While cigars are most commonly paired with all sorts of liquors, smoking one with your morning cup of joe is severely underrated. Coffee provides a flavor-rich background for cigars which and as both share similar processing stages of their development, they are a common combination in the cigar world. Finding the best tasting cigars to pair with your coffee, however, takes time and experience.
In this pairing guide, we will take a look at the different types of coffee out there that can be paired with cigars. I will also give you my 12 carefully selected cigars that mix perfectly with various coffees thanks to their versatility and complex characteristics.
If you’re interested in finding a good cutter for your cigar, make sure you check my full Buyer’s Guide on the topic! Now, let’s start by answering the most important questions here…
Why Cigars and Coffee?
As I already mentioned, cigars and coffee beans have a lot more in common than one might think. They are both produced in similar geographical regions that have similar climate conditions. Moreover, the processing that both go through (harvesting, fermenting, and blending) are also quite alike. Just like with coffee roasting, tobacco fermentation is also a process that has thermal degradation in its core.
Thanks to all of their touching points as well as the fact that they were both introduced to the modern world around the same time, the alluring aromas of both coffee and tobacco leaves have been engraved in our consciousness over the centuries. Interestingly enough, many perfume companies often use chemicals found in both to produce different male fragrances. And even though there are cigar loves that detest the scent of coffee and vice versa, the link between those two can’t be argued.
Know Your Coffee
Before we talk about which specific cigars or cigar types go well with certain coffees, let’s discuss the other side of the coin. Learning which coffees go well with which cigars and what are the most common types of coffees paired with cigars is going to make things much easier for you. Here are some of the top coffees you can mix with a cigar:
- Black coffee
- Ice coffee
- Flat white
Almost all coffee lovers enjoy an occasional espresso shot. It is strong and it often requires an equally potent cigar to go with. Rich and bold full-bodied cigars pair excellently with espressos. Add a hint of sweetness to the cigar and you have yourself a winning combination of flavors.
Pro tip: If you’re using a strong dark blend of coffee for your cigar, make sure that the cigar is equally strong otherwise its flavor will get lost amidst the strong notes of the dark roast.
Mocha coffee is a cocoa-flavored drink made out of Mocha Caffe and it pairs nicely with mild and medium-bodied cigars like the Padron Anniversary Maduro. It is a fairly sweet cigar that has a complex blend that will go nicely with the earthy and chocolatey flavors of the coffee.
Black coffee is American’s favorite coffee for a ton of reasons. It can be made out of a lot of coffee bean types and can, therefore, compliment most types of cigars out there. The Nub Connecticut with its Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper offers a relaxing experience that can be perfectly married to a nice cup of black coffee.
A cigar that goes hand-in-hand with black coffee is the Partagas Lusitanias thanks to its medium nature. It has sweet floral notes that will let most black coffees shine through.
Lattes, cappuccinos, and ice coffees aren’t used with cigars as often as the first few coffees we went through. However, some people still enjoy specific combinations. For instance, the original Montecristo No.2 is almost synonymous with latte and cigar pairings. The creamy and rich flavor of the coffee is perfectly equalized by the silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper which has a few coffee-like flavors of its own. The earthy flavor of that cigar works perfectly when paired with lattes and cappuccinos, as well as flat whites.
Cappuccinos pair well with mild cigars and are often drowned with medium and full-bodied cigars. The Oliva Serie V has the necessary smoothness and spicy flavor in order to go well with the milky and smooth flavor of a good cup of cappuccino.
Iced coffee can be made with a variety of coffee blends. If you are set on smoking a cigar with a cup of iced coffee, make sure you match the intensity of the ground coffee with the boldness of the cigar flavors and its strength.
Almost all flat whites go well with a Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill thanks to its medium strength and smooth draw that compliment even the mildest flat whites.
Click here if you want to learn more about humidors and check out some of the best models for this year!
Top Cigars and Coffee Pairings
When it comes to pairing the cigar with another beverage, we need to first divide them into categories. In terms of their body and flavor, cigars can be divided into three particular groups. These are:
- Mild cigars
- Medium cigars
- Full-bodied cigars
Mild cigars like the Macanudo Cafe have always been one of the top choices for a beginner’s cigar. They are the definition of mild and have a rich creamy smoke that doesn’t tend to stick around in the mouth too much. That makes them ideal to pair with light-to-medium roast coffees like Light Blonde. Other cigars like the Arturo Fuente (Chateau Series) or Montecristo (the original) are also a great match for a light roast. They both have a complex, woody, and a little nutty flavor to them and are well-priced considering they are premium cigars.
Thanks to its Cameroon wrapper, the Arturo Fuente Short Story is an amazing example of a medium-bodied cigar. Thanks to the all-around nature of its flavors, it blends perfectly with coffees that won’t overpower it. Medium-roast coffees (and even some weaker dark roasts) are an excellent pair for that. Some great examples for medium roasts are Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling Coffee Beans, Kicking Horse’s “Three Sisters”, Caribou Coffee “Caribou Blend”, and more.
Full-bodied cigars go well with both medium and dark roast coffees. Still, you have to make sure that your cigar doesn’t pack a stronger mix of flavors than your coffee otherwise you risk overpowering the latter. A good cigar that works well with both medium and dark roasts is the Ashton Symmetry. It is a well-refined strong cigar with a Habano Rosado wrapper. It goes well with richer blends of coffees thanks to its specific coffee bean flavor, as well as its hints of cinnamon and cedar. The Padron 1964 Anniversary Series is another excellent choice to mix with your dark roast.
