Cigar Advisor Executive Editor Gary Korb steps outside for this Montecristo Espada Oscuro cigar review – he’s #nowsmoking the Ricasso, and gives you all the details on this follow-up to the original 2014 Espada. Click here for more…
CA Report: Best Coffee-Infused Cigars
Best Coffee-Infused Cigars: Good to the Last Puff
By Gary Korb
Americans sure love their coffee. Based on a 9oz. cup average, American coffee drinkers consume 3.1 cups of coffee per day, according to a study by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. That’s around 1,131 cups a year, per person. Yet, here’s something you won’t find in the Harvard study. Reportedly, coffee is the favorite drink among cigar smokers, and among them is a segment with a penchant for smoking coffee-infused cigars.
Speaking as a cigar smoker, aroma is a big factor for me. There’s nothing like the aroma of a good coffee-infused cigar for relaxing with, especially when I want a break from my traditionally-blended smokes.
And I’m not alone. There are a lot of “traditional” premium cigar smokers who partake of the occasional coffee-infused cigar. I’m talking about premium handrolled infused blends that are primarily aromatic, not machine-made cigars that are flavored with some coffee-like concoction. BIG difference.
When I started working in the cigar business there were few, if any, premium-quality coffee-infused cigars on the market. Today, you’ll find them almost as numerous as the varieties of coffee.
What follows is a roadmap for cigar smokers interested in premium-grade, coffee-infused cigars with rich tobacco flavor. Since every cigar smoker has their own personal taste preferences, rather than highlighting specific shapes and sizes as we’ve done in past CA Reports, I decided to spotlight six of the best coffee-infused cigar brands that are currently available. Even if you’re a die-hard traditionalist, some of these cigars may just happen to pique your interest.
JAVA by Drew Estate Cigars
Drew Estate Cigars built their monumental brand on infused tobacco blends starting with ACID cigars. The original JAVA cigars were released in 2004 as a cooperative project between Rocky Patel and Drew Estate under the name “Rocky Patel JAVA by Drew Estate.” One of the first premium-quality, coffee-infused cigars at the time, it took-off like a rocket and continues to be a perennial bestseller. (Although the company has never revealed its infusion process, just about every coffee-infused cigar brand that followed was based on the Drew Estate model.) All JAVA cigars have sweetened caps and are sharply box-pressed with a well-balanced blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers and Brazilian Mata Fina wrappers, offering a sweet-tasting, mild to medium-bodied smoke with a modicum of earthy Nicaraguan spice and an inviting mocha-java aroma.
In the wake of JAVA’s success, JAVA Latte cigars followed for smokers who wanted a coffee-infused cigar that was equally aromatic, but lighter in flavor. The Nicaraguan core blend is basically the same as the original but with milder Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrappers. The smoke is mellow, delicately spicy, well-balanced and ultra-creamy with a honeyed mocha fragrance.
When I first heard that they were releasing JAVA Mint cigars I thought, WHAAA?, but they’re impressively tasty, like a spoonful of mint-chocolate chip ice cream. The medium-bodied Nicaraguan fillers are capped with naturally-sweet Brazilian maduro wrappers offering a more complex smoke that brims with a chocolate mint and mocha aroma.
Nub Café Cigars
Nub Café cigars come by way of Oliva Cigars in Nicaragua, offering a rich coffee aroma and flavor in a stubby, medium to full-bodied collection that mirrors the shapes of the traditionally-blended Oliva Nub cigars. If you’re a Nub fan looking for something completely different to pair with your coffee, or even a dark rum, check out the following three handmade selections blended with Dominican tobaccos rolled in Ecuadorian Connecticut and Sumatra wrappers.
Nub Café Cappuccino
Nub Café Espresso
This line is rolled in a dark Sumatra wrapper which adds a nip of spice to this richer-tasting blend. The smoke is very smooth with notes of coffee bean, cocoa, and sweet tobacco with an inviting mocha-java aroma.
Nub Café Macchiato
Tabak Especial Cigars
Made by Drew Estate, this coffee-infused cigar line is aimed at the avid coffee connoisseur, and it doesn’t cut corners, either.
“Tabak Especial is a really special cigar that I worked on for over five years,” says Drew Estate co-founder, Jonathan Drew. “Using the very finest Nicaraguan tobaccos and Nicaragua estate grown coffee, Tabak Especial is truly a work of art that will appeal to even the most die-hard traditionalist.”
Handcrafted in two selections, “light roast” Tabak Especial Dulce is rolled in a sweet-capped Connecticut Shade wrapper, while “dark roast” Tabak Especial Maduro Negra is rolled in a dark, toothy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The core tobaccos are Nicaraguan Criollo bound in a spicy Sumatra leaf, giving these medium to full-bodied cigars an earthy Nicaraguan flavor profile that goes the distance with a genuine espresso aroma.
Maroma Café Cigars
If you’re looking for a coffee-infused cigar at a more budget-friendly price, say hello to Maroma Café cigars. Handmade in Honduras by Plasencia, this selection offers a mild, mixed-filler, Cuban sandwich tobacco core.
Rolled in Honduran-grown Connecticut-seed wrappers with sweetened caps, the Maroma Café Breve shapes issue a mild smoke with a cappuccino-like aroma. The cigar has mostly light tobacco flavor, but if you pair it with a mug of your favorite morning coffee, it can be quite satisfying.
The Maroma Café Espresso shapes are rolled in Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrappers, also with sweetened caps. The smoke is also mild in body with a slightly richer tobacco flavor, accompanied by a dark roasted coffee aroma.
If you’re looking for a low-cost “first cigar of the day” with a very mild flavor, Maroma Café should prove very satisfying.
Tatiana Coffee Break Cigars (Cortado & Café Con Leche)
In 2015, Miami Cigar & Co. added the Coffee Break line to their popular Tatiana flavored cigars collection. Released in three blends, Tatiana Coffee Break Cortado, Café Con Leche, and Corretto, for this report I decided to go only with the Cortado and Con Leche selections. These coffee-infused cigars offer exceptional handmade quality and have a mild, all-Dominican tobacco blend.
The Tatiana Café Con Leche shapes were created to taste more like a rich, smooth morning cup of coffee. Imagine a cup of coffee made with equal parts bold Cuban espresso and milk; add the savory coffee aroma, a note of vanilla on the finish, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of where this cigar is coming from.
Isla Del Sol
Drew Estate strikes again with another coffee-infused cigar, this time using a handcrafted blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos infused with exotic Sumatra Mandheling bean coffee rolled in sun-grown Sumatra wrappers. Donned with a sweetened tip, the smoke is smooth, mild and brimming with a delectable, attention-getting coffee aroma.
Another appealing aspect of Isla Del Sol cigars is their affordable price. If you’re just getting into smoking coffee-infused cigars, Isla Del Sol is an excellent place to start. Think of it as the “gateway cigar” to coffee-infused blends.
And finally: How about some coffee to go with your coffee-infused or traditional cigars, for that matter?
Arturo Fuente Café Cubano Classico K-Cups
Arturo Fuente Café Cubano K-Cups are the perfect complement to a fine, coffee-infused cigar – or any cigar for that matter. Made with the same premium quality as their famous cigars, Arturo Fuente Café Cubano Classico offers a smooth, rich-tasting brew that balances beautifully with your cigar of choice, morning, noon, and night.