Filter Coffees & Short Smokes
When two creations of passion, craft, quality and beauty come together, it’s often an experience in which one has to completely immerse themself in. It’s watching the El Clásico with Cristiano and Messi going head to head. It’s being mesmerised by Gene Kelly sharing a stage with Fred Astaire. It’s drinking a negroni with a Florentine steak after a long day at Pitti Uomo. Or, in our case, it’s enjoying a filter coffee with a beautiful cigar.
Here in London, we’ve been subjected to lockdowns for almost a year. At the beginning, we were able to frequent our local coffee shop to kickstart our mornings, but as restrictions increased, we were forced to work and play within the confinements of our homes. This provided an opportunity for me to work on my at-home brew. I haven’t had the pleasure of investing in an espresso machine, but there’s a lot that you can achieve with a V60, filters and good quality beans. As many businesses were forced to close their bricks and mortar, most ramped up their online shops and, being someone who is borderline obsessed with having a perfect morning cup, I purchased beans from a variety of my favourite brands. My palette veers towards the light, fruitier side of things — El Salvador, Colombia, Panama, with the odd foray into Rwanda and Tamil Nadu, India. It packs enough flavour, without getting any of that earthy mouthfeel.
In a world where we were able to meet people outside of our households, one thing I really started to enjoy was having an espresso or two with a short, medium-bodied cigar. The pairing was heavenly, whether it was a cold winter morning or a warm summer’s afternoon. Stripping myself of the rich espresso, company and weather, I was curious to see whether it could be possible to emulate the experience at home. And readers, I can say for certain, it is absolutely possible, especially if you start off with these three killer combinations.
Ozone x Cohiba Siglo I
Ozone Coffee on Leonard Street, East London, has been one of my favourite coffee shops since I moved to the city over six years ago. I’ve never been able to fault a thing: their various methods of coffee brewing, the food, the ambiance, the interior design. It’s all perfect. If I ever had a coffee shop, it would look and feel like this. One of their roasts was so good that we would end up ordering the 1KG bag, solely because we’d get through it so quickly. El Yalcon is a fully-washed Colombian roast with notes of chocolate and lemon sherbert. It’s a sure-fire hit when paired with a Cohiba Siglo I. The sharper notes of the coffee contrast wonderfully with the earthier, fuller-bodied notes of cedar and leather aroma from the cigar. Keep in mind, the cigars mentioned here are all paired not only for flavour, but their shorter smoke time which mirrors a quality cup of black coffee.
Blossom x Montecristo No. 5
I’m quite new to Blossom, who were introduced to me by Jon, one of the baristas at The Service on Savile Row, London. He highlighted Blossom and the waves they’re making in the sustainability field. Plus, if beans are recommended to you by a barista, chances are they’re going to be pretty good. Blossom have duly delivered with their Peruvian La Danta — extremely bright and juicy with notes of strawberry, honey and orange. What’s not to love? The short Montecristo No. 5 equally packs a bit of a punch for something so small in stature — one of the smallest Cubans from Montecristo, in fact. The medium-bodied smoke is considered an aperitif, and works well alongside a cup of La Danta.
The Gentlemen Baristas x Bolivar Petit Corona
Last but certainly not least, the league of extraordinary gentlemen unite in a collaboration between the Baristas and Bolívar. Both pack an absolute punch so if you go for this, prepare yourself for an intense cacophony of flavour. The Gentlemen Barista’s Propeller is a washed single origin from Huehuetenango in Guatemala with notes of tropical fruits, and is enjoyed best as a pour over. This, alongside the full-bodied Bolivar Petit Corona with its nuts, spice and everything nice, and you’re pretty much set.