Gavina Coffee Solutions

How to Build the Best Food Pairings for Your Coffee Menu

Food Pairings

Coffee is a popular beverage offered at many places ranging from small cafes to restaurants and bakeries. However, pairing coffee with a delicious complementary food item is relatively uncharted. There are specific foods that can enhance its flavor by pairing it with the right type of coffee, allowing foodservice businesses to deliver an enhanced dining experience to their audience.

Restaurants, cafes, and bakeries should look into coffee pairings within their menus to upsell and provide a better coffee experience to their customers. Building delicious coffee pairings requires understanding both the coffee and the food itself.

A Variety of Coffee Roasts

Roasting coffee allows for the chemical makeup of each bean to change, such as its color, flavor, acidity level, sugar content, and more. Coffee roasts are generally categorized as light, medium, or dark roast. Each roast tends to have characteristics that can impact the flavor of each coffee beverage.

Light Roast

Light roast coffees have the lightest brown color of all types of roasts, and tend to have sweet and bright characteristics because the beans are not left too long when roasting. With their higher acidity levels, light body, fragrant aroma, and fruity flavor, light roast coffees are best paired with foods that have a more savory type of sweetness such as croissants, shortbread cookies, butter toast, and avocado toast.

Medium Roast

Medium roast coffees have a darker brown color compared to light roast coffees because they are left to roast for a longer period of time. Commonly considered the most balanced out of all roasts, medium roast coffees tend to have even levels of flavor, aroma, body, acidity, and caffeine. Foods that pair best with medium roasts include savory options like pasta, grilled cheese, salads, and wraps.

Dark Roast

Dark roast coffees are roasted at higher temperatures for a longer amount of time compared to medium roast coffees. In effect, they tend to have low acidity levels and a more bitter and smoky flavor profile. These characteristics contribute to their bold and rich taste and full body. With this in mind, dark roasts are usually well suited with tangy foods such as yogurts, cheesecakes, dark chocolates, aged cheese, and highly-spiced dishes.

Coffee Pairing Strategies:


  • Complementary Flavors: Highlight a shared flavor component. Pair a fruity coffee with berries or a chocolatey coffee with a brownie.
  • Contrasting Flavors: Create excitement with opposites. Balance a sweet pastry with a dark roast or cut-through creamy cheese with a fruity coffee.
  • Consider Texture: Match textures for a cohesive experience. Pair a light cake with a delicate coffee or a dense muffin with a bolder brew.


Specific Pairing Ideas:


  • Light Roast + Croissant & Jam
  • Medium Roast + Eggs Benedict
  • Dark Roast + Chocolate Croissant
  • Latte + Granola & Yogurt
  • Cold Brew + Fruit Salad
  • Espresso + Biscotti
  • Cappuccino + Tiramisu
  • Flat White + Cheesecake
  • Mocha + Chocolate Mousse

Building Menu Pairings with Gaviña Reserve Coffees

To help restaurants, cafes, and bakeries get started adding coffee pairings to their menus, we have created a shortlist of delicious food pairings for each coffee from one of our wholesale coffee lines: Gaviña Reserve.

Organic Guatemala

The Organic Guatemala is a medium roast single-origin coffee with a balanced body and aroma. Its tasting notes comprise floral, honey, milk chocolate, and nuts.

Pair this coffee with dark chocolates, cinnamon buns, brownies, and caramel flans.

Organic Mexico

The Organic Mexico is a medium roast single-origin coffee with notes of sweet honey and cocoa flavors. The coffee’s aromatic and full-bodied coffee beans deliver a bold and rich fragrance that creates a sweet flavor palette.

Chocolate, citrus scones, blueberry muffins, and banana nut bread are the best pairings for this coffee.

Organic French Roast

The Organic French Roast is a dark roast blend with origins from Central and South America. This classic roast carries a full-bodied and highly aromatic flavor palette with smoky and dark chocolate notes.

Its bold and bitter profile enhances the flavors of foods such as spiced dishes, cheesecakes, and dark chocolate pastries.

Organic Espresso

The Organic Espresso is a traditional dark roast espresso blend with origins from Central and South America that encompasses floral, nutty, and bittersweet chocolate notes in every sip.

This coffee would be best paired with savory foods such as crepes and cheese, as well as chocolate cake.

Sumatra Mandheling

The Sumatra Mandheling is a medium roast single-origin coffee grown in Sumatra, Indonesia. Known for its rich and complex flavor profile, this coffee has an earthy aroma and sweet taste.

As a less acidic coffee, the Sumatra Mandheling is best paired with dairy, meats, quiche, crème brûlée, and milk chocolate.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe

The Ethiopia Yirgacheffe is a medium roast coffee grown in the native birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia in East Africa. With a higher concentration of sugars, producing more complex and nuanced flavors, this coffee brings notes of berry, citrus, apricot, and caramel flavors.

The best pairings for this coffee include fruit-based cakes, bars, pastries, and poultry.

Fair Trade Espresso

The Fair Trade Espresso is a dark roast blend with origins from South America including Colombia and Brazil. It carries a sweet and floral aroma and a signature full-bodied nutty flavor with notes of cacao.

This type of espresso blend pairs exceptionally well with savory crepes, bread, cheeses, and crème brûlée.

Additional Tips:

  • Offer seasonal pairings: Highlight fresh fruits and local ingredients.
  • Cater to dietary needs: Provide vegan pastries with gluten-free or sugar-free options.
  • Present pairings attractively: Use garnishes and plating to enhance the experience.
  • Experiment and gather feedback: Encourage customers to try new combinations and share their thoughts.

Remember: These are just suggestions. Ultimately, the best pairings are the ones your customers enjoy! Don’t be afraid to experiment and find unique combinations that reflect your restaurant or coffee shop’s personality.

Key Takeaways

Each component of every coffee makes it unique. From roast types to elevation levels, they all contribute to each coffee’s distinctive taste and flavor profiles. Building food pairings within each menu offering will allow foodservice businesses to not only increase their sales and showcase their coffee knowledge but also enhance the coffee experience.

Gaviña Coffee offers a variety of high-quality coffees that are perfect to pair with any menu. With an extensive assortment of wholesale coffee and equipment offerings, we ensure every menu has something for everyone. Contact us for more information.

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