Whether pairing cigars with coffee sound like a match made in heaven, or a combination born of the devil himself, the fact is, paired correctly they are perfect flavor compliments. Many of the most popular cigar brands have hints of coffee or chocolate already infused, which are brought right to the front of your palette when paired with an appropriate coffee, making for an absolutely delicious combination. So the next time you visit your favorite cigar shop, or your source for cigars online, think about which cigars might pair well with your favorite coffee.
Coffee beans and their flavor profiles are as varied as those of cigar tobacco and as such, some thought must be given to pairing the perfect tobacco with the perfect bean. As with smoking cigars, we like abide by the axiom “if you like it, smoke it”. The suggestions below are just that…suggestions. They are by no means hard-and-fast rules, they are meant simply as general guidelines to help you find your way around the hundreds of coffee blends and how you might use them to accent the flavors of your favorite cigar.
The first general rule is to match the shade of your coffee to the shade of your cigar. A lighter cigar wrapper will generally pair well with a lighter coffee and a darker wrapper, like a Camaroon, will generally pair well with a darker, stronger coffee. As with cigars, coffee beans come from specific regions and each of those regions have their own unique qualities. Below we lay out some of the most popular coffee regions and their corresponding flavor profiles:
Guatemala – Beans from this region generally have a smooth acidity and can actually have smoky tobacco aromas, This region generally produced medium-strength beans with hints of wood and earth. It pairs best with medium-to-full bodied cigars that have spicy notes.
Kenya – Kenyan beans often have notes of leafy sweetness and fresh grass. They are known for a gentle finish and hints of fruit. These beans pair best with cigars that have strong nutty or woody notes.
Nicaragua – As with many Nicaraguan tobaccos, beans from the region also have hints of chocolate or cacao. They also have notes of fruitiness and re known for a powerful finish. While the beans from this region can vary greatly in flavor, a general pairing for this coffee is a spicy, leathery cigar, and also a dark, very sweet stick.
Columbia – Perhaps the most famous coffee region in the world, Colombian have a mild acidity, creamy body, very mellow notes of fruit. The coffee is a little peppery and some say has a finish similar to that of green tea. A sweet, creamy cigar would go best against the peppery cream notes of this coffee.
Puerto Rico – This coffee region is small and relatively ignored, but it produces very flavorful beans with a bold and smooth chocolate taste. It goes best with cigars that are full-bodied and works with very spicy or very sweet stogies.
Your local cigar shop can also help you select cigars from the same region as your favorite coffee, as they will often pair together well. This is because beans and tobacco from the same region are grown in the same soil with the same base elements. For example, Macanudo Cigars are made from Tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic which is very close to Puerto Rico. So a Macanudo would pair well with a coffee from Puerto Rico.
As you can see, there is a lot of room for experimentation here, and it really all comes down to matching strength and making sure the flavors of the coffee and cigar don’t overwhelm each other, but complement each other. If you’re just starting out with this pairing, you’ll want to drink the coffee black, at least until you have a little more experience. Black coffee and a good cigar means everything hitting your palate is natural, with not foreign or chemical flavors. Adding sugar or cream into the mix can really change things. Purists would say the change is for the worse, but there are those who believe a small amount of sugar in the coffee can really bring out the flavor of a sweet cigar. In the end, it comes full circle – smoke (drink) what you like and like what you smoke (drink).
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