Does Coffee go well with Cheese?

Here at Two Chimps Coffee, we’re all about trying new things.

Late one evening, whilst drinking hot chocolate (honest, guv) the thought came to us…. Does coffee go well with cheese?

So, we tried it. Intrigued to see if coffee and cheese is a thing? Read on my friends, read on.


cheese board on a table



Our initial thoughts were that we would require a coffee strong and punchy enough to match the intensity of the cheese. With this in mind, we sampled all of our cheeses with a nice shot of espresso, pulled from our home lever-style machine. De-lish.

The following made the cut for this test:

Alongside some readily available cheeses, we upped the ante with a few smoked cheeses from our friends at Feast & Furious in Melton Mowbray. The cheeses we had for the evening were:

  • Smoked Gouda
  • Smoked Stilton
  • Red Leicester
  • Cheddar
  • Smoked Manchego
  • Cranberry Wensleydale

So, what happened? Were any of the cheeses tasty with coffee, or not really?



pulling a shop of espresso on a manual lever espresso machine


Smoked Gouda

Our panel of judges(!) were in agreement that the smoked gouda was too sweet for coffee. Awesome on its own however, just the sweet flavour in the cheese was too overpowering for any of our espressos.


Smoked Stilton

As with all of our cheeses, they were all tried with each of the four espressos.  The first coffee we tried with this smoked stilton was 88 Minutes Past 3, our Honduran coffee. We found that this gave the cheese quite an unpleasant, tangy taste and definitely wasn’t going to become a thing. However we did find that the smoked stilton worked well with Flip Flops In The Rain and Do Bees Have Knees?. When paired with Livin’ The Dream however, the flavours didn’t really work well together at all. We put this down to the flavours of the coffee being so intense. Maybe two intense things played against each other were just too much? This particular Stilton was smoked and had a slightly spicy kick. Maybe it was this that worked well with the chocolatey notes found in Do Bees Have Knees? and Flip-Flops In The Rain.


Cutting a piece of cheddar with a knife from a cheese board selection



Red Leicester

88 Minutes Past Three and Flip Flops In The Rain mixed well with the flavours and creaminess of the Red Leicester. This particular cheese was mild in flavour, and although these two coffees are roasted slightly darker, their flavours aren’t overpowering either. This meant they didn’t clash, but instead, blended together. However, when we tried Livin’ The Deam with this cheese, again we found the coffee’s flavours to be just that little too much.


This cheddar had a mild flavour, and, I must admit, all were hoping on this becoming a favourite. I mean, who doesn’t love cheddar, right? 88 Minutes Pass Three, Flip Flops In The Rain and Do Bees Have Knees? all excelled with this cheese. All were really pleasant. Yet again however, Livin’ The Dream was just too strong. Does anyone else see a pattern forming here?

Smoked Manchego

The Smoked Manchego was a hard cheese, and, we actually found it too hard to ‘mix’ with our coffees. Thinking back, the cheeses that worked better were those that would melt in the mouth a little with the heat from the espresso. Maybe this was just too hard to melt.


eating cheese on a cheese board


Cranberry Wensleydale

Just like the Smoked Stilton, 88 Minutes Past Three gave this cheese that tangy taste again. Unfortunately, this meant it was a definite no for this combo. However, Flip Flops In The Rain and Do Bees Have Knees? went really well with this cheese. We concluded that this was partly due to the cranberries in the cheese mixing with the chocolatey notes in both of these coffees. You can probably guess by now how this cheese went when paired with Livin’ The Dream.


So, after our bellies were well and truly full of all that coffee and cheese, we sat down and drew up our superbly professional findings. On a side note, can we suggest that you don’t run this test then head off to bed? Cheese dreams, with the kick of a tasty espresso, are really not that pleasant.

Livin’ The Deam was too strong to go with any of the cheeses. It didn’t seem to want to play with any of the cheeses like the other coffees did; it completely overpowered their flavours. Maybe a stronger coffee needed a softer, creamier cheese, like Brie?

We found that smoother and creamy coffees, such as Flip Flops in the Rain and Do Bees Have Knees? seemed to compliment cheese well, whereas 88 Minutes Past Three was a little hit and miss.

So, if we were to choose a coffee for cheese, it would be something chocolatey with a subtle acidity.


pulling a double shot of espresso


But why?

When we blend coffees together, there are two outcomes: tension blends and harmonious blends. Cheese and coffee seemed to follow the same rules. The pairings that seemed to work better were those that were harmonious: the flavours were similar. For example, a smooth coffee and a smooth cheese were magical!

As we mentioned, the smoked Manchego was too hard for coffee. Instead, we found that a creamy cheese was better for coffee. The Cheddar we chose was very creamy and smooth which seemed to be ideal for pairing with coffee.

The smoked stilton really surprised us as it went well with two out of the four coffees (Flip Flops In The Rain and Do Bees Have Knees?). Our initial thoughts were that the taste of the Stilton would be too overpowering as it was smoked. However, it seemed to hold its milder and creamy notes, with a spicy flavour.

We really enjoyed our coffee and cheese tasting night and would definitely recommend it to anyone!


cutting on a cheese board


So, get some friends together and have your very own coffee and cheese tasting night. You don’t have to use the same cheese as us, nor do you have to choose the same coffees either.

Excited? We are! Head over to the shop today to get stocked up on coffee and try it for yourself!


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