If you’re anything like us, the first thing you think about when you wake up is a cup of coffee. And the second thing is a fine cigar. Many of us downright refuse to face the world and start their day without revving up our engines with at least a cup (likely two) of the most delicious of caffeinated beverages.
The cigar industry is no different. Walk into any cigar shop or lounge and you’re likely to find coffee-based drinks. Whether you prefer a French press coffee to espresso, a latte over a cappuccino, or robusta over Arabica, if you enjoy cigars you probably also love drinking coffee.
Statistics show that around 65 percent of Americans prefer to consume their coffee during breakfast hours—a fine time to light up that first cigar of the day. With that in mind, we wanted to offer a list of awesome smokes that, while flavorful, won’t make your head spin. After all, the idea is to perk you up, not knock you out.
This follow-up brand to the much lauded Oliva Serie V line is as unique as the original. Blended around a core of aged Nicaraguan filler and binder tobaccos, Oliva Serie V Melanio is covered by a Sumatra-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador. There are six sizes in the line, and while you can’t go wrong with the Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado, which was named Cigar of the Year in 2014, it’s the Robusto’s silky sweetness and hints of toast that make it a perfect partner for a cup of coffee, ideally one brewed from Sumatra beans.
The 1964 Anniversary line from Padrón strikes a perfect balance for that first cigar of the day. The smokes are consistently medium in body— stronger than the core Padrón line but not as amped up as the 1926—making this a blend for those seeking big flavor without too much strength. The Exclusivo is one of the best of the line, with that traditional full, lush Padrón draw. The 5 1/2 inch by 50 ring smoke—box pressed, of course—is a fine partner for your morning cup.
Just when you think Carlos Fuente Jr. has come up with every blend imaginable, he surprises you. In the case of the Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum line, he was looking for a cigar to make with some aged Ecuador wrapper leaves grown in the middle portion of a tobacco plant. The result is a balanced, elegant and sweet line of Dominican smokes that have done very well in our blind tastings. The Vitola “Forty-Four” isn’t named for its ring gauge (it actually clocks in at 47), but rather the unusual number of cigars that come in a box. With its endearing notes of sweet spices, nuts and maple and relatively small size, it’s just what you need in a morning cigar.
Rolled with an elegant Connecticut-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador, this attractive smoke appears as if it will be a bit too mild for a cup of coffee. Don’t judge a cigar by its cover, though, as the Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos combine with a Nicaraguan binder to give this cigar just enough kick for even the strongest of javas. At once creamy and floral, the cigar picks up as the midpoint to offer graham cracker and earth notes. At 5 1/2 inches by 44 ring gauge, this corona takes about the same amount of time to smoke as it does to finish sipping a nicely brewed venti.
If you’re a fan of coffees that impart nuanced fruit flavors, then you’ll love the New World Connecticut from Nicaraguan cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez. Featuring a Connecticut shade wrapper from the United States that is grown under mesh netting to filter the rays of the sun, the mild- to medium-bodied New World Connecticut Robusto is light enough for the most delicate of roasts. Moreover, the cigar starts off fruity before taking on a delicate combination of cedar, leather and lemon peel.
While the name of this smoke will tempt you to pair it with a fine wine (“négociant” is the French term for a wine merchant who assembles the produce of smaller growers and winemakers to sell under its own name), its mild- to medium-body also makes it perfect for coffee. Topped with an Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper, this smoke from Pete Johnson is toasty and nutty, with hints of spice and a lovely orange peel finish.
Given its name, you’d be forgiven if you thought Magic Toast tasted like, well, toast. Bread wasn’t the inspiration for such a quirky name, but rather a night in a tobacco field that spurred brand owner Alan Rubin’s imagination. The blend is heavy on Honduran tobaccos, save for some Nicaraguan leaves in the filler and binder, giving Magic Toast a tasty combination of vanilla, oak and spice that nicely complement an espresso or other coffee-based drinks.
Fans of master cigarmaker José “Don Pepin” Garcia, patriarch of My Father Cigars, commonly refer to this line as Don Pepin “Blue Label.” When the brand debuted in 2003, it wore an Ecuadoran wrapper. Now, though, it’s covered in a Nicaraguan Corojo Oscuro wrapper that enrobes an all-Nicaraguan bunch of tobaccos grown by the Garcia family on their farms. Its classic 5 inch by 50 ring gauge robusto dimensions and notes of bright toast and rich cocoa sweetness make it ideal for coffee.
Warped Cigars owner Kyle Gellis considers this cigar to be his most traditional “Cuban style” blend. Rolled at the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami, La Colmena (“the beehive” in Spanish) certainly resembles a Cuban smoke with its triple-seam cap and covered foot. Its rich qualities of cashews, cedar and German chocolate cake and traditional corona dimensions (5 1/2 inches by 44 ring gauge) make it the perfect partner for espresso.
Firing up a big Monte No. 2 first thing in the morning might seem like overkill. But how about a truncated version of Cuba’s most famous pirámide? The Montecristo Petit No. 2 is a mere 4 3/4 inches long, with a plump 52 ring gauge. The smoke has been a model of consistency in its latest blind tastings, scoring 91 points on both occasions. It has a solid medium body, with sweet graham cracker and toast, and a finish smacking of honey that almost begs for a cup of coffee.