By Elizabetta Tekeste
There lies an island North of Jamaica and South of the US that's religious about their coffee. It's consumed first thing every morning, after every meal and when socializing.
Their best coffee beans come from the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Carefully cultivated, shade grown and sun dried to yield full-bodied coffee. The current embargo makes it challenging (less challenging if you're in Miami) to obtain authentic coffee beans from this part of the world. Have you guessed the country yet? Here is your last clue: the land is fertile and the people are warm.
If you guessed Cuba- you are correct!
Over the past 200 years Cuba has perfected the savior fair of producing, roasting, brewing and savoring coffee. Their premium beans have a distinct earthy and smoky flavor profile. And although you won't find their beans at your local grocers- living in America doesn't mean you are deprived of this experience in its entirety. Cuba's coffee culture is more famous than their coffee that's why coffee houses around the world serve cafe Cubano: an Italian style espresso sweetened with demerara sugar as it's being extracted. A sweet beginning, middle and end to your day- I think they are on to something here!
I'm partial to another Cuban style coffee, the cortadito; presweetened espresso "cut" with steamed milk. The ratio is 1:1 - 1:2 depending on preference. It hits the spot at four o'clock!
In Cuba, an offering of coffee is an extension of greeting and hospitality. It's considered rude to decline and equally rude to not offer coffee. The same is true in many countries including Ethiopia and Eritrea. Quite civilized behavior for so called "developing countries" no?
Until next week, breathe well and be well!