Known for its distinctive kick and incomparable strength, Café Cubano is a cultural staple as it speaks loudly about Cuban culture and Western history. The Cuban soil has always been ideal for coffee, but coffee only started being grown and brewed in Cuba by the end of the 1700s when the Haitian Revolution exploded and the French colonialists moved to Cuba. At the time, Cuban plantations consisted mainly of sugar cane. Once the French started growing coffee the mix of these two commodities gave birth to Café Cubano.
Café Cubano must be made on a Moka pot or espresso machine. The brewing method is strictly Italian. What differentiates it from your regular espresso is that the finely grounded beans are mixed with a specific type of sugar called demerara sugar. If you don’t have access to demerara sugar, brown sugar or powdered sugar cane will do.
First, mix the sugar and the finely ground beans together and start brewing your espresso. You will notice that the crema will be even thicker than usual and the coffee will be darker. If you can spot this you are on a great path!
The sweet espresso alone is called cafécito, which means little coffee. It is traditionally served in a small ceramic or clay cup but nowadays you can find it on the streets of Miami served in white plastic shot-looking cups.
This powerful shot of coffee is meant to be slowly sipped and never chugged. Aside from that, if you are not ready to have such a strong drink the good news is that there are many ways to enjoy it.
Cortadito Add a few splashes of steamed milk to your Cuban coffee and enjoy a cortadito. Take into account that in order to be a Cortadito, it must still have more coffee than steamed milk.
Café con Leche Drop your sweet espresso shot on a cup of steamed milk and voilá! You could call this a Cuban Latte, and it is my personal favorite as it is cozy and incredibly flavorful.
Colada is the social way to enjoy this drink. Make it on a larger Moka pot and serve the pit with small shot-style glasses around it. Most Cuban restaurants will serve it this way even if you are buying it to go. They will provide a regular coffee cup filled with a whole cup or two of the strong brew and provide the smaller cups for individual servings.
Even after the Cuban Revolution and through all the struggles of the nation throughout the twentieth century, Café Cubano remains a cultural staple. When Cubans fled the island in the sixties and established themselves in Miami they brought with them their coffee traditions and to this day, Miami is one of the best cities to enjoy Cuban coffee as it is well done and readily available across town.