We’ve previously discussed popular drinks that are great to pair with a cigar, such as champagne and whisky. This next instalment in our series will focus on how coffee can be the perfect accompaniment to a great smoke, from the classic strong, black coffee to the mellower latte.
Coffee is a drink that can be appreciated at any time and anywhere; and what could be more perfect than adding a luxuriously handmade cigar to an aromatic cup of coffee? The ultimate coffee and cigar pairing will depend on your personal flavour and strength preferences, but there is no denying that some combinations are just meant to be.
Why Pair Coffee and Cigars?
There are many benefits to pairing a cup of coffee with a cigar, mainly because both complement each other incredibly well. The smell of freshly-brewed coffee combined with the scent of an open humidor sound like a match made in heaven and both have been appreciated for centuries – be it as an integral part of an everyday morning ritual or enjoyed after dinner.
Both coffee and cigars have a similar harvesting process that is very ‘hands-on’, and both undergo a fermentation process as well. When talking about either of them, we also refer to a flavour wheel of sorts, where flavours are communicated in a similar way whether it’s cigars or coffee we’re discussing.
And, of course, we can’t not mention the ‘bean belt’ (of Coffee Belt), a zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn where conditions for coffee bean growth are perfect – it’s also where the finest tobacco for cigars grow. This area includes South America, Africa and Southern Asia and possesses rich soil and tropical climates, which are ideal for the world’s best coffee beans and tobacco to thrive.
Great Coffee and Cigar Pairings
It’s very difficult to go wrong with a cigar and coffee combination. Be it the soil or the weather, the truth is that both tobacco and coffee beans are very much alike, which makes it easier to choose the right pairing.
Just start by considering how similar the tastes can be; the last thing you want is for one flavour to overpower the other, so balance is key. If you have a mild and sweet cigar, a light roast coffee can be the right choice; and a stronger cigar may be ideal to pair with a full-bodied roast.
Due to the large range of options out there, coffee and cigar pairings can be limitless; we’ve narrowed them down by suggesting some combinations that can create a beautiful harmony between your favourite smokes and your libation of choice.
Black Coffee – A Partagas Lusitanias cigar can be a fantastic option if you prefer to have black coffee. With a full body and a complex range of flavours that evolve as you smoke it, this cigar’s cedar and earthy notes (as well as a toasty finish) are powerful and invigorating, just like a strong cup of dark coffee, making this drink a beautiful accompaniment.
Latte – The timeless Montecristo No. 2 may very well be the perfect cigar to enjoy with a latte in the other hand. The richness and creaminess of the coffee are perfectly balanced by the mild body of the cigar and its silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper that offers hints of cream and sweet coffee. The earthiness of the cigar combined with the smoothness of the coffee is a blend that both beginners and experienced smokers alike will certainly appreciate.
Cappuccino – The cappuccino is a combination of Italian espresso with the creaminess of both steamed and foamed milk; and is great paired with a smooth cigar, such as the Oliva Serie V Special V Figurado. The notes of earth and spice – as well as hints of coffee and minerality – are perfect to create a beautiful and smooth smoking experience that you won’t soon forget. A perfectly refined after-dinner to enjoy with a cappuccino.
Espresso – Which cigar is best to enjoy with a strong shot of espresso? We believe a Davidoff The Late Hour Robusto is a gorgeous pairing with such a strong drink, as both are rich and bold and the hint of sweetness present in the cigar cuts through the strength of the coffee – the result is a beautiful melody of flavours you’ll, no doubt, love.
Flat White – The Romeo Y Julieta Short Churchill is a beautiful smoke that pairs wonderfully with a flat white. Such a smooth coffee goes very well with this medium-bodied smoke that is, undeniably, cool and possesses notes of cedar and earth with an aftertaste of brown toast.
Mocha – The beautiful cocoa flavour of a great caffè mocha certainly does a Padron Anniversary 1926 No. 9 Maduro justice. Both complement each other very well and will leave you wanting more. The flavour palette and complexity of the smoke will start you off with a hint of sweetness that harmonises greatly with the sweetness of the chocolate, and the earth and coffee notes that shine through will make this a truly unforgettable experience.
What Else Should You Consider When Choosing a Pairing?
We discussed how different types of coffee can go great with a cigar, but what about the type of roast or the coffee’s country of origin? Just like each cigar is unique and has a one-of-a-kind flavour profile, the same is true for coffee.
For example, differences in flavour tend to come from the soil and growing conditions, meaning coffee will not taste the same from country to country. A Cuban coffee blend can be strong in earthy notes and possess hints of caramel and smoke, for example, while a Kenyan blend can offer a subtle fruity taste and a Puerto Rican coffee is smooth and chocolatey. You can use the different blend tastes to help you to choose the right drink for your cigar.
The same goes for coffee roasts. A light roast has the highest acidity and brightness (as well as caffeine), a dark roast is bold and rich (and dark brown or black in colour), and a medium roast is a great balance between the two. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a type of coffee that won’t overwhelm your cigar in terms of flavour – or underwhelm.
A full-bodied cigar and a very strong coffee may end up ‘fighting’ for dominance when it comes to taste (or may end up resulting in a stunning combination), but a weaker drink may not be able to hold its own against a powerful smoke – in order to get it right, it’s important to keep balance in mind.
At James J. Fox, you can buy the perfect cigars online that greatly complement your choice of coffee, as we have a vast range of brands and flavours at your disposal.