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Coffee, Cigarettes and Chocolate


these are a few of my favorite things. it's how I start my day, even as I write this little story. As for the cigarettes, well thats more of an addiction thing I imagine, but there really is something about this pairing!

I encourage you to watch this video of Anthony Bourdain at the French laundry, the Chef prepares a special treat for Anthony to make light of Anthony's love of coffee and cigarettes.

Chocolate goes with many different types of foods and beverages, but there’s something especially magical about the pairing. Like peanut butter and jelly, coffee and chocolate were meant to be. That’s likely why many chocolate and coffee infused desserts are out there and why the mocha latte came to be such a popular café selection.

The question is, however, why does chocolate and coffee pair so well together? We dug in to discover why.

THERE’S A REASON COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE GO SO WELL TOGETHER — AND IT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE

in BAKED, BREWED on 11/11/21

FacebookTwitterEmailPinterest Coffee and chocolate are perfect companions, and there may be a scientific reason for it.

  • Whether it’s a piece of chocolate on the side of your espresso or in the coffee itself (like a mocha!), people love pairing chocolate and coffee together.

  • The main reason coffee and chocolate go so well together may be rooted in the fact that they are both seeds of tropical plants & go through a similar production process.

  • Get our free handy chart (PDF) of the best coffee and chocolate pairings — jump to it here.

Chocolate goes with many different types of foods and beverages, but there’s something especially magical about the pairing of it with coffee. Like peanut butter and jelly, coffee and chocolate were meant to be. That’s likely why many chocolate and coffee infused desserts are out there and why the mocha latte came to be such a popular café selection. The question is, however, why does chocolate and coffee pair so well together? We dug in to discover why.

WHY IT WORKS COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE ARE BOTH DERIVED FROM TROPICAL PLANTS. Coffee and chocolate’s excellent pairing capabilities may be rooted in the fact that they are both seeds of tropical plants. Both are grown about 20 degrees north and south of the Equator in a region known as the “Bean Belt.” This area is sunny, humid, and provides the perfect growing environment for these coffee and chocolate, or rather cacao, plants.

Coffee “beans” are derived from a cherry-like fruit that grows from a coffee plant — a woody evergreen that can grow up to 32 feet. The word “beans” is in quotes here because coffee “beans” are actually seeds (whoa…drop the mic). So you are actually enjoying the seeds of a fruit when you enjoy a cup of coffee.

Inside each cherry, there are usually two seeds, which coffee producers pick at just the right time to extract the most delicious flavor possible. The seeds are then ready to be fermented.

Chocolate comes from trees, specifically the Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao trees similar to the coffee plant, can grow up to 30 feet tall and produce large pods or fruits that look exceedingly similar to small footballs.

Each pod contains 30 to 50 seeds, which is enough to make about seven milk chocolate bars or two dark chocolate bars. The pods are harvested twice a year in which the farmers open the pods by hand to access the seeds inside. From there, the seeds go on to the fermentation process (see next point below).

CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE GO THROUGH A SIMILAR PRODUCTION PROCESS.


Cacao and coffee seeds go through a series of similar production steps from fermentation through the roasting stage that also may contribute to their perfect pairing potential.

After the seeds of the cacao trees and of the coffee plants have been harvested, they’re ready for the next stage of production — fermentation.

“Fermentation is a chemical process in which organic substances are broken down by various microorganisms into simpler molecules.”

In regards to coffee, the fermentation step removes the outer layer of the seed and lowers the water content, leaving us with green coffee beans — ready for roasting. The fermentation step also helps to add flavor to the beans. Coffee fruits are processed by one of three fermentation methods: wet, dry, or semidry. For details on each method, view this journal article on coffee fermentation and their impact on coffee quality.

When fermenting cacao seeds, the seeds are removed from their pods and placed in earthen pits or wooden bins and covered with banana leaves and left to ferment. This changes the bitter flavors of the seeds into something that’s more familiar to you and me. The fermentation process varies by the type of seed.

CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE HAVE A SIMILAR CHEMICAL MAKEUP.


