Ever wonder why pastries go so well with a warm cuppa, be it coffee or tea?
The dutch heat their Stroopwafels on a cup of coffee… but why? Why do Liège waffles go so well with a latte?
It comes down to flavors, textures, and science stuff, too!
If you're a fan of our vegan Liège Vafels, you know that there's nothing quite like the warm, crispy, doughy goodness of these Belgian waffles. But, why do coffee and tea pair so well with all these Vafels? Let’s dive in, explore the flavor combinations that make our mornings, and discover why coffee and tea are the perfect accompaniments to the Liège and Stroopvafels you keep stocked.
Lets talk Flavor and Texture of Coffee and Waffles
Whether you are a coffee enthusiast who is finely attuned to the raspberry and nutty notes of your preferred blend or someone who is still striving to develop their palate, the fact remains: coffee is inherently bitter. And, the bitter flavors in your black coffee and espresso drinks cut the sweetness of Vafels European-style waffles, which are a cause for you to alternate between a sip of coffee and a bite of your morning Vafel in this well-balanced pairing.
If black coffee and espresso make you turn sour at the thought, keep calm, cappucino and latte drinks have their place, too. The lightness of the foam in a cappuccino can bring out the subtle flavors in a Liège waffle because it provides a contrasting texture to the dense and chewy waffle. Made by aerating milk, the foam consists of tiny bubbles that create a smooth and airy consistency, thereby accentuating the layered sweetness of the waffle dough texture.
The Ins and Outs of Tea and Waffles
What about tea, you ask?
Similarly to a fine wine, a good tea maintains a balance of sweetness and dryness described as astringency. Tannins are categorized as astringnets - plant polyphenols which cling to proteins. In the mouth, it causes roughness and dryness, similar to the bitter taste you get from biting an unripe fruit or a very dry wine. The way you prepare your tea can bring out bitter-er and sour-er flavors, depending. But, without getting too specific, up next are some teas that might do well with a waffle.
Earl Grey has its place as its citrusy flavor is a great complement to the sweet caramelizations of pearl sugar in a Liège waffle. It’s the bergamot in the tea that helps to balance out the sweetness of the waffle.
Chai, too? You bet. Chai’s spicy, aromatic flavor rounds off the caramel in our Stroopvafels. The cinnamon and cardamom in the tea help to create a warm and cozy pairing, while the black tea contrasts the sweetness of the waffle.
Even Green Tea’s subtle, earthy tones cleanse the palate, offering a refreshing counterbalance, allowing you to savor the flavor of the waffle without overwhelming your taste buds.
The Science Behind Caffeine’s Effect on Flavor
But wait, there’s more. There’s science to caffeine’s effect on flavor!
Caffeine content in coffee and tea can help to enhance the flavors of the pastries by stimulating the taste buds and improving the perception of sweetness.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can affect various parts of the body, including the taste buds. When caffeine is consumed, it stimulates the nervous system and causes an increase in the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters can affect the taste buds by enhancing the sensitivity of the taste receptors.
Caffeine can also increase the saliva production, which can help to dissolve food particles and spread the flavors around the mouth. This can lead to a more intense and pleasurable taste experience. In addition, caffeine can stimulate the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for the sensation of touch in the mouth. This can enhance the overall sensory experience of consuming food and beverages.
The stimulation of taste buds by caffeine can lead to a more intense and pleasurable taste experience. This is why coffee and tea, which both contain caffeine, are often paired with sweet pastries or desserts.
However, it's important to note that excessive consumption of caffeine can have negative effects on health and should be consumed in moderation. I limit myself to 6 cups a day. How about you? ;)
Overall, the combination of coffee or tea with sweet pastries creates a delightful sensory experience that balances flavors and enhances the overall enjoyment of both.
Put a Vafel in your pocket (or on your plate)!