Box Press Podcast

How Herf Groups Are Putting the Boom Back in Cigars | Box Press Ep. 04

Wanna grab a smoke? If you have friends you can text to join you for a cigar at the fire pit, good for you. If not, local cigar lovers are finding each other via Facebook then creating cigar affinity groups called herfs. Fabian Fredrick and Joe Guzman founded the Minnesota Herf Connection (MHC). Now Box Press host Rob Gagner is a member. Don’t have a herf in your town? Create one. Watch how.

Light one up while you’re watching Box Press Episode 4 and you’ll be herfing, too. Learn:

  • How to herf, Minnesota-style
  • How to attract members to your herf
  • What’s the best plastic storage container for cigars

Cigars are best served with other cigar lovers

We all know it. Social media can never take the place of face-to-face social connections. But virtual connections can be a springboard to in-person interactions that attract other live persons. So that virtual cigar group can go from real to all the rage.

Cigar enthusiasts, Fabian Fredrick and Joe Guzman worked within miles of each other and never knew the other existed. Instead of sending up smoke signals, they connected via a cigar forum. Then they formed the Minnesota Herf Connection (MHC) Facebook group, which met at local cigar lounges. Once other local cigar lovers discovered MHC, the group caught on. Currently, there are more than 550 members.

“I love walking into a room full of strangers and leaving with a room full of friends,” Joe said.

What’s a cigar herf?

A herf is a gathering of cigar smokers. Herfing is when two or more people get together to smoke cigars.

How did herf get its name?

There are as many herf origin stories as there are cigar blends. (Rob shared one urban legend about Herf Albert, which is a riff on Herb Alpert, jazz legend, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and founder of A&M Records. Obviously false. Herf Albert? Please.) Most likely “herfing” was coined in a cigar forum by some guy with a hook for a hand who recently escaped from a maximum security prison and later had his kidney removed by a gal he met the night before. (You know how urban legends go.)

Why join a cigar herf?

Herf Perks:

  • Cultivate a cigar community
  • Discover underground cigar lounges
  • Learn how to care for premium cigars (with Boveda 2-way humidity control, of course)
  • Get your hands on new releases and never-heard-ofs
  • Expand your cigar palate with brands you’ve yet to try
  • Gift and trade blends with others who really appreciate a premium cigar

Joe speaking about smoking at a cigar shop alone.

Although there are those evenings you want to unwind alone with an Oliva or Rocky, there’s something to be said for geeking out with other cigar lovers. And if you’re new in town, cigar herfs are a great way to make instant connections with the B/SOTL.

Herfs become an extended family. Members build bridges beyond the leaf to support each other in good times and in bad. Because of MHC, a tobacconist reached out to Joe to help a widow manage and properly store her late husband’s cigar collection. MHC members have also hosted Diaper Party Herfs for soon-to-be dads and Moving Party Herfs for soon-to-be-mortgagees.

Rob said, “There’s also more than just connecting and finding out where events are. There is a lot of discussion on the MHC page­–from what someone is smoking that night in their backyard to reviews of new (or new-to-you) products. A herf really is a tool to get together, not just in person, but to collectively collaborate cigar information.”

What’s the herf smoking?

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 4
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 4

Before Rob introduced Fabian to the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 4, he had never smoked one. The delicate sweet Cameroon wrapper surrounds a superb blend of 10-year-aged Dominican fillers. This rich, medium-bodied cigar pleases with hints of spice, pepper, coffee and cocoa flavors. Ah, the best perk of a herf—indulging in a new favorite cigar.

“When you really get hopped up on one cigar, you really want to share it with someone who will appreciate it just as much,”  Rob said.

How often do herfs meet?

A herf can be as simple as a spur-of-the-moment meet-up, Joe said. Someone might post, “I’m going to smoke a cigar because I’m playing a little bit of hooky today, wanna come?”

MHC members meet on Fridays for casually organized herfs. Sometimes at a cigar lounge. Sometimes at member’s home. Sometimes behind a restaurant in Indiana.

And sometimes herfing intersects with other hobbies. Fabian hosted a Fishing Herf. There’s a MHC Motorcycle Herf in the works this summer.

Larger, member-appreciation events are scheduled four times a year. The summer and winter herfs are MHC’s biggest draws. In fact, Box Press host Rob Gagner was a featured speaker at MHC’s Holiday Herf. He covered the importance of regulating a humidor’s relative humidity (RH) level before introducing premium cigars. And Rob described why Boveda’s patented 2-way humidity control is superior to sponges, gels and other imprecise humidifiers.

“I have a lot of money in my cigars I want to keep them fresh,” one Boveda fan/herfer said.

Who heads up the herf?

At the MHC, Facebook administration is spread out among many members. Any member can create a herf event and post it to the group’s Facebook page. That way, all the planning doesn’t fall on Joe and Fabian.

How to start a herf?

  • Go to Facebook
  • Start a group page for your herf
  • Friend those you know who enjoy a good smoke (They’ll invite two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on.)
  • Hype your herf on cigar forums
  • Facebook Friend Boveda

First herf? Cigar newbies and aficionados are both welcome. Bring a stick to smoke and few favorites to share. (You don’t want to be known as the “mouchidor” in the group.)

GOT A QUESTION FOR Rob? | Use #AskBoveda on Social Media

Cigar lovers often look to their herf to solve cigar care dilemmas. “One of the biggest things people ask about is humidity,” Fabian said.

Thanks for the set-up, Fabian. Boveda is the easy solution to solve fluctuating moisture levels in your humidor. Just toss in one Boveda 60 gram for every 25 cigars your humidor holds. Check here to see which RH is best for your humidor, climate and cigars. Replace Boveda when it gets hard and crunchy. Boveda is simple, precise and herf-approved.


Tupperware® versus humidor? What are best plastic storage containers for cigars. And how do you get rid of that plastic smell in containers, so it doesn’t transfer to your sticks?


You don’t have to splurge on Tupperware®. Any plastic storage food container with a good seal can create an airtight environment for premium cigars.

Before you add your cigars to a plastic container:

  1. Wash the container with a solution of baking soda and water. Then rinse.
  2. Dry the container thoroughly.
  3. Repurpose those cedar sheets from cigar boxes to line the bottom of the container.
  4. Toss in Boveda to keep your cigars fresh.

Fabian recommends Ziploc® containers—he swears these containers are odorless, so they’re perfect for cigars.

Ziplock® Container for Cigars

Joe buys Sterilite® Ultra•Seal™ containers, which snap closed to create a terrific seal.

Sterilite® Container for Cigars

Which ever brand you choose, Rob recommends stabilizing new sticks with Boveda in a non-porous environment, like a sealed plastic container. Get new cigars up to your preferred RH level and then move them to a wooden humidor.

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