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Coffee and chocolate - a match made in heaven

7 October 2016

Jamie Ball

It’s a hard job, you’ll agree, but Jamie Ball and Rick Tingley, two of the coffee experts from our sister company Taylors of Harrogate, have been busy working their way through some of Bettys most delicious confections. Their mission? To use their finely honed tastebuds and in-depth bean knowledge to come up with the perfect pairings of chocolate and coffee. That’s two of our favourite things, made even better.

Visit one of our six Yorkshire shops during Chocolate Week (10th to 16th October) and you’ll find out which pairings sang in harmony for their discerning palettes – and have the chance to sample them yourself. But why, we wonder, do coffee and chocolate go so well together?

Flavour attributes

“Coffee is unique in the fact that it’s so complex and has so many different flavour attributes that you can pull out,” explains Jamie. “It’s not one-dimensional; it can match up with and compete with other flavours.”

Many of these qualities – sweetness or bitterness; caramel, fruit or malty flavours – are common to both coffee and chocolate. But if there’s a world of difference between our creamy Swiss milk chocolate and the intense cocoa hit of our Cru Sauvage Truffles, coffees vary even more, with the beans’ type, growing location and roast all coming into play.

“Coffee is unique in the fact that it’s so complex and has so many different flavour attributes.”

During their tastings, Rick and Jamie found that rich, full-bodied roasts make the ideal complement for dark, high-cocoa chocolate. Those Cru Sauvage Truffles get on wickedly with our Italian Blend: “The bittersweet, smooth, chocolatey notes of the coffee are very much like a truffle itself,” says Jamie.

Match & contrast

Lighter roasts that retain more of the beans’ acidity work best with the sweeter, more delicately floral notes of our milk chocolates. To accompany our new Hazelnut Pralines, Jamie and Rick chose medium roast coffees with balanced profiles, finding that the aromatic caramels and hints of honey and fruit of the Peruvian Pangoa went beautifully with the chocolates’ nutty caramel flavour.

Meanwhile, for the Spiced Port Truffles, our experts went for a mixture of match and contrast, marrying the truffles’ spicy notes with those in our French Roast, while the coffee’s full-bodied richness plays perfectly off the heady orange oil aromas.

Unexpected combinations

Rick Tingley

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Jamie and Rick, as some combinations proved quite unexpected. Says Rick: “Some of the coffees and chocolates matched very well, but others pulled out some very strange flavours from each other, which was interesting to find.”

In particular, the deliciously distinctive saltiness of our Salted Caramels had the pair scratching their heads. Eventually they came up trumps with two options: matching the caramel to similar flavours in our Café Blend, or, for a more robust experience, complementing the salt with an intensely aromatic Java Kalibaru.

Sterling work, fellows: why not reward yourselves with some coffee and a chocolate or two?

Meet Jamie and Rick on selected dates to learn more about coffee and chocolate pairing: Monday 10th October, Bettys York 2-4pm; Friday 14th October, Bettys Harrogate 10-12noon and Bettys Ilkley 2-4pm

There will also be the chance to sample our coffee and chocolates in our six Yorkshire shops throughout Chocolate Week