What happens when coffee meets  Japanese sweets?

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What happens when coffee meets Japanese sweets?



The World of Coffee 028

Coffee and cake. Coffee and rolls. Coffee and donuts.When you think about it, we’ve got
so many expressions that put coffee together with Western sweets. But coffee and Japanese sweets?
That might be hard to imagine. Fine Japanese sweets tend to have a delicate, subtle sweetness, which makes it tough for coffee to pair with. On the other hand, everyday Japanese sweets with stronger, simpler tastes—adzuki (red beans), for example—tend to go great with coffee. The simpler, more direct the flavors are, the better the match.
That’s why anko (red bean paste) makes such a great coffee pairing, surprising as it may seem.

Here’s one pairing idea: a sakura-an (cherry-flavored white adzuki bean paste) dorayaki (sweet bean pancake) with a cup of geisha coffee.
As the subtle notes of cherry flavors fill your nose, the bright acidity of the coffee chimes in. You might something in the flavor palette that you wouldn’t have noticed drinking the coffee by itself.

There are other qualities of coffee that fit with the profiles of Japanese sweets.
Natural-processed coffee undergoes a unique transformation, close to fermentation, which gives it an almost malty flavor—and that quality makes it another great match for Japanese tastes.
If you’re in the mood to try a pairing of coffee and Japanese sweets, it’s better to avoid strong, bitter dark-roast coffee and go for a more acidic medium-roast option.

Just like there are endless types of coffee, there’s so much variety in anko, too. Flavors vary according to the adzuki bean, salt content, and other variables.
There are too many combinations to count, so why not mix and match lots of different options?
Put some Japanese sweets from different shops and some coffee on a table, invite some friends over, and see what the pairings can do. Who knows—the whole might just be more than the sum of its parts!