High coffee food pairings

caffeine magazine australia high coffee food pairings

Safia Shakarchi revamps high tea for the modern day by losing the cucumber sandwiches and adding coffee (and more)
Photography Bentley Creative

In early 19th century Britain, the advent of gas lighting allowed dinner to be served later – but this technological advancement made for a long stretch after lunch with no meal. Anna Russell, the Duchess of Bedford and a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, discovered that finger sandwiches, cakes and pastries, washed down with a cup of Earl Grey, Darjeeling or Assam, were the perfect way to bridge the gap. She started inviting her friends – and the British concept of afternoon tea was born.

The tradition soon made its way to other parts of the Empire; and while it’s still going strong in Australia, it’s fair to say that the majority of us prefer a coffee these days – and usually crave a little something to go with it. Fortunately, coffee’s flavour profiles lend it to endless innovative pairings with both sweet and savoury dishes. So we decided to bring afternoon tea into the 21st century with six striking, contemporary dishes, each paired with a caffeinated drink. It’s a spread that would make the Duchess proud.

Below is just one amazing creation. Get the latest copy of Caffeine Australia to see many more.

Blood orange and rose cascara lollipops with sparkling cascara

If you want a literal link between afternoon tea and afternoon coffee, here it is: cascara, the tea-like drink made from coffee cherries. Its refreshingly intense flavour is down to the quick-drying process of the cherries, which are ground down in a mortar and pestle then chopped finely before being brewed with hot water.

We’ve cooled our cascara – Cascara Coffee Tea from Market Lane Coffee – and topped it up with sparkling water to add some fizz. The brewed cascara is also used in the lollipops themselves, which are lightly infused with blood orange and rosewater, enhancing the distinct floral and fruity notes of the dried coffee cherry skins.

Pairing the drink with the sweet lollipop creates a sensation akin to something many of us did as children – dipping a lolly into sherbet. It’s a real party (or par-tea) on your tongue!

Cascara Coffee Tea; $12 for 80g

caffeine magazine australia high coffee food pairings cascara lollies

This feature appears in issue 03 of Caffeine magazine Australia

Ask for a copy of Caffeine magazine from wherever you get your beans or subscribe using the link below.