Who doesn't love a fresh cup of coffee? From a frothy cappuccino with a topping of foamed milk to the satisfying rich taste of a caffee latte, coffee is the choice of many to not only get the morning off to a great start but also as a much-needed afternoon pick-me-up.

But selecting a coffee is not so simple. With many variations, brewing methods and flavor combinations available, the choices seem endless. Add a pastry to the mix and picking the right coffee gets even more challenging.

"Don't worry," says Heather Deleon, an owner of Strada Caffe, an espresso bar and cafe specializing in made-onsite pastries and fresh brewed coffees. "Most coffees and pastries pair well together."

The trick, says Deleon, is to pick a pastry dripping with gooey sweet icing to go with a dark roast coffee offering slightly bitter tones or to pair a pastry such as a scone, that is not so sweet, with a coffee enhanced with vanilla, caramel or dark chocolate flavoring. 

Located in Tyler, Texas, Strada Caffe's pastry selections include everything from a healthy veggie muffin to the decadent tiramisu.  

"Just ask," encourages Deleon of those who are not sure what pastry-coffee combo is going to be a harmonious delight. "We (those in the know) enjoy talking about the differences in coffees and what combos work well together. We nerd out on this stuff."

Invitation accepted. 

Lifestyles Magazine challenged Deleon to come up with four coffee-pastry combinations that are sure to please. 

COMBO NO. 1 

A dark roast coffee paired with a sticky sweet cinnamon bun. 

Deleon brewed the coffee Kalita style by slowly pouring hot water over coffee grinds atop a filter. This method produces a coffee with a "cleaner taste and a lighter mouth feel," says Deleon.  

COMBO NO. 2

A cappuccino flavored with cloves and orange extract paired with a cranberry and orange muffin.

Deleon says the orange in both the cappuccino and muffin make this a match made in heaven.

COMBO NO. 3

Iced coffee flavored with sweet spiced horchata paired with a tarta de santiago. 

The flavors of the drink and pastry complement each other, says Deleon adding that the almond cake served with a dusting of powder sugar has been popular in Spain for thousands of years. 

COMBO NO. 4

A cinnamon flavored mocha paired with a generous slice of carrot cake. 

Deleon says the moist and tasty cake ensures that this combo is a winner. The filling of fresh carrots, coconut and finely chopped pecans creates just the right amount of sweetness to enjoy with coffee. 

Danny Mogle has covered news in East Texas for decades. He currently focuses on arts, entertainment and human interest stories and serves as the editor of Lifestyles Magazine.

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