Are Tobacco Flavours Common?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.

#1: Post by Giuseppe21 »

Hello, I find that when I get a shot to brew darker in appearance I often get a strong tobacco flavour from the Crema. Almost like I'm smoking a cigarette type of flavour. While the colour looks perfect and the crema is abundant, I truly enjoy a lighter coloured shot because I don't get that tobacco flavour when the shot brews lighter in colour. Do you generally get more tobacco type of flavours coming through with darker coloured shots ?, just wondering if this is a common flavour that comes through in espresso. thanks for any replies.

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#2: Post by Chert »

I find tobacco flavors fairly common and enjoy a lingering tobacco aftertaste if it occurs, but I cannot report a particular color or extraction that will give it. I think it has more to do with the blend and roast of the coffee. It is not a flavor I try to reproduce, but I do like it occasionally.
LMWDP #198

Giuseppe21 (original poster)

#3: Post by Giuseppe21 (original poster) »

thanks for the reply, on my machine and my coffee roast it happens very consistently on darker coloured shots, much like the one that is highly regarded on sweet maria's website photograph listing. I get that with higher doses and harder tamps. If I get the shot to brew a slight bit lighter in colour (with lower doses and lower tamping) the tobacco (cigarette smoking) taste is totally absent.

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#4: Post by Marshall »

Yes, I often find (and enjoy) tobacco flavors in espresso. But none matches Jay Caragary's famous "Coffee and a Cigarette" signature drink from the 2006 USBC. Here is a description from the Chicago Reader:
Caragay's routine at last year's USBC in Charlotte paid loving tribute to his former life in Hollywood and his favorite tobacco shop. Titled "Coffee and a Cigarette," it was set to the theme music from Superman and Mortal Kombat. For his signature drink he used heavy cream infused with cigar tobacco to top shots of espresso flavored with vanilla extract; instead of saucers, he served on fire-engine red ashtrays. Throughout his performance he mugged at the audience, wiping sweat from his brow, drawing cheers and whistles while the judges stood stone-faced.

If I recall correctly, Jay infused the cream with upmarket Cohiba tobacco. LaMill Coffee Boutique here in L.A. opened this year with their own version on the menu, but pulled it after some people complained about nicotine effects!
Los Angeles

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Team HB

#5: Post by cannonfodder »

I have had a few that had a nice 'quality cigar' tobacco flavor. I enjoy a good cigar but cannot stand the aroma of a cigarette. The ashy cigarette flavor could be from a bad roast, someone burnt the coffee. I had one that way, the beans had some evidence of tipping and were roasted pretty dark. I was guessing the roaster got too hot before they charged the drum, then roasted too long. Low air flow in the drum may cause a 'smoke' flavor from excess roasting smoke in the drum, or the guy roasting the beans was smoking while he did it.
Dave Stephens

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#6: Post by TimEggers »

I agree with Dave. I too have had that quality tobacco flavor (which I would translate as more a cigar taste rather than a cigarette smoke flavor) and find it quite pleasant as long as its balanced in the overall shot. I like it best mid range to some point in the aftertaste. Now that's class... :wink:
Tim Eggers

LMWDP #202

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#7: Post by GC7 »

I too have on occasion found tobacco flavors (cigar-like) and I seem to associate them more with island coffees (and more specifically Sumatra) then others. If there are associated bright notes to the coffee or blend then I tend to like it as a change of pace on occasion. Otherwise to my tastes tobacco notes are associates with earthy tones only which I do not find pleasant.

Are my experiences similar to any of you?

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#8: Post by malachi »

It's important to differentiate Tobacco from Ashy from Smoky.

Tobacco is a desirable (to most) flavour present in various coffees.
Ashy is a non-desirable flavour that can be either the result of roast issues or (more commonly and perhaps what was described in the first post given the visual description) when the brew temp is too high.
Smoky is a non-desirable (to most) flavour resulting from roast issues.
What's in the cup is what matters.


#9: Post by IMAWriter »

Chris..I'm getting a "slight' tobacco aftertaste with Klatch "Belle" espresso. Not at all unpleasant, though I detest, and am allergic to smoke. It's not in the immediate tasting (which is VERY cocoa-ish), but after a 30 second or so period after...and it lingers a long while. What's interesting is that the longer it lingers, an almost sweetness appears!

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#10: Post by malachi »

Tobacco as in tastes like good cigar or pipe tobacco smells?
Or Tobacco as in ashy or smoky?
What's in the cup is what matters.