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Tea and cigars may be one of the most uncommon pairings out there. Tea is known as one of the oldest and most delicate drinks while the cigars tend to be associated with cramped poker clubs. Being a purely subjective experience, cigar and tea combinations have to be discovered over time and through experience. There are some guidelines that can help you choose the perfect combination for a 5 o’clock delight. We listed some tips and tricks to help you begin:
Green, white or black?
These three main types of teas are basically made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but the whole production process is different. The harvesting, drying and the overall serving tend to make a great difference between these types of tea, especially concerning tea and cigar pairings.
White teas are the youngest and the most delicate of them all. This tea is made from the youngest batches of leaves. The best match for this tea is a Claro cigar. These cigars are the lightest and most delicate because the aging process is very short, which may be apparent in the light color of the wrapper. The main advantage in this pair is that both the cigar and the tea are very mild and they will manage to complement the aromas.
Green tea can be easily combined with many types of cigars. It has a rather bitter taste that can go with a very wide range of cigars, from light to full-bodied and from Claro to Maduro cigars. The range of bitterness can be tackled through the infusion time thus making it very versatile when it comes to tea and cigar pairing. But overall, a connoisseur cigar pairing for green tea is Montecristo No. 4. This particular medium to full-body cigar reveals vanilla flavors that can easily go with a bitter green tea.
Black tea is the strongest and the one that has the most personality. It has a very deep flavor that can pose a problem when it comes to pairings. The best match for this burst of flavor is a cigar that can battle this strength. A full-bodied cigar is an ultimate match for this type of tea and even a Maduro or a Colorado cigar can go very well because the bitterness of the cigar and the undertones can go perfectly with this particular type of tea.
Flower Teas and Light-bodied Cigars
Flower teas tend to have a very mild aroma and a subtle taste. A very good match is a light-bodied cigar because the aromas can go very well together, even if the cigar has a specific aroma. For example, a spicy cigar that is light-bodied can be the perfect match for a mint tea because the aromas will take your tasting experience to the next level.
Spice Teas and Full-bodied Cigars
Spice teas tend to be full of personality and they display bursts of flavor. From pepper, cinnamon or licorice teas, they require a partner that has the same personality. A full-bodied or medium-bodied cigar can be a delicious match if it presents bursts of aroma like pepper, earth or even leather.
Iced or Hot?
Pairing is a delicate balancing act. One aroma may dominate the other, so temperature plays an important role. Teas can be found in two major temperatures: very cold or very hot. Iced teas can be combined with all types of cigars as long as the tea has a powerful aroma. Hot tea can also go very well with many cigars but in general, it is better paired with a balanced cigar like a Hoyo de Monterrey.
Tea and cigar pairing is a true art that falls under the subjectivity of all of us and we hope that these points will help you on this taste journey.
For further reading on tea and cigar pairing, check out these articles: