More than 200 years ago, something significant happened in Cuba – its first coffee plant was started. The people of the country may not have known it at the time, but we're pretty sure that they soon realized a phenomenon had just begun.
Of course, Cuban coffee isn’t prepared like most coffees because nothing extraordinary ever follows a typical path. Cuban coffee is traditionally made by whipping spoonfuls of demerara sugar into the first drops of the brew, as opposed to adding the sugar in at the end of the process. This helps to give it its distinctive sweet and robust taste with a slightly thick texture. It is then served espresso style to the coffee-lovers out there. If you aren't heading to a coffee shop near you, you’ll get this great taste from your Nespresso compatible capsules.
While most countries tend to enjoy their cups of coffee in the mornings, in Cuban culture, anytime is coffee time as they consume the beverage with different meals throughout the day.
Cuban Coffee is Part of The Culture
One of the best ways to experience the culture of a country is to immerse yourself in its cuisine and beverages. It allows you to connect to the heart of the people, to understand some of their likes and dislikes, and to appreciate what the country’s soil is capable of producing.
When it comes to the Caribbean island of Cuba, sampling the coffee brings you all of that and so much more. Cuban coffee has had such a profound impact on the country’s national identity, that the first coffee plantations have even made their way onto the UNESCO World Heritage list. But how did it all begin?
The History of Cuba’s Coffee
1748 was the year that the first coffee plant in Cuba started. One of the best coffee-growing districts was the eastern regions in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. These mountains soon became the optimum plantation areas as the soil was rich and fertile and allowed the coffee beans to cultivate without chemical fertilization. The production of organic coffee soon became part of Cuba’s coffee production reputation.
By the 1790s, French colonists had moved in and invested in improving the production methods. Over the years, areas in Pinar del Rio (the western parts of the country), as well as the Escambray mountains (the central parts of the country), were also identified as ideal to grow the coffee beans.
All these areas are harvested by hand-picking the beans. Many of the old methods used to collect the beans in yesteryear, such as drying the beans on patios, are still used today. While some may view these methods as outdated, others appreciate the artisan process that is often beautiful to watch.
Although the country has since seen much political turmoil which has, over the years, affected the exportation of the coffee, one thing remains - everybody who tries it, loves it. Besides the unique blending of the sugar and coffee, which of course, affect the taste of the beverage, the flavors of coffee beans from the area have cemented it as one of the most outstanding coffee producing regions in the world.
The Coffee Flavor and How It’s Prepared
The Cuban coffee plant varietal or “type” of coffee plant is mainly Arabica coffee beans. Most coffee-loving enthusiasts will agree that this is generally the most preferred coffee plant varietal due to its tendency to be rich in flavor and body.
There are many ways to enjoy Cuban coffee. We’ve just highlighted some of the most iconic ways Cubans enjoy theirs:
- Cafecito or Café Cubano
Cafecito is the most popular type of Cuban coffee and involves the blending of espresso and raw sugar during the brewing process. What's even more interesting is the fact that the Cubans themselves refer to it as an "espresso." A traditional espresso machine or Italian Moka pot gets the job done here and while there may be variations of the sugar/espresso blend, the base of the Cuban espresso remains the same.
- Café con Leche
This is "coffee with milk," but of course, it is never that simple. When you order a Café con Leche, you'll get a traditional Cuban espresso with a side of steamed milk. And then, of course, you blend the two as you prefer it. In American culture, this is very close to a latte.
Your traditional Cortadito order will involve pouring the dark sugar into a warm cup, a stovetop espresso brewer, and a unique adding of the coffee in stages to give you the genuine Cuban experience.
A Colada is a typical Cafecito, just much more substantial in portion. It is made for sharing as it also comes with small cups so that friends may pour and share.
How to Get This in Your Home
Now, of course, it is difficult to make your way to an authentic Cuban café when you feel like any of the above-listed coffees. Therefore, you’ve decided on having your own coffee maker, however, slipping in any Nespresso capsule isn't going to cut it, especially when you want only to want the best.
Café Joe’s Limited Edition Cuba espresso capsules will give you the flavors of Cuban coffee, right from your home or office. These Nespresso compatible capsules feature hints of Cuban tobacco, dark chocolate, and brewing bold espresso and cappuccinos.
You can also try the Special Edition Joe Cubana Blend of Whole Roasted Coffee Beans. These are also Nespresso compatible capsules which have hints of hazelnut and chocolate covered banana, a real homage to Cuban coffee culture.
Drinking coffee is an integral part of many cultures around the world. This is how we kickstart our day. The caffeine helps to turn many dreary mornings around. But of course, once you've tasted the best, you'll only want the best. Some may argue that Cuban coffee falls under the category. From the Sierra Maestra Mountains to the Pinar del Rio and Escambray regions, Cuba is more than just politics, cigars, and salsa. Sure, these are part of their culture, but without a doubt, coffee is a way of life to the country and its people.