I enjoy a cigar along with my morning cup of coffee, but I never really explored the pairing any further beyond it just being my normal routine. It was only after one of my coffee snob co-workers introduced me to a small batch, roasted to order, boutique coffee when I dove deeply into the coffee bean and began to realize the full potential of pairing a premium cigar with a good cup of Joe.
It shouldn’t have come as such a surprise that coffee and cigars would work so well together. After all, they’re similar products in that they’re grown in warm climates and both products use heat to extract a range of rich and diverse flavors. There is a common passion found in both coffee roasters and cigar makers, a passion to transform an organic material by culling the most pleasing flavors from it.
Just as with cigars, all coffee is not created equal. On the lower end of the spectrum you’ll find your grocery store or drive-thru coffee which is similar to a gas station cigar or mass produced premium national brand. These will both get the job done and provide a pleasant experience, but you won’t find a lot of complexity or nuance. On the other end is artisan coffee, which I equate to a premium boutique brand like Oliva, Perdomo, or Padrón. These products are produced in smaller batches, use better components (beans and leaf), and are crafted with utmost care and attention by skilled virtuosos.
Like most folks, each morning I would brew a pot of a grocery store variety coffee, taken black, and light up a favorite Connecticut blend. This has served me well over the past twenty years or so and became a daily ritual, albeit an uninteresting one. When I took my first sip of the this new high-grade coffee, I realized that the strength and complexity of the coffee needed a cigar that could stand up to it, and not be overpowered like a Connecticut blend might. I decided to enjoy a heartier cigar with this cup and this pairing led me to a real revelation.
Since this awakening, I have been experimenting like a mad scientist, trying different roasts and blends of coffee with different strengths and vitolas of cigars. I have found a particular pairing to be exquisite, a Honduran blend coffee with a Sumatra wrapped cigar. This pairing really highlights the individual flavors, and the citrus and nutty elements in the coffee really bring out the sweet and earthy notes of the cigar. Most mornings you’ll find me grinding freshly roasted coffee beans and brewing a delectable potion, then reaching into my humidor in search of the perfect blend to complement it. This new avenue for enjoying coffee and cigars has been an invigorating and enlightening exercise. I would urge you to experiment, even if it’s not with a boutique coffee, and see how different style cigars paired with a cup of coffee can deliver a truly exceptional experience.
I hope I’ve peaked your interest into the similarities between coffee and cigars, and lit a fire under you to explore the diverse flavor combinations attainable by enjoying a premium cigar along with a cup of coffee. Instead of the usual, try different roasts and blends of coffee paired with different strength and sizes of cigars. If anything, a cigar isn’t merely a celebratory indulgence to be enjoyed with an adult beverage, but an ideal companion for your morning cup of Joe.