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Coffee Pairings

Are you a beer or wine enthusiast? Discover which coffee flavors make good pairings. Presented by Caribou Coffee.


Photo by Laurie Junker

Swirl, sniff, taste, and savor—“earthy with floral notes, a hint of ripe fruit and a velvety mouthfeel”. Am I talking about wine, beer, coffee, or all three? Surprisingly, the answer could be all of the above, considering the flavor profiles they share. And what you like in one, you may like in another.

“If I have a customer who loves dark coffee with a hint of bitterness I might guide them to one of our dark ales, like Steel Toe Dissent.” says Paige Latham, a certified Cicerone Server (a Cicerone is a beer expert similar to a Sommelier) at The Four Firkins beer store in St Louis Park. “If they like a coffee with a bit of citrus, (i.e., Caribou Daybreak), I'd recommend Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefewiezen, which is a good one for people who don't even think they like beer.”

Caribou Roastmaster, Brian Aliffi is even more specific. "My favorite kinds of coffee come from Africa. They are winy, floral, acidic, intense, burgundy, spicy and hefty, to name just a few qualities. An example is our Tanzanian, which reminds me of Bell's Two-Hearted—each share qualities I enjoy. If you tell me you like Fulton Worthy Adversary, I might steer you towards Caribou Obsidian.”

With respect to wine, I spoke with Russell Fay of Cork Dork Wine Co. near Lake Nokomis who recommends a few varieties such as Cambiata Winery Tannat, a big wine that he says is almost port-like in its density with definite espresso and dark chocolate flavors. For people who like citrus flavors in coffee or beer he suggests another wine from Cambiata, "They have a 2012 Albarino that sings with upfront mineral-laden lemon and lime flavors and then settles into a creamy finish."

So while you may not enjoy your coffee, beer, and wine all at the same time, you might consider trying something new in one of them, based on what you enjoy in another.

This post is presented by Caribou Coffee Caribou Coffee Logo

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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