confuse a latte and a cappuccino because they contain the same components. They are, however, two very distinct types of coffee. A latte differs greatly from a cappuccino as it needs more milk to prepare.

Experts advise choosing a mild, sweeter dessert as a latte is less bitter than a cappuccino or espresso. 

When looking for something softer in flavor, your best choice may be a milk-based chocolate dessert or fruit tart. You can also go for small traditional cookies. 


Occasionally called a mochaccino or caffè mocha, mocha is a variety of coffee beverages. It’s a variation on the café latte, with an exciting touch of chocolate. This makes the coffee a little extra sweet. Another major ingredient in a Mocha is espresso which adds some acidity to your coffee cup.

Mocha goes well with coffee-based sweets. Chocolate chip meringues, for example, would go well with a mochaccino. You could also go with a mocha-based treat.

Balancing your chocolate is important when pairing it with mocha as your palate can retract if it becomes too sweet.

mocha and pound cake

Cafe Au Lait

A café au lait flips the script a little. Previously, the bitterness of the coffee was a problem because it could overpower the taste buds and make the desserts useless. However, in the case of a cafe au lait, the dessert can completely overwhelm the coffee.

Surprisingly, pairing a cafe au lait with a coffee-based treat is in your best interests. 

You can enhance the rich coffee taste with both the dessert and cafe au lait. 

Additionally, you get to retain the pairing’s sweet factor.

The best pairing choice for this type of coffee is a tiramisu. Unlike the other coffee types, cafe au lait is relatively light because espresso is not one of its essential ingredients. A tiramisu contains the components to make this pairing fantastic. You can also go for other coffee-flavored desserts.

To conclude, when you don’t know much about either, pairing desserts with coffee can be perplexing and intimidating. You’ll notice individual tastes more once you learn the basics of matching complementary flavors. 

Experiment with various combinations over time to see what works best for your palate!