Remember, you need to learn about which cigars are mild, medium, or full-bodied because that will allow you to mix them appropriately to the right coffee blend. Mix a strong cigar with a weak coffee, and you will drown the coffee. Mix a dark blend coffee with its rich and bold character with a mild cigar and you will completely overpower the cigar’s flavors, no matter how premium the cigar is.
Individual Cigar Considerations
Now, let’s take a look at specific individual cigars and see what kind of coffee can you pair with them. The ones we will take a look are:
- Davidoff Millennium
- Nub Sumatra
- Montecristo White Series
- Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R Vitola
- Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto
The Davidoff Millennium is one of the most famous cigars out there. It uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and is assembled in the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the iron-rich soil it came from, it has an interesting profile that has a caramel note which remains bold at the same time. What’s even better about this cigar is that it fits most coffee types out there. Still, I recommend trying it with a good cup of cappuccino or any other espresso, black coffee, or iced coffee made out of medium-roast coffee beans.
Coffee and Nub cigars go hand in hand. Whether you have a Connecticut or a Sumatra, you are definitely on the right track. The Sumatra shares the same wrapper with the Olivia Serie V Melanio but is quite a bit cheaper, making it an ideal choice for your morning routine.
Unlike the creamy profile of the Connecticut, the Sumatra has a more creamy and nutty flavor. This makes it a good pair option for stronger coffees with bolder flavors.
Montecristo White Series
This Ecuadorian cigar with a Connecticut wrapper appears as if it will be a good combination for mild coffees only. Still, its filler allows it to become a great companion even for the strongest coffees out there. It has a ton of floral notes with a creamy flavor that will supplement well a cup of strong espresso.
Arturo Fuente Rosado
Made with aged Ecuadorian wrapper leaves, the balanced Rosado brings a myriad of sweet and creamy flavors that can bind well with cappuccinos, mocha coffee, and lattes.
Oliva Serie V Melanio Robusto
The Melanio comes after the famous Oliva Serie V line with a Nicaraguan filler and binder. The Sumatra wrapper makes it similar to the Nub Sumatra but this has an even silkier and sweet hint to it making it a perfect pair for milder and medium roast coffees.
A Few Extra Tips
While certain combinations work better than others, there are still a few tips you can use to your favor in order to make your morning routine even more memorable.
For starters, always ensure that your coffee’s temperature isn’t too hot when being served. High temperatures hinder the coffee’s antioxidant properties. It will also get in the way of your taste buds as high temperatures make them numb. Some cigars have a sweetish taste and can tolerate adding a bit of sugar into your coffee. On the other hand, there are cigars that will be drowned by a sweeter coffee and it won’t allow for the earthy flavors to pop.
Another thing you can use to your advantage is a little bit of geographical knowledge. For example, Cuban coffee blends tend to have earthy flavors that often have a note of caramel to them. Blends like some Kenyan ones, on the other hand, can almost feel fruity in comparison. Puerto Rican coffee, in turn, will be smoother than both and will have a chocolate flavor to it. Expanding your knowledge of different blends and their origin (soil type) will help you match them better to your cigars. At the same time, you should always keep the roast of the coffee in mind. Light roasts will be rich in caffeine and have a higher acidity compared to medium and dark roasts which are richer and much bolder. As I pointed out earlier, the goal of the pairing is to not allow either of the two to overpower the other.
Cigars also go well with different foods. That’s why I’ve dedicated a whole other article that dives deeper into that topic and gives you some of the best combinations out there. Click here to learn more!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you generally pair a cigar with any drink?
The rule of thumb when pairing any type of cigar with any drink is to keep their intensity levels close to one another. You don’t smoke a cigar that is higher in intensity than your drink as you would risk the cigar overpowering it. For instance, full-bodied cigars go exceptionally well with a stronger type of liquid such as a glass of whiskey.
What liquor goes well with cigars?
As I just said, liquors that are too harsh risk overpowering your cigar. That being said, drinking gins, vodkas, and other strong spirits won’t go well with most of the cigars out there. On the other hand, rum, tequila, and whiskey are perfect pairing options for almost any cigar!
To learn more about different cigar and liquor pairings, check out my full article on the topic by clicking here.
What non-alcoholic drinks go well with a cigar besides coffee?
While coffee is a truly unique combination for your morning cigar, there are quite a lot of other drinks that mix their flavors well with a cigar. Some of the most commonly used ones are ginger ale, root beer, different types of tea, some juices like orange juice, or even sodas like Pepsi and mountain dew!
What can you pair with Montecristo cigars?
As these cigars are rather smooth, you shouldn’t go too overboard with the alcohol or non-alcoholic beverage you pair them with. Beer is an excellent choice as it gives the sweet flavors of the Montecristo cigar plenty of room to shine. Some sweet merlot wines are also a solid choice for these cigars.
In conclusion, some of the best-tasting cigars to pair with your coffee depend on the coffee itself. For light roasts like Light Blonde, you can choose cigars like the Arturo Fuente or Macanudo Cafe. For people that want a medium-bodied cigar, a medium-dark roasted coffee like the Volcanica Sumatra is an ideal choice. Lastly, for strong (or full-bodied) cigars, you would want a dark or maybe a medium roast coffee. A good example of that is the Koa Coffee Estate.