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Cigar Spirits: A Good Cup of Coffee

13 Dec 2011

We spend a lot of time writing about spirits you can pair with a cigar. Rum, scotch, bourbon, beer, and wine have their place, but sometimes nothing beats a cup of coffee.

Whether in the morning, after lunch, or at the conclusion of dinner on a chilly night, a strong cup of coffee is often times more appropriate, or just plain better, than something stronger. On the other hand, bad watery coffee can ruin not only the immediate experience, but coffee in general. Coffee certainly isn’t the most exotic drink (over half of all Americans consume it everyday, and the per capita consumption is 1.6 cups a day) but a fine cigar paired with a good brew can turn the average to the exotic.

And the flavors in a good cup of coffee are highly complimentary to fine cigars. Vanilla, mocha, chocolate, and roasted notes, 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 tobacco.

But much like bad cigars, too often when people think of coffee they think of bad coffee, like that sludge they serve at your workplace. But doing so would be like thinking that all cigars are like Phillies. To fix that, here are a few tips I adhere to for making a proper cup of coffee.

First off, you need good beans. There are many good ones out there and plenty of boutique roasters to explore, but these days my go-to is Major Dickason’s blend by Peet’s, a full-flavored multi-region blend. Best of all, it’s easy to find (my local supermarket carries it) so I don’t have to order it through the mail or worry about when I’ll be able to pick some more up.

The biggest improvement the average person can make to their coffee experience is grinding them at home immediately before brewing the coffee. Burr grinders are best, as they evenly grind the coffee without burning the grinds like blade grinders do, and these days you find a decent one for $50 or $60.

Of course, some people take it a step further, roasting their own beans, and buying thousands of dollars worth of brewing equipment. But such a setup isn’t necessary for good coffee. I use one of the cheapest methods, a Melitta pour over a coffee maker that makes one cup at a time and uses easy-to-find paper filters.

When it comes to a cigar with your proper cup of coffee, there are as many good cigars to choose from as there are exotic coffee blends. Mild Connecticut smokes in the morning, dark full-bodied maduros later, is an easy rule of thumb, but you shouldn’t feel bound to any particular rule. Just don’t overlook coffee when it’s time for a cigar. And let us know your favorite coffee and cigar pairing below in the comments.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

6 Responses to “Cigar Spirits: A Good Cup of Coffee”

  1. Tom Ufer Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    While I am a home roaster, I'm more on the low end when it comes to equipment. I use a french press to brew and a burr grinder. A good grinder is crucial to a good cup of coffee. Spend the most money you can on a grinder.

    Also, if you use a "Mr. Coffee" type brewer, pick up a gold coffee filter. They are less than $5 and allow more of the coffee oils to reach your cup, resulting in more flavor.

    Lastly, find a good local roaster and buy from them. It's the next best thing to roasting your own beans. Anything from a supermarket is already stale, no matter when it hit the shelves.

    I generally find that Sumatra Mandheling goes well with just about any cigar. It's probably my favorite coffee at the moment.

  2. Joel Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Coffee is my go-to pairing with a cigar but I would suggest drinking only black or with a little sugar. I find adding milk of half-and-half leads my palate feeling "coated" and detracts from the cigar. Lately I have been on a Turkish coffee kick with cigars–splendidly strong and, if served in the correct cup, the dregs will settle to the bottom just fine.

  3. George E Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Patrick – I am, like you, a Melitta guy. A couple of tips I've learned over the years: 1) Use the microwave to heat your cup or mug beforehand and 2) pour the hot water over the filter to cleanse it of any paper taste before using it for coffee filtration.

  4. JRyder430 Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    I agree coffee goes great with cigars.

  5. TriMarkC Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Man, reading this article just has my mouth watering to have a great cup of hot, strong coffee and a wonderful cigar!

    We used to grind our own coffee at home — my wife's grandparents had this amazing ancient hand-cranked burr grinder and wooden box contraption that supposedly they got when they were overseas. But my wife, who is not into antiques, saw that the outer painted (I want to say plastic, but they didn;t have plastic back then…so lets call them ) facades cracked, she threw the whole thing out!!! :0(

    I'm with Tom – I prefer Sumatra coffee, using a gold filter for brewing.

    Hope I can make time tonight for some coffee and a cigar!! Mmmmmmm

  6. Heavy Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    I was telling my smoking buddy today how a nice cup of "Hooch" AKA Cuban Coffee / Cubano Colada would have been great with our afternoon smoke! I like Bustello or Pilon brand and use the stovetop perculator made by Bialetti. It goes great with premium cigars…