What makes Cuban coffee so special?
Cuban coffee is renowned for its strong, sweet flavour and thicker texture in comparison to other types of coffee. Traditionally, it’s made by combining sugar with the finely ground strong dark coffee before the brewing starts and it is served in the style of an espresso blend.
Also known as Cafecito, a Cuban shot, or Cuban pull, this type of coffee is consumed on a regular basis, particularly in the morning and with meals. In Cuba, most meals are often not finished without coffee. If you’re a prolific coffee drinker, this type of coffee is one you won’t want to miss.
The origins of Cuban coffee
Cuba has been growing coffee from Arabica and Robusta coffee bean varieties for over 200 years. It is mostly grown in the favourable coffee growing area of Sierra Maestra, an eastern mountainous region of Cuba. The advantageous climactic conditions and humus reddish-brown soils make the ideal combination for growing great coffee.
Also, the Escambray Mountain regions in central Cuba are another key producer of the unique and special coffee. In fact, there are protected areas within these mountain areas that are dedicated specifically to only growing organic coffee. The coffee beans are hand-picked by local workers, with part of the product being sold and consumed domestically and the rest exported to other countries across the world.
Many Cuban people know how to perfectly prepare these types of espresso cups at home. Alternatively, a well-brewed strong dark coffee can often be found at most restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes in Cuba, which are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.
What makes Cuban coffee special?
Cuban coffee has multiple characteristics that make it stand out from other types of coffee, including its preparation method, strength, and sweetness. We’ll be exploring these in more detail below to see how Cuban coffee compares to its rivals.
Cuban coffee is often brewed using a Moka Pot and finely ground espresso roast beans. Moka Pots are the main brewers used in Cuba, so in terms of tradition, no matter where in the world this type of coffee is made, you can expect a Moka Pot to be used to make it. While this in itself might not seem that special or unique, Cuban coffee really stands out with its use of sugar.
In some methods, brown sugar (demerara sugar) is added to Cuban coffee until its very sweet and has a thick, practically syrupy texture. In other processes, white sugar will be used to create espumita or sugar froth. For this, a small amount of coffee (unsweetened) is whisked with white sugar to form a thick paste. The rest of the coffee is then poured over the paste to produce a cream-like foam on top.
The strength of the coffee
One cup of Cuban coffee is double the strength of French Press, pour over, or drip coffee. When referring to strength we mean the total dissolved coffee solids that are extracted into the cup. These solids consist of oils, acids, and sugars that all play a part in the overall flavour of your coffee.
Part of the reason why Cuban coffee is so strong is usually a dark espresso roast. It’s easier for coffee roasters to pull solids out of dark roasts and they are well-known for their smoky and bitter notes, which are often associated with robustness and strength. Another cause of this strength is the coffee being brewed using Moka Pots. These use pressure to get more coffee flavour out than the majority of other coffee makers (excluding espresso makers).
Appearance and flavour
Cuban coffee looks very dark when compared to other types of brewed coffee. This is because it’s made with dark roast coffee and brewed with a high level of extraction. The additional extraction also gives the coffee a smoky bitterness which can be overpowering until sugar is added. Once it has been sweetened though, it’s fairly well balanced.
Also, because this type of coffee is produced from dark roast beans, you won’t be able to taste any of the beans’ natural flavours. The only flavours that you will pick up on are the smoky, roast notes. So, it’s important to keep in mind that Cuban coffee isn’t necessarily right for people that are looking to taste the beans’ natural flavours.
Cuban coffee is a key part of Cuban culture, and its unique and delicious flavours make it a must try for any coffee enthusiast. As passionate coffee suppliers in Newcastle we provide a wide range of fresh and distinctive coffees to suit any taste preferences. Find the right brew for you at Pumphrey’s Coffee and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, we’re happy to help.