By: Jonathan Detore
Who ever thought they’d see an article about tea and cigars? Not me, that’s for sure. But as I have been working in the cigar industry and trying new cigars on a weekly or sometimes daily basis, it was inevitable that one day I would be enjoying a piping hot cup of tea with a cigar at my desk. Thankfully I have always been a big tea drinker, so that day came early on in my career working in the cigar industry. I remember it well; I was drinking a simple cup of Irish Breakfast tea because I was trying to break my nasty habit of morning coffee, and with it was a now discontinued cigar called the Capoeira. Little did I know that this would be one of the best pairings that I have tried.
The rich, earthy matiness of the Irish Breakfast mingled with the creamy, nuttiness of the Capoeira danced and mingled to become a stellar matchup, unlike anything I had experienced. From there, I was off and running to try out as many cigar and tea combos as I could. Of course, I ran into some pretty harsh losers, but through the process, I found combos that truly can’t be beat. So if you’re tired of everyone telling you which whiskey or rum you need to try with a cigar and you’re looking to combine your passions for cigars and tea, then follow these easy suggestions.
Acid Kuba Kuba for Chai Teas
Acid cigars are known for taking the finest natural herbs and spices to infuse into their cigars. Flavors such as cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and a slew of other flavors are ever present throughout any Acid cigar you can get your hands on, making this tasty tie-dye tapestry a perfect choice to pair with many varieties of Chai teas on the market today. Possibly one of my favorite pairings is the classic Acid Kuba Kuba, a massive fan favorite to cigar lovers who love a little extra flavor in their ritualistic smoke, with Harney & Sons Chai. The more subtle flavors of the tea are never overpowered by the cigar, making this a true flavor explosion.
RYJ Montague for Black Teas
The premium Romeo y Julieta Montague cigar is surrounded by a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, making this outstanding creamy, nutty rich cigar a perfect matchup for a wide variety of black teas. In fact, this pairing is extremely similar to my example of the Capoeira and Irish Breakfast, which is probably why I like this combo so much. But with so many strains of darker teas on the market with varying flavor profiles, you may need to search for another bold cigar to match your favorite beverage with.
Mexican San Andres tobacco can have hints of spice and earthy/mineral flavors while the Connecticut Broadleaf has more of a sweeter caramel/molasses note. So while the Romeo y Julieta Montague matches with Irish Breakfast, you may want to consider a Liga Privada No. 9 with something a bit sweeter. It’s all about matching the dominant flavors in both for a home run matchup.
Arturo Fuente Hemingway Best Seller for Floral Teas
Hibiscus, rose petal, and more are perfect for a relaxing afternoon on a warm spring or summer’s day. And with it, I usually try to sneak in an Arturo Fuente Hemingway cigar. Not only is it one of the best regular production cigar in the industry, but its creamy and heavy cedar flavors match most floral tea’s profiles to blend together into a truly enjoyable experience. Cedar and oak fit into the floral flavor category, though admittedly more on the fringe, so if you’re a floral tea lover, your best bet at a great matchup will usually be a cigar that has a cedar sleeve wrapped around it. Some manufacturers like Arturo Fuente use cedar regularly to long age their tobacco in order to inject more of this flavor note into the cigar for a more pronounced experience. Any cigar that uses this method of aging or includes a cedar sleeve in its packaging is a good indicator that it will be your best matchup with your favorite floral tea.
Rocky Patel The Edge Candela for Green Teas
For those who may not know, Candela wrapper leaves are wrappers that still hold their green coloring due to manufacturers picking leaves off the plant before it reaches full maturity and quickly drying them out. The result is an unmistakable grassy and leafy flavor which matches the profile of many green or oolong teas. One of the best cigars I would recommend with your favorite green tea is the Rocky Patel The Edge Candela. It’s somewhat creamy with that signature leafy characteristic that will never overpower your favorite leafy beverage. But really since this mint green wrapper has such an unmistakable flavor profile, you should be good with any true Candela wrapped cigar.
At the end of the day, it all really comes down to personal preference. But with these basic suggestions, you should be on the right track to discover your own premium pairing of cigars and tea. Like any other pairing opportunities such as whiskey, rum, beer, and more, there are nearly endless combinations you can try for yourself, making this feel like a fun science experiment more than anything. So get out there, pick up a few of your favorite teas, and find your perfect pairing today!
Author Biography: Jonathan Detore is craft beer-sipping sports-watching stogie lover, writing every day about anything and everything cigar related as Copywriter for Cigar Advisor Magazine and Famous Smoke Shop. From what you should smoke on the golf course to what pairing goes with your favorite cigar, he’s covered it all and more.
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