What Your Coffee Says About Your Taste in Wine
When it comes to choosing a wine, it can feel overwhelming deciding exactly which grape varietal will be most enjoyable for your tastes.
While picking a wine might be a daunting prospect for many, it's safe to say that most people know straightaway what kind of coffee they enjoy.
So, if you often feel indecisive when in front of a wine list, it may be reassuring to know that your choice of coffee can actually help you determine which wine may be most suited to your palate.
What Does Coffee Have to Do With Wine?
The way you drink coffee can say a lot about your preference for fragrance, bitterness, body, and acidity - features that are present in both coffee and wine.
Although there are a number of factors that may change how you taste a drink, such as your mood, whether you're celebrating a special occasion, or even the weather, there are generally three main components that influence taste preferences in both coffee and wine:
Smell. Your sense of taste is directly related to your sense of smell. Aroma, a term used both for coffee and wine, is an important aspect of your palate profile.
Body. You’ve probably heard the term "body" when referring to wine, for example a full-bodied red. Put simply, the body of a drink, such as coffee or wine, refers to how that drink feels inside your mouth.
Acidity. Acidity is another important element of your palate profile. Imagine the sensation of biting into a lemon. See how your mouth puckers? This is your mouth measuring the acidity and adjusting to it.
The Power of Taste
While smell, body, and acidity all play an important role in forming our taste preferences, our own biology also plays a role in determining the kinds of drinks we enjoy.
Unbelievably, humans have between 2,000 to 8,000 taste buds. Those among us that only have a few taste buds generally need "loud" wines like Cabernet.
On the other hand, people who have more taste buds, i.e. 8,000, are generally super tasters! These people have a hypersensitive palate and tend to prefer "quieter" and "gentler" wines such as Pinot Noir, as they see bigger, bolder wines as too abrasive and intense!
How Do You Take Your Coffee?
With the above in mind, let's take a look at what your coffee preferences tell you about the wines you might like.
If you enjoy a straightforward cup of black coffee, chances are you'll enjoy a wine with an equally straightforward, strong flavour that has a little grit. Look out for wines that have notes of spiciness, astringency, and noticeable acidity.
Wines to try:
Greco di Tufo
Cappuccino & Latte
If you enjoy drinking coffee with milk, you'll likely prefer softer flavours, as milk helps to calm any bitterness.
Generally speaking, lovers of milky coffee are likely to have a higher taste bud count. As a result, it's best to avoid bigger wines that could overwhelm the palate.
Wines to drink:
A drink for the sugar junkies out there, or those who just love sweetness. It may come as no surprise, but if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, or take your coffee with a bit of sugar, looking for sweeter wines is a good bet.
Wines to try:
Late harvest Tokaji from Hungary
These wines will have lower acidity, meaning they don't have the "tang" many people dislike.
If sweet wines are your thing, you're in good company, as some of the great men and women of history loved their sweet wines. Churchill, Napoleon and even Queen Victoria all had a sweet tooth.
Espresso, Cortado and Macchiato
These coffees are short, black, and intense! They feature strong, bitter notes that indicate a preference for bigger, bolder wines. Try and look out for wines that have high tannins and hearty flavours, as they reflect the thick texture and strong bitterness of an espresso.
Wines to try:
Chai Tea Latte
A great drink for those with a wonderfully hypertensive palate. Those hints of cinnamon and cardamom must be appealing to you! Odds are you have a higher taste bud count, so your palate falls within the elegant and refined category.
Wines to try:
Tea drinkers do not despair! We have you covered too.
Not everyone enjoys coffee so if tea (specifically, black tea) is more your speed, look for wines that are dry and savoury.
A Sauvignon Blanc or Sangiovese offers crisp, fresh, and bright flavours that black tea drinkers might appreciate.
Food for thought?
One of the most famous men in the wine industry, Robert Mondavi, used to enjoy a spoonful of red wine in his morning coffee and was once quoted by the LA Times in 1991 as follows:
“About 8 ounces of coffee, an ounce and a half of wine, and sugar to taste,” said Mondavi. “When I was growing up, my mother would give me a little coffee with a little red wine in it. I grew accustomed to it.”