I am looking into planning a coffee and food paring event at one of my employers.
I wanted to find some good ideas from everyone on what are some really good matches. I'm thinking great dishes but also cheeses (which I'm quite familiar with) and anything of that sort. Perhaps a beer paring at some point during the course?

Any ideas or links are helpful and appreciated!

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This may be a hard question to answer. Any answer is going to be very subjective and scrutinized by our BX peers. That's ok though. I think this is an area our industry has a lot of room for growth.

Before we get too much further here though, I have a couple of clarification questions, What kind of brewing methods are you using? I mean, by coffee do you mean drip, or are you also including caps, espresso, etc...? Also, what coffees do you have access to; a lot of different ones, or just a few specific ones? It may be easier for me to answer if you asked what I would pair to a specific coffee. I hope to help you! I think what you are trying to do is fantastic!!
Thanks Joe. There is a lot of room for growth and experimentation and that's why I thought I'd look into it.

At the cafe we have a basic Fetco brewing system for drip and are using a Rancillio for esspresso. All the equipment is up to par enough in my opinion. I am also thinking of doing a pour over system for coffee (non-espresso) drinks during the event.

I am talking with local AZ roasters about using (featuring) their coffee at these events. Because of that I will have to come up with different foods for what might suit what they have available and work with them on combinations. I am looking forward to trying to work with Cartel Coffee Labs out of Phoenix because he has a couple single origin espressos. I will get back to you on what they are specifically.

Thanks Joe.
Dylan,
Keep it simple. Choose three-four coffees with very different characteristics.
Do 2 appetizer, 1 entrees, and 1 desserts...

Step one is to cup the coffees thoroughly! Use cupping method and french press method...write down ALL the character traits you can pick out no matter how weird...in the aroma, taste, mouth feel, after taste...etc.

Usually we pick out tastes that exist in foods we are familiar with. Use your cupping notes for each coffee to choose a pairing that respects the characteristics found in that coffee.

When I worked at Carriage House Cafe in Ithaca NY we put together a dinner for judges and workers of the NERBC 2008. We called it the NY Coffee Dinner Tour. Featured in Barista Magazines June/July 2008 issue.
Around 6-7 dishes paired with coffees from6-7 different NY roasters.
Hope this helps
-cd
Thanks Chris. I suppose I will have to spend some time getting really familiar with what each roaster has to offer before I can decide on pairings. I also have to work within the confines of what our cafe can do. I would like to keep it simple.

Are there any definitive entrees that are known to work really well with some pretty standard coffees?
Dylan-

You need to sit down with the coffees you have chosen and learn their flavor characteristics to create effective pairings. It's a complex decision but one that can produce stunning results - if done properly.

Best of luck and don't forget to post your menu after the dinner!
Yeah,... keep us posted on your progress. You could use this thread as a blog to track what you are tasting in your coffees. We could then throw out ideas that we have according to what flavor profiles you are experiencing. Jay and Chris both bring a TON of experience to the table when it comes to this. I would say that I am ever learning. (And, no, I am not insinuating that they are not. They also have a veracious appetite for knowledge, especially when it comes to culinary arts... at least from what I have gathered with my interaction with and observance of them. I am simply saying that I am not at a place where I can say I have a ton of experience here yet!!)

One more idea. Watch some competition videos and see what others have paired with specific coffees. Just food for thought.
Joe
Thanks everyone. I will surely post some progress in what I find and what I ultimately go with.

I will search out some videos as well.
I'm looking forward to how this thread develops! Definitely something I'm interested in...

My only comment is that pairing a french pressed Kenya AA with a good grilled chicken fettucini alfredo changed my whole life ;)
If you do decide to serve beer, I highly recommend making it a chocolaty stout paired with essentially any latin american coffee. I'm a huge fan floating an espresso on about 8 oz. of stout beer, but even served on the side can be good. Guinness will do, but if you have a local favorite you should go for it. (Mine is Alameda black bear stout).
Thanks for some ideas!

This thread has some good info.  Anyone else have any more?  We've got a coffee pairing dinner coming up and I'd like to hear some people's experiences.  I was thinking of doing 4 coffees (Africa, Central and South America and Indonesia) using 3 or 4 different brewing methods to pair with the different courses.  We'll cup and taste the food before the event but I'm wondering if pairing an earthy coffee with, say, beets would be a good match or would it be better to pair a clean, snappy coffee with something earthy.  I'm thinking the latter.  I'm super excited about the event and would just like to revive a discussion here.  Thanks guys!

As long as the food does not overpower the flavor of the coffee, then it's good! I usually prefer sweet snacks and unsweetened coffee as they complement each other.

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