What is Brie Noir and why add it to coffee?

A taste sensation or a ghastly combination?

Allow me to explain.

Firstly, what is “Brie Noir” or “Black Brie”, you ask? In the picturesque town of “Seine-et-Marne”, an hours commute from Paris, you will find the classic French cheese “Brie” lovingly made here as it has been for generations. Beautifully creamy, gooey and delicious on warm, freshly cooked bread, many cheese lovers have fond opinions on this sometimes smelly treat!

Brie is generally aged for 5 to 10 weeks, with the longer aged Bries having a more pronounced and robust flavour. This is the type of Brie almost all of us have come across, and just like most other cheeses, Brie can be aged for months or even years. Classic Brie usually was kept and reserved for the wealthy, a common tradition in pre-revolution France. The longed Brie and cheeses were kept and eaten by the farmers and labourers as it was easier to store and transport if needed.

Aged for two years, “Brie Noir” or “Black Brie” takes on a completely different appearance from the soft yellow, creamy-textured standard Brie we are familiar with. Dark yellow to brown in colour and crumbly in texture, this is Brie like you have never seen or tried before. Most hardened cheese enthusiasts agree, “Brie Noir” is not for the faint-hearted. With its powerfully nutty, acidic and slightly bitter taste, it has complex flavour notes with tasters giving wildly differing opinions. All agree however, this is seriously strong cheese!

But what has Brie got to do with coffee, you ask?

As with all weird and wonderful food combinations, it takes one brave individual to start a new trend. Peanut butter and jelly (jam) sandwiches, dipping chips in a milkshake, Twiglets and mayonnaise! Brie, or specifically “Brie Noir” and coffee, originates from “Seine-et-Marne”, and I don’t just mean coffee with Brie on the side. This means fully “dunking” a small slice of “Brie Noir” into your black coffee!

Inspirational or repulsive? There is logic to this seemingly incompatible combination. Strong French coffee, or “French Press” coffee, is bold and full of flavour. With sugar being so expensive, even up to only 150 years ago, regular working farmers and labourers did not have access to such a luxury. From here, our brave individual came forth and decided to “test”, adding a sliver of “Brie Noir” to their coffee…Sadly, there are no factual records to confirm when and who first tried this concoction, but what we do know is it has stuck around, and now, you soon may be offered this by your local coffee shop.

With the solid earthly nutty flavours from the “Brie Noir” and natural acidity, the combination works incredibly well to balance the taste of the strong black coffee. It adds a remarkable soft sweetness and wonderfully complex aftertaste to the coffee, and once drank, you have left arguably the best part, a melted pile of rich, creamy Brie that is simply a delight.

Would you give this a go? Go on. I dare you!

Now I fully appreciate if you are reluctant even to give this a go, and I admit, I was sceptical at first, but as a treat and something unique, this is a winner, in my opinion. With life slowly returning to normal and shops looking at novel ways to bring your attention back to them, you may find this unique offering served up in a city or town near you. If you do, don’t be shy, you may be pleasantly surprised with the result!

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