Perfect partners

Never mind matching wine to your meal – a careful coffee combination can ensure your dessert really is the perfect happy ending

Coffee can play as big a role as wine in food pairing, says head of coffee buying at Taylors of Harrogate Mike Riley – but mainly with desserts.

Riley, who sources coffee from 25 countries and who might dip his tasting spoon into up to 200 cups of coffee a day at the Yorkshire-based roasters, has compiled this guide to matching coffees and cakes or desserts:

Rich chocolate flavours such as a heavy chocolate cake

Many people choose a heavy Java which is a darker roast with great length. It sits on the palate afterwards. However, I think that it is interesting to look at a high grown Kenyan arabica, which is lively with great complexity of flavour. It is lemony and zesty and makes an interesting contrast.

Apple crumble, raspberries or Eton mess

It’s interesting to set something heavy against these desserts. I’d go for an Indian or Sumatran coffee (which is fully roasted to bring out the chocolate flavours), or even a Java.

Lighter desserts and biscotti

Nutty coffees go well with sponge cakes, everyday nibbles and biscuits. I’d recommend a Peruvian or a Nicaraguan coffee.

Black or white? Milk or cream?

Never add warm milk to coffee. It has a flavour of its own, which masks that of the coffee. Cream is another thing I don’t like in coffee either. A black single origin coffee can stand on its own.

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