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Cigars and Coffee: A Perfect Match

Many months ago we gave you some tips on selecting a spirit to pair with your cigar.

Now I like a stiff drink as much as the next guy, but there are many times when a bourbon, scotch, cognac, port, or rum - the more traditional cigar cocktail pairings - just aren’t appropriate or desirable.

On these occasions, might I suggest you reach for a cup of Joe? Coffee isn’t the most exotic drink. Over half of all Americans consume it every day, with per capita consumption at 1.6 cups daily. But a fine cigar paired with a good brew can transform the average into the exotic.

Coffee and a cigar before noon, in the early afternoon, or after dinner (when a stronger spirit just isn’t possible when you need to drive home) can be delightful.

And the flavors in a good cup of coffee are highly complementary to cigars. Vanilla, mocha, chocolate, and roasted notes, as well as nuttiness and earth, can all be found in both cigars and coffee. In fact, tasting wheels used for coffee tasting would help any cigar smoker identify flavors in his tasty tobacco treat.

But much like bad cigars, people too often think of coffee as bad coffee, akin to the sludge at your workplace. But doing so would be like thinking that all cigars are like Phillies. I fear that, despite the billions of cups of coffee Americans drink every year, many people have never had a really good brew.

I make a pot every morning with my French press coffee maker using freshly ground beans from my manual burr grinder. Some people take it a step further, roasting their own beans from their initial green color to the deep brown we identify with coffee, while others have thousand-dollar fully automatic espresso machines. But such a setup isn’t necessary for good coffee.

Whatever machine you use, try coffee that you grind yourself at the supermarket or local coffee store, as opposed to pre-ground canned coffee. And buy it in small amounts so that it isn’t sitting around getting stale, which can massively change the flavor. (I bought my grinder after noting how much more I enjoyed coffee right after I bought it compared to after it sat around in my kitchen cabinet for a week.)

Finally, try different types of coffee from various countries and companies. Not surprisingly, Cuban coffee pairs excellently with cigars, but so can a good cafe au lait, latte, or espresso.

Like cigars, you need to try a variety to find your favorite. And when you do, you may find that, from time to time, you’ll pass over alcoholic beverages in favor of a good cup of Joe.