Why Fruit Juice Belongs In Coffee

With more people accepting orange juice and coffee as a surprisingly tasty concoction, adding espresso shots to fruit juices — or vice-versa — has seen a rise in popularity. This duo works not just as a flavor amplifier but also for practical reasons. 

For example, adding grapefruit juice to coffee not only tastes good but extends the effects of caffeine due to the compound naringin, which is found in grapefruit. Adding orange juice to espresso cuts the bitterness for a more pleasant sip.

Why does the combination of fruit and espresso work so well? To understand this, first consider why milk is a lovely pairing for coffee beans with chocolatey or nutty notes. Simply put, the fat content in milk coats your tongue and cuts down on the coffee's bitter and acidic flavors. The coffee becomes richer and creamier, and the natural notes of chocolate or nuts are enhanced. This is great — but not always the best if your beans are prominently citrusy or acidic. In this case, instead of milk, adding fruit juice to espresso shots pulled from beans with more pronounced fruit flavors gives the two tastes a chance to play off each other.

Fruity coffee drinks from other countries

Grapefruit and orange juice have been tried and determined to be compatible with the complex nature of coffee — but what about other combinations? It might surprise you to learn fruity coffee drinks are found all around the world. 

For example, mazagran is a coffee drink similar to modern cold brew. It originated in Algeria and typically consists of iced coffee and lemon juice, with sugar to taste. Today, mazagran is most commonly found in Portugal; some variations have been known to throw in rum or mint leaves.

You may sense a pattern of drinks that pair citrus fruits with coffee, but there's more. Iced avocado coffee, or es alpukat kopi, is an Indonesian drink that unifies the creaminess of avocado with the bitterness of coffee. This beverage is made by mashing avocado with sweetened condensed milk, placing the mixture in a cup, and adding ice, coffee, and chocolate syrup. If these international drinks spark inspiration, it might be time to bust out your coffee maker and try your own fruit-coffee combinations!