Cigars and Coffee - Why Do They Pair So Well?

Rum and Coke, hamburgers and French fries, chocolate and peanut butter are just some of the many things that pair well together. And of course, coffee and cigars! But why?

Well, for starters coffee and tobacco can be grown in various parts of the world although there are certain regions, due to climate, which are more suitable for growing coffee and tobacco. Also, like coffee, tobacco from one region of the globe can be blended with tobacco from a totally different geographical location to create an incredibly palate pleasing experience.

Another similarity is the growing process. It takes approximately three to five years for a coffee tree to mature and bear usable fruit. Once picked coffee beans are dried, peeled, roasted, milled, dried again, packaged, and shipped to stores. Likewise, albeit it in a shorter span of time, a tobacco plant can take three to five months to grow before its leaves are ready to be plucked from its stalk. Once pulled, the tobacco leaves are hung and air-cured in a barn then fermented and aged for one to six years before they are rolled into cigars. Depending on the flavor profile a blender is trying to achieve, cigars are placed in aging rooms so that they can age for six months and up to two years before being shipped. Unlike coffee, cigars are ready for consumption once purchased.

Coffee on the other hand, requires a few extra steps before you can consume it. It needs to be ground (if you purchased whole beans), brewed and served.  During the past couple of decades, the way coffee is brewed has become more diverse. Drip, Chemex, French press, vacuum, moka, percolate, and espresso are some of the more popular methods. Cigars have come a long way too. There is an infinite number of blends that a master blender can develop. And a highly skilled roller, armed with a chaveta can roll cigars into a vast variety of shapes and sizes from cigarillos to giants. For example, the Asylum Nine Limited Edition April Fool's Day cigar is nine inches long and has a 90-ring gauge! Make sure to set aside some serious time before lighting up this big boy.

Coffee tends to freshen and open up your sense of smell and taste. Cigars tend to overwhelm them. Coffee ranges from medium to dark roast, light to robust, and caffeinated to decaffeinated. There are also flavored coffees that enhance the drinking experience. Cigars can go from mild to full strength and smooth to full-bodied depending blend and the types of leaves used. Plus, there are sweet-tipped and flavor-infused cigars with delicious flavors such as cherry, amaretto, rum, and of course, coffee.

As for pairing them? If you are smoking a potent cigar that is spicy and peppery, you might want to tone it down a bit by pairing it with a café con leche or a café au lait, extra sweet. If you’re smoking a mild cigar with a sweet or creamy profile, an espresso, Cuban colada, or an American coffee black will offer an excellent contrast. Or if you’re feeling adventurous you may wish to match a strong coffee with a potent smoke. The best part is that it’s all up to you. 

Published on April 5, 2023