Ezra Zion Tantrum Cigar + Coffee Pairing
Ezra Zion is a new boutique cigar made in Nicaragua. TANTRUM is a recent release, limited but fairly available at the time of this post (check your local B&M), which features all Nicaraguan tobaccos in a wonderful Petit Corona vitola (a favorite size of mine). The blend features a Corojo wrapper with 5 – 7 year aged tobaccos in the filler blend. This 44 x 4.44 petit corona is box pressed and full of flavor. Strength is about a medium to medium plus, with flavor being medium plus to full bodied as you smoke. The flavor is a step ahead of the strength throughout the duration of the smoke which is key. It begins with black pepper notes, oak, roasted nuts and a slight taste of cocoa. Then the pepper fades and a sweetness starts to transition in, but then returns to those spice notes. The transitions keep this cigar an interesting smoke and offer a lot of wonderful flavor profiles to keep the palate intrigued.
When I think of cigars this size, and in particular this blend, I think of how it reminds me of how I enjoy my coffee. Just a little in size, but strong and flavorful. An elegant and rich espresso is what naturally comes to mind, and therefor I thought it would be fun to pair the two together.
There are many ways to enjoy a cup of coffee. Depending on where I am and the mood I am in, I will prepare my coffee accordingly. If I am sitting outside of a local coffee shop, I will often entrust my experience to the hands of the barista, especially if they have many unique roasts to choose from. In this instance I will have the espresso on its own, clean and simple, to taste the coffee’s natural complexities. I had one recently that tasted of tart cherries that I think would be fun with a cigar like this.
But most often, I am at home and will prepare what I have with either a Bialetti, a copper pot, or with a french press. I’ll have my espresso on its own, with some sugar, with cardamon, or with a little condensed milk (a pseudo-sua-da if you will). A good cup of coffee, like a cigar, makes me feel relaxed and so I’ll often have this pairing in the afternoon or evening rather than in the morning. I’m one of those strange people who doesn’t wake up with coffee, rather it makes me feel cozy and sleepy, ha. It’s a nice treat end the day.
If you want to get geeky about it, you can certainly purchase freshly roasted coffee beans, grind it just before brewing, watch your temperatures, etc… personally, I’m not there yet. However, I do enjoy the detail and results via my local coffee shop. I am very fortunate to have many great options locally available. The more I learn about coffee the more I relate it to cigars. There’s a connection that makes the pairing all the more interesting and meaningful.
Without the geek factor, you can liven up your daily coffee with how you prepare it. Maybe it’s how you brew it, selecting different freshly roasted beans, maybe it’s adding a little sugar, condensed milk, cardamon, or even some cayenne pepper (thank you Kurt Van Keppel of Xikar for the idea!). Little things can go a long way. Be creative and most of all enjoy the experience.
Start with a cigar you know you love and pairing it with coffee the way you like it prepared. Then, experiment with different styles and see what you like best. It should be relaxing, not work. For some, the art of preparing their coffee is part of the enjoyment. Again, the more I discover about coffee the more drawn I am to the art of it as well as the history and people involved (think cigars).
Are there cigars you like to pair with coffee? How do you like to enjoy your coffee?