It’s easy to appreciate a good origin story, but what about one that has two beginnings? Two growing brands from two separate industries really enjoyed each other’s work, so they began collaborating. It really can be as easy as that to combine forces for a common goal. As a result of their shared vision, Black Star Line Cigars and Ethnos Coffee Roasters released the first public run of War Witch Coffee. Launched in March 2021, the beans for this line are specifically selected and precisely roasted to pair perfectly with Black Star Line’s popular War Witch cigar. The coffee is a light roast Ethiopia Guji Uraga that is said to offer notes of key lime pie and lemon squares. The brands also say that this coffee is naturally sweet and chocolatey with a smooth citrus that sits on the tongue.
If you have yet to try to coffee, the cigar, or even both, it is recommended that you try them on their own prior to pairing. The Connecticut War Witch Robusto had been sold out for a number of years before making its return in June of this year, and is a great format to start with. While it is by no means prerequisite to having an enjoyable and educational experience, testing them each on separate occasions can provide a great baseline for when one pairs. While that level of depth is not how everyone approaches tasting suggested pairings, it can absolutely enhance one’s experience knowing which flavors and aromas are coming from which source. Greater education often leads to greater appreciation.
Black Star Lines was spoken into existence in a garage. Adetola “Aric” Wimberly-Bey is a Chicago firefighter who has carved his own path in an industry that can be very set in its ways. Aric Bey was like any one of us, a really enthusiastic fan of cigars with a deep appreciation for the entire process. Eager to learn whatever he could, he began attending cigar events. His authentic excitement and clear desire to get into the weeds didn’t go unnoticed and Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate would take him under his wing. After a solid year of Aric calling and sending flowers to the famed El Titan de Bronze, the dream he’d worked so hard for became real and he was invited to be a part of El Titan’s close family of collaborators. Today, Black Star Lines is distributed by Illusione, also works with Aganorsa Leaf, and just partnered with Impact Force to have the agency handle sales in 23 states.
Ethnos is a family-owned specialty coffee roaster in Memphis, Tennessee that operates by a simple but powerful system – Collaboration Over Competition. In 2018, Kenny Baker started the company with $100 and a small machine intended for home use. With that $100, he bought unroasted coffee beans, blank bags, and basic labels. Just over 4 years later, Ethnos has grown into multiple regular production lines and sought-after limited edition releases available through an ever expanding list of wholesale partners and online customers. “We have a great vision here at Ethnos. We value people, quality, and collaboration,” shares Baker. He continues, “I want small local businesses to succeed because I know behind that business is a family or individual who is passion about their work and their family. They just want to provide and enjoy themselves in their work.”
This really drives home how significant the collaboration with Black Star Line is because cigars are built on family-owned business and it’s not easy to get those outside the industry to recognize that. It’s easy to support business who support each other and the communities that enable their success, hopefully this is one in a long line of such collaborations we can look forward to across the cigar world.
The War Witch Coffee is available directly from Black Star Line and Ethnos. Black Star Line cigars are available here and directly from their own site, which also has a full list of all of their retail partners.
Have you had the War Witch or Dark War Witch Cigar? Have you experienced the War Witch Coffee yet? How do you brew (Cold, French Press, Pour Over, etc…)? Have a favorite coffee/cigar pairing? Let everyone know in the comments below!