Not many places tout their food pairings at 8 a.m. But we do. That’s because every week, Tyler, our baker man, and Rachel, our pastry chef, create a treat that is especially crafted to complement the aromas in our coffee of the week. Sure, they also fill the pastry case with lots of other fresh-baked muffins, scones, breads and donuts. But here they explain what goes into creating a match for our featured coffee and why you might want to give the perfect pair a try.
Q: When DoubleShot baristas tell people about food pairings, what are they talking about?
Rachel: What we do is take the tasting notes and feel of the featured coffee and we find a compatible flavor or texture pairing for them. Like this week, with the floral and tobacco and caramel aromas of the School Grounds coffee, we made a biscotti to go with it. It’s not a very sweet coffee, so we wanted something a little bit sweeter with the biscotti. It’s blueberry, white chocolate and lemon, which really complement those notes.
Q: And texture?
Tyler: If the coffee has a full body, you want something kind of light and airy to complement it.
Rachel: You don’t want it to be too overpowering. If you put two rich things together, you’re just overwhelmed.
Q: What has been your favorite pairing that you’ve created so far?
Rachel: Sumatra and the monkey bread.
Tyler: Right, sumatra and monkey bread.
Rachel: I don’t know what it was …
Tyler: It just worked out so well.
Rachel: It was just perfect. We were talking about it and looking at the tasting notes and I was like, `Cinnamon and caramel. Oh, monkey bread!’ And so we tried it, and Brian loved it. He still goes crazy any time we make monkey bread.
Tyler: And if we can, we try to swing something native to the region where the coffee comes from. A couple of weeks ago we did a coffee from Mexico so we paired that with conchas, which is a traditional Mexican pastry.
Q: Is it hard to come up with these pairings?
Q: What kind of research do you have to do?
Rachel: It depends on the coffee. School Grounds took a little bit because it was such a stronger coffee. I didn’t want to do something that would completely overwhelm the coffee because then you’ve just go two things fighting. So a lot of times, it takes testing. We’ll do one and then we’ll taste it and we’re like, `Oh no, that’s terrible.’
Tyler: There’s not a lot of literature available on the subject of pairing food with coffee.
Rachel: So what we actually do is we look at literature on pairing food with wines and we have different lists of what pairs well with what. This next week the tasting notes are papaya and cantaloupe, so I went through and I looked at those pairings to compare what was similar. We came up with a lemon raspberry loaf because those fruits are both compatible with papaya and cantaloupe and really help bring out those notes. It’s a mellow coffee and the loaf is really tart and tangy. It balances it perfectly.
Q: For someone just coming in for coffee and something to eat, why should they choose a food pairing over something that just looks good to them?
Rachel: Like we said, the pairing complements the coffee. You don’t want to get the Sumatra, for example, and get something lemony and bright because it’s not going to make the coffee taste the best. Or it’s not going to make whatever you’re eating taste like it should. You’ve got two contrasting flavors so they’re going to fight each other.
Tyler: People come to DoubleShot for the experience. If you go to any other coffee shop and you ask their barista, `So what food would really complement the coffee I’m drinking?’ they’ll just give you a blank stare like `What the hell are you talking about?’ The fact we’re taking so much time trying to be mindful about what’s going to taste well with our coffee and what’s going to complement it or not is part of the whole experience people get coming to DoubleShot.
Rachel: Knowing that we put that extra step into finding foods and coffees that go well together, I think makes it stand out more. The coffee is most important. You don’t want to come here and say ‘I’m only here for the pastries.’ But, I mean, I would be pretty honored. I would be stoked!
But it’s first and foremost a coffee house where Brian roasts all the coffee and it’s all fresh and great.