Coffee and cigars go as well together as alcohol and cigars, and are arguably even easier to pair. Many cigars contain notes of coffee, which makes this a very natural combination—and for many people, they are two of life’s simple but most delightful pleasures. If you look up recommendations on pairings, you’ll find that a lot of it comes down to your personal tastes, though there are some things to keep in mind as you’re deciding what to try. One nice thing about coffee is that since it isn’t alcoholic, it’s less likely to dampen the flavors of your cigar. Depending on how you serve your coffee, the coffee may have different effects as well, even if you are using the same blend and the same cigar.
For example, do you usually have your coffee with cream and sugar? Some people avoid sugar in their coffee when they have coffee and a cigar, because the sugar can change the way the smoker perceives the flavor of the cigar, which can be a negative for some and a positive for others. Some smokers enjoy the interaction between the sugary flavor of the coffee and the sweetness in their cigars. Others can’t taste the cigar if the coffee is too sweet.
Light coffee like Columbian or Kenyan blends can be paired with pretty much any type of cigar. The light flavors can accompany a lighter cigar very nicely, but a stronger or darker cigar can go equally well with light coffee. If you find that the stronger cigar overwhelms the coffee, though, you may want to stick to lighter stogies. Light coffee and a cigar with a similar strength and flavor profile form a favorite pairing for many aficionados. Many coffee blends from Cuba are also light or medium in body, but Turquino Montanes is a good example of a full-bodied Cuban coffee which calls for a stronger cigar.
If on the other hand you prefer to drink stronger coffee with darker, bolder flavors, you should consider how that could impact your cigar smoking experience. A cigar with light strength and flavors may be overwhelmed by strong, dark coffee, so it’s usually best to pair strong coffees with strong cigars. Many Nicaraguan cigar leaves accompany darker brews quite nicely. While the flavors are relevant to the pairing, the strength is arguably the more important factor. Puerto Rican blends of coffee tend to be very potent, so these blends may go well with Nicaraguan cigars.
So as you can see, there is a lot of room for experimentation with cigar and coffee pairings, and the main thing which you need to keep in mind is balance. This plays out mostly in terms of strength, and pairing flavors that are less likely to overwhelm each other. If you try to pair a very strong cigar with a light coffee, you likely won’t taste the coffee very much. For some people, sweetness from sugar can overwhelm cigars, but some people enjoy a sweet cup of coffee with a sweet cigar.