Wave the wine goodbye – apparently the modern way to eat cheese is with artisan coffee

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Hold the milk! I’ll have cheese with that coffee please...

If you’re the type to dunk biscotti in your coffee, how’s about a hunk of cheese? Apparently they’ve been doing it in Brazil and Switzerland for years, but why, we ask – explain this madness!

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Don't say 'Cafe Nero' in front of Fabio – it's as good as swearing!


Why does it work?

Coffee is a fruit after all, roasted to develop its flavour. We all love a baked fruit cheesecake, and this is based on the same principle.


Are you trying to keep me awake and give me nightmares?

OK, cheese and coffee don't have a good rep if you’re trying to get your beauty sleep, but as a 9pm bite before you go out, or even as a buzzing breakfast, you might just get hooked.


So what goes with what?

For that we need the expert: Fabio Ferreira, (aka "the coffee whisperer"!). Fabio is founder of Notes, a speciality coffee company and roastery. He’s been known to drink up to a litre of coffee a day and once consumed 22 espressos (that did make him feel a bit ill). Fabio is quite literally full of beans, especially when he’s talking about coffee, or cheese, or both. Here are his top tips for this unusual pairing.


1. Pair a tropical, fruity coffee with a young and creamy cheese

The bright flavours in the coffee complement the freshness of the cheese


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Fruity and creamy: Don Mayo coffee from Tarrazu, Costa Rica loves a bit of Cornish Yarg

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Finca Pantanal coffee from La Paz, Honduras and Cotherstone cheese

Via: Isobel King/Homemade



2. Hard cheeses are much easier to match with coffee than soft, so start with them!



3. Acidic, sweeter coffees like a lemony, slightly sour tasting cheese


Sweet Finca Pantanal coffee from La Paz, Honduras goes well with Durham's Cotherstone cheese


4. Coffee with dark chocolate flavours pairs well with tangy, milky cheeses


Bittersweet cocoa notes are balanced by the strong buttermilk flavours

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Bittersweet and tangy: Kamiro coffee, Nyamagabe, Rwanda and Alsace Munster make a loved-up match


5. A blow-your-socks-off espresso needs a rich and salty parmesan

Go for one aged for 24 months, so it’s still creamy and not too strong, and dribble with sweet and bitter chestnut honey.


6. Adding some honey to your cheese before you dip is a great idea. Use the strongest honey you can find, but steer clear of anything floral

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Strong and rich: La Esperanza Espresso from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, 24 month aged Parmigiano Reggiano and chestnut honey 

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This coffee smells of strawberry cheesecake. Seriously.

Why have the two together?


Originally, Fabio could only drink coffee if he had some cheese to eat with it! And while those days are long gone, cheese can certainly round and soften the flavour of a bitter Robusta coffee.


With fruity individual artisan coffees on the other hand, flavours are enhanced and the coffee cuts through the richness of the cheese to make it taste even more creamy, just like an awesome milky latte.


Artisan coffees often have a sweetness that commercial coffees don't, so you probably won't want sugar or milk if you have them with cheese and honey.


It still sounds weird

It’s actually not so strange. If a milky cappuccino or coffee topped with whipped cream is acceptable, then matching coffee with cheese is probably the natural next step. We typically end a meal with cheese and then drink coffee too, so sticking them together kinda makes sense ... once you get your head round it, that is!

Tempted to give this a go? Then tell us about your favourite coffee and cheese combos in the comments box below...