Now that you’ve seen how coffee and cacao are similar in their plant origins and production processes, it’s time to talk about their chemical makeup. That’s right, we’re going deep into the sciences for this one.

Both cacao and coffee contain caffeine, although to different degrees. They both also contain antioxidants, which are said to have health benefits. To be more specific, chocolate contains magnesium and bioflavonoids whereas coffee contains catechins — a type of flavonoid associated with health benefits.

Beyond this, both cacao and coffee have a wide range of different flavor profiles. Coffee contains over 1,000 flavor compounds (which is even more than wine!), whereas cacao has well over 600 aromatic compounds. All of this goes to say that there must be some overlap here making for some excellent pairings.

THEY BOTH VARY IN TASTE DEPENDING ON ORIGIN OR REGION OF GROWTH.


In discussing their range of flavor profiles, it’s worth noting that cacao beans and coffee beans both vary greatly in taste depending on their region of growth. For instance, cacao beans grown in Madagascar may taste very fruity and tart, while in Mexico they may be more earthy and nutty.

Each region has its own set of harvesting and processing methods as well, which contributes to the varying cacao flavors. Some notable regions for cacao include Africa, especially Madagascar and Tanzania (70% of the world’s cacao beans come from Africa), Mexico, Hawaii, and Indonesia.

This is, dare we say, exactly like coffee beans. Coffee varies greatly by flavor depending on where it was originally grown. This is due to the growing conditions (i.e. climate, soil, etc.) of that particular region, therefore, producing a certain flavor profile unique to that area.

HOW TO PAIR COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE


FLAVOR


When it comes to pairing coffee and chocolate, you must consider the dominant tasting notes of each. As mentioned previously, coffee and chocolate have an incredible range of flavor profiles. From fruity and bright to nutty and earthy, your coffee and chocolate will vary greatly in flavor.

There are a couple of ways to go about pairing coffee and chocolate flavors:

Like goes with like

As in wine pairing, like goes with like when pairing coffee and chocolate. If your coffee has a more delicate and fruity tasting profile, consider a fruity chocolate as your pairing (such as an African chocolate bar or a chocolate covered strawberry!). If your coffee is full of nutty & chocolatey tasting notes, go for a nutty chocolate bar or nut and chocolate dessert like toffee.

Complementary flavors

If you want something more interesting when it comes to your coffee and chocolate pairings, opt for complementary flavors. If your coffee boasts of a rather sweet flavor profile, be bold and go for a salty & chocolatey pairing such as a handful of chocolate covered cashews or a dark chocolate salted chocolate bar.

ACIDITY


Both chocolate and coffee can have variable acidities depending on how they’ve been processed and depending on their region of origin. Therefore, it’s helpful to consider the intensity of the coffee and chocolate you’re working with when pairing.

If your coffee is dark and strong, consider a lighter pairing such as a chocolate chip cookie or a small piece of milk chocolate to balance out the coffee’s intensity. On the other hand, if your coffee is light in body and flavor, it’s fine to opt for a richer pairing such as with a chocolate truffle.


TEXTURE

Texture is another important factor to consider when pairing chocolate with coffee. Chocolate can be smooth and creamy such as in a milk chocolate bar or have more of a crunchy texture if it’s filled with nuts or rice. There’s also different chocolate-flavored desserts that have different textures such as cake, scones, or cookies, which you should also consider when pairing.

The food’s texture that you’re dealing with can help you determine the ideal serving temperature of your coffee. For instance, if the food is crumbly & firm such as in a chocolate biscotto, consider a hot coffee for dunking purposes to soften the biscotto. If the chocolate pairing is moist & soft in its texture profile, such as in a donut, you have a little more freedom and can opt for whatever temperature coffee you’d like such as an iced coffee or a hot latte.


As for the cigarettes, draw your own conclusion. I love a smoke and coffee in the morning, maybe not the greatest habit, but it could be worse, and it has...lol. Anyway, happy hump day! Make it a great day, if nothing else. Cheers!


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