Preparation is everything in a quality product. Just remember that.

I brewed this batch in my usual at-home method - in a 12 cup Rival dripper with 12 tablespoons of fresh ground medium-fine grounds (my poor Lutheran churchgoers would have a heart attack). Grinding put a great sweet aroma in the air, similar to the aroma of walking into a good non-Starbucks coffee shop (Biggby's coffee shops smell like this).

Since this was designed to be paired with a cigar, I paired it with a nice, non-threatening Connecticut from the Nestor Miranda collection, and it was a most excellent pairing.  The cigar had a great Conny barnyard/hay and bready sweet aroma on the wrapper and similar sweetness on the cold draw.  The coffee had a pleasant slightly citrus acidity with a subtle dessert-like sweetness on the finish that I've only ever tasted in good Nicaraguan beans.  The cigar also smoked subtly sweet with a surprising spice through the retro, with flavors that built from a mild to a good medium as I went on.

The pairing was excellent, in that neither the coffee nor the cigar overpowered or even overshadowed the other. They played off each other so I got great notes off of both, which made for an excellent morning.

I went back to this coffee a second time, back at work, with not-fresh ground beans in my desktop 5-cup dripper.  The ratio of beans and water was about the same, but the results just weren't as good.  It was fine, but it lost a lot of those nuances that made it stand out on Saturday.

The coffee did everything it was supposed to - tasted great, paired wonderfully with the cigar, smelled fantastic. Just remember, use fresh ground coffee (this is true for pretty much any and all coffee).  At some point, I would love to try this again in a more patient brew method, such as a French Press or pour-over, to see what those methods might bring out.

The Cigar Blend Dark Roast will be next.

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