Preparing for the Pairing – Coffees and Chocolates

For the love of flavor, us foodies do some crazy things. My latest adventure with Swell Coffees is to try to put together an entertaining, and educational pairing of Single Origin Chocolates and Coffees. Sounds fun right? I’m not gonna lie, it is.

When I first found out that San Diego had a couple first class Chocolate Makers¬†at Nibble Chocolates, I knew we had to work with them. Since they engage in direct trade that parallels how we like to source coffees, then they roast, grind and temper…all those amazing things Chocolate Makers do, and they do it right here in San Diego I was able to connect with them for the pairing. I invited David and Sandra Mejia to Swell so we could sit down and figure this out!

The first step was to sit down at table and taste the range of chocolates they have, along side our coffees. Some of them just seemed to be a good fit!

The next was to figure out some foods that might go well, to connect the two items. We could have easily gone with just coffees and chocolates, but we felt it would be fun to pull in some foods that help illuminate what we tasted in the different coffee and chocolate Items. This meeting was especially fun!

Edible Flowers! YUM

Edible Flowers! YUM

Sitting around a table deciding between creme fraiche and brie to go with an especially gorgeous and rich chocolate is not difficult to enjoy.

It turns out that partnering foods and drinks is not that hard if you slow down and think about the sensory experience. We found some of our guesses were wrong, but that we were able to make some corrections all while really annoying ourselves.

What is a bit harder, at least for us, is coming up with exactly how to present the items, and deciding what points are more important to talk about than others!


Those practical matters have proven a little more sticky, but we are working them out. Here is a look at some of the fabulously fun things we came up with!

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Konga: A citric and floral coffee with almond and currant undertones, paired with a Madagascar chocolate with plum, raspberry and spice notes.

Zimbabwe Salimba Estate: a complex coffee with sweet tobacco, and caramel notes, paired with a Peruvian coffee that is malty, nutty, with dried fruit in the background

Kenya Karimikui: A sweet coffee with candied yam, blood orange and toffee aromas, paired with a Venezuelan coffee noted for its coconut, strawberry and nutty qualities.

OH the list goes on! we went a little bit crazy with the foods. Who would think to pair coffee with a salad? We would. Why not? Chef Andre from the Patio will make sure we don’t topple off the deep end! Its about having fun and learning, while playing with flavor.

So there you have it. the pairing is still a work in progress. We unveil our presentation on April 24th at 5:30! You can buy tickets at Brown Paper tickets! Im so nervous!! But delighted! Cause…. Flavors!