Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Coffee and cigars: more in common than you’d think

What’s enjoyed over a few minutes, helps relaxation and is savored by connoisseurs the world over?...
Il Sigaro della Sera
What’s enjoyed over a few minutes, helps relaxation and is savored by connoisseurs the world over? If you answered ‘cigars’, you’d only be half right. The answer could also be ‘coffee’.

Coffee and cigars actually have quite a lot in common. Both are consumed in Italy with passion. Both come from plants predominantly grown in warm climates. And both need careful roasting to bring out a diverse range of rich flavors and are traded the world over. Just like wine and coffee, the taste of a cigar can be influenced by the climate, soil and landscape where its leaves were grown. But it’s the craftsmanship that goes into production that has the biggest effect on flavor.

Here are the key stages that influence both:

Drying - Coffee cherries and tobacco leaves are both dried, with tobacco leaves being ‘cured’, by slowly drying them at a carefully controlled temperature. Once dry, coffee cherries are milled to remove the flesh and reveal the bean.

Aging – While most of today’s coffee is ready to roast as soon as it’s dry, green beans benefit from careful aging. In fact, many Europeans were so used to coffee being aged by the time it reached by boat, it took them some time to adjust to the taste of fresh coffee. Tobacco ‘ages’ during the fermentation process, when the dried leaves release natural chemicals that richen their flavor.

Preparing – Tobacco leaves pick up much of their more subtle flavors during the fermentation process. For coffee beans, it’s roasting that brings out the flavor.

Enjoying – Caffeine and nicotine are both ‘pick-me ups’. Whether they’re an essential part of your day or a special after-dinner treat, their pleasure goes hand in hand and can help you feel more alert and relaxed.

So you see, coffee and cigars have much in common. It should come as no surprise they are often enjoyed together.