Café Cubano: Cuban Coffee in American Cafés
Cuban coffee, which most Americans haven’t tasted in decades, is on the horizon again as the US and Cuba reestablish their relationship. Like Cuban cigars and brands of rum, Cuban coffee is grown and sold exclusively by the Cuban government.
Cuban coffee is similar to other Caribbean coffees. It’s low in acidity, with earthy tones and notes of chocolate and tobacco. Cuban coffee is subtle, with medium body, which could make for a safe yet unique addition to your café menu when it hits the States.
Cuban recipes and traditions have long been integrated with American coffee culture, especially in Florida. Café Cubano is a form of espresso that began when Italian espresso machines were first imported. It’s simply a shot of espresso sweetened with demerara sugar as it’s brewed.
Variations of Café Cubano include the Cortadito, which is a small cut shot of espresso topped with presweetened steamed milk. The Café con Leche, another variation, is a shot of espresso served alongside a cup of steamed milk. Café Cubano and its variations have become popular in many American cafés, although none have had the opportunity to make them with true Cuban coffee… yet.
If you’re planning on adding Cuban coffee to your café menu when it’s available, add a Café Cubano to your menu board now. Like many cafés in Florida, you can make this drink in the traditional Cuban style with non-Cuban coffee beans, until Cuban beans are accessible.
To really get an edge on the competition, try flavor variations. The Cortadito is an excellent place to start, as the milk is presweetened. Experiment by sweetening the milk with flavors like Mango, Pineapple, Guava and Coconut, all tropical fruits produced in Cuba.