The classic pairings for cigars are whiskey, cognac, rum or coffee. But there is one more drink the British like the most — tea.
It is the best choice, if you don’t like coffee, but want to pair your cigar with a hot soft drink. Cigar flavor profiles are much stronger, most of them will dominate this pairing and you will enjoy it to the fullest.
Reasons why cigars and tea pair very well together
There is an opinion that the main reason for such a good pairing is the similar growth process of tobacco and tea. Before becoming our favorite flavorful products, tobacco plants and tea leaves grow in very warm and sunny conditions.
The general pairing rules work with tea as well. If you want to smoke a strong cigar, you should pair it with a darker kind of tea. A lighter tea is the best choice for a milder smoke. There are many variations of tea, which offer a wide range of flavors and intensity. Below you can find different types of tea and some recommendations on how you could pair them with cigars.
During production the tea leaves has to go through the oxidation process, which has a great influence on the strength and flavor of the tea. The high oxidation level makes the tea color darker and the flavor richer. Black tea is a good example, it has notes of raisin and black chocolate. So, the black tea and the strong cigar would make a nice combination together as they both have rich flavor and one won’t be overwhelmed by another.
Black tea and spices are used to create this tea, which generally is served with sugar and milk. These ingredients make the tea flavor complex and interesting. You can pair this tea with strong cigars as there is the black tea inside. Though, the sweetness, milky and spicy flavor give us many other pairing opportunities.
The flavor may differ from one variation to another, it can be light and floral or dark and smoky. Such diversity gives us an opportunity to pair oolong with a wide range of cigars. You should always ask a waiter or take a sip first to make sure which sort of tea flavor you deal with.
Green tea has complex herbal flavor and can be perfectly paired with Claro or Candela-wrapped cigars. Due to the special draining process, the Candela cigars have green color and there are some notes of green tea in its flavor as well. It makes green tea and this kind of cigar the perfect match.
White tea must be the least popular type of tea. It is less processed and as a result has sweet and mild flavor. If you want to smoke a light cigar, choose this tea. Don’t pair it with stronger cigars, because this tea is very soft for them and you won’t really feel its flavor.
Herbal tea also has a huge variety of flavors, which can range from subtle notes of berries and chamomile to the more intensive cinnamon and mint. There is no universal rule of how to match herbal tea with cigars, because one herbal tea may completely differ from another. So, I must say that this is a choice of more experienced smokers as here you should know how to match the strength of the tea with the strength of the cigar.
However, you may pair cigars and herbal tea according to the flavors. For example, you may match fruit or berry tea with a cigar which has fruity notes, while cinnamon tea can be wonderfully paired with a cigar which has woody, spicy or smoked notes.
This is my favorite type of tea and I usually pair it with a Dominican or Cuban cigar, Gran Corona or Toro.
This tea has a musty, earthy flavor. Some variations may have a more smoky note. This tea is just perfect for a strong cigar, they will bring the best in each other. Pu’ehr is great for your digestion, especially with some oily meals.
Rooibos is very different from all other kinds of tea. It is a red tea with a sweet profile, high in antioxidants and caffeine free. You also can find some sweeter or more earthy green versions of rooibos. This tea will pair particularly well with an aromatic cigar.
Always remember that your choice must depend on the body or strength of a cigar you want to enjoy. The tea and the cigar intensity should match each other, otherwise one might overpower the other. One more thing you need to consider is the cigar flavor. Your drink may compliment a cigar flavor. A good pairing will enhance different flavors and notes in both the tea and the cigar. Experiment, try different combinations and you will find your personal perfect pairings for sure.
Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur and investor based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the CEO of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) Approved Person and is has great experience as director of regulated companies. He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their life. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.