Cuba does not occupy a leading position in the coffee export market. Among 75 countries, it is somewhere in the middle. But it is impossible to confuse the taste and aroma of the Cuban drink, in view of its inherent special notes.
The first coffee trees were brought to the island in the mid-18th century from Haiti. A small plantation for the experimental cultivation of arabica was laid not far from the capital of the country. Today, under different varieties of arabica, huge areas of foothill and mountainous areas are occupied. These are the Sierro Maestro and Sagua – Baracoa, in the west and St. Spiritus, and Villa Clara in the center.
Cuban coffee as a business reached a special peak during the period of French mass development of Cuba. They knew and understood a lot about the drink, so they began to actively develop their business in accordance with all its world rules. By the 19th century, Cuba occupied one of the leading places in the export of grains to the world market.
Cuban coffee is mainly produced by small farms run by families and inherited. Here they are engaged in the cultivation, collection and processing of arabica. Further, the raw materials are sent for sale to a special state body, where coffee is sorted, blends are created and put up for sale abroad. The brand under which the products are delivered is called Kubito.
Pure monosorts of arabica can only be tasted and bought on Liberty Island. There are many cafes and shops where they sell local varieties of coffee, cigars and other products as a visiting card of the country.
The climate of Cuba is warm and humid, the soil is loose and fertile, and these are ideal conditions for the growth of coffee trees. Varieties of arabica are often called the regions where they are grown, but there are exceptions to the rules. In each region, arabica is characterized by its aromatic and flavoring features. But everyone has a common property - the lack of acidity, and the presence of bright bitterness. Below is a description of the best varieties of Cuban coffee.
Cuban Coffee Traditions
Coffee came to Cuba in the 18th century, thanks to Jose Gelabert, who founded the first coffee production in 1748. The first grains were from Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). A favorable climate and an attentive attitude to the cultivation technology fell to the “newcomer”. The impulse to the development of the coffee industry at the end of the 18th century was given by French colonists from the island of Haiti, who laid vast plantations.
And for more than 250 years, Cubans have been producing excellent coffee recognized around the world. It is cultivated at heights lower (350-750 meters) than other major arabica producers, therefore it has a richer flavor, less acidity, the presence of notes of chocolate, tobacco, hot pepper.
Coffee in Cuba is made surprisingly strong and sweet on the principle of “more coffee with sugar, less water”, which makes it thick and invigorating and so sweet that you can compare it with liquor. They drink it from small cups very hot, most often with rum, adding it directly to the drink itself.
There are different recipes for making Cuban coffee. But no matter how the drink was prepared, it should impress with its strength, taste and aroma - this is the main thing.
Types of Coffee Trees
Cuban coffee is a whole set of high-quality Arabica. Sierra Maestra is a mountain range in the southeast of Cuba, among which the famous varieties are grown here:
In terms of taste, they are not too different from each other. They have a very sharp and tart taste without any acidity, rich aroma and leave an aftertaste with tobacco notes.
The highest point of Cuba is located in the Sierra Maestra - Pico Turkino. At the foot of this mountain, the eponymous species of Cuba Turkino is grown. Its characteristics are similar to the group of varieties described above, but there are still notes of cocoa and dark chocolate in the taste. The aroma is rich, persistent, with a touch of tobacco and cocoa.
Maragodzhip is another well-known species, and unlike its counterparts from other countries, it is very strong, bitter and tart. It has a pronounced aroma and a special burning taste.
Popular varieties are Altura and Trinidad. Altura is liked by both Europeans and local residents. The caffeine content in this variety is elevated, therefore, pronounced bitterness and rich aroma are inherent in it. The drink is tart, thick, invigorating. That is how Cuban coffee should be. The Trinidad variety is similar in characteristics to Altur, but less tart.
What affects the taste
The original taste of Cuban coffee is explained not only by the climate, altitude and the composition of the soil on which the trees are cultivated, but also by the further processing technology of the beans. After manual harvesting, the fruits of the coffee tree go through about 10 more technological processes to become an elite product. These include:
- Peeling - peel is removed from coffee fruits by specially designed machines.
- Fermentation is the removal of viscous liquid from fruits in concrete containers. Fermentation is characterized by an increase in temperature and loss of grains in weight. The process is considered completed when when the hand is immersed in the container, the raw material does not stick.
- Flushing - grains are washed, empty are removed.
- Drying - the process takes place in the sun, it is necessary that it ends within 24 hours, otherwise the quality of the raw materials may deteriorate.
- Grinding - the separation of two grains from each other, the removal of husks. The process requires delicacy so that the grains themselves are not damaged, otherwise it will be defective, and the product will lose the necessary quality level for export.
- Cleaning - removal of all excess that may be among the grains by sieving.
- Classification - separation of raw materials by size through special sifters of various sizes.
- Density selection - raw materials with an appropriate specific gravity are selected.
- Electronic optical selection - the distribution of grains by color. The color should be blue-green or brownish-green, others should be removed.
- Quality control - humidity, presence of defects, composition and batch size are determined. For export options, verification is carried out both by equipment and manually.
- Roasting - Cuban roasting is the strongest, occurs at a temperature of 250 ° C. In Cuba, it is carried out in the traditional way: a roasting specialist determines the moment the process ceases.
- Cooling - carried out in a frypot so as to concentrate the aroma of the product.
The technology for making coffee in Cuban differs significantly from the traditional one.
- The main difference is that in Cuba, coffee is brewed for a long time. That is, they do not just bring to a boil, as is customary in most other countries, but they boil it.
- Due to prolonged cooking, part of the liquid evaporates. So that coffee does not boil away almost entirely, several servings are prepared at once. A thick-bottomed pan is suitable for this. It is convenient if it is equipped with a long handle.
- Sugar in coffee is added at the first stage of preparation, but spices must be added in stages after the drink boils well.
- At the last stage, rum is added. It can be foamed with cognac, but nevertheless, the original recipe indicates exactly the rum, which a priori should be of high quality.
All the ingredients that make up Cuban coffee are grown on this island, so ideally you should use Cuban coffee, sugar and rum, although this rule is not indestructible.
Cuban coffee brands
Cubita is the most famous brand. Everything from growing to processing - only by traditional methods. It has a spicy sourness, balanced, soft, slightly sweet taste, rich aroma. Premium coffee is produced both in beans and in ground form of dark and light roasting.
All export coffee is called Kubita. It consists of a mixture of various varieties. Outside the republic, trying a monosort is almost impossible. Cubita is also the name of a coffee export company. The company has both its plantations and acquires grain from private producers.
Caracolillo is an elite variety cultivated on the high plantations of the Sierra del Rosario. The name "Karakol" in translation from Spanish is "seashells", which is fully justified by the appearance of the grains. Harvested only once a year. Grains are usually mixed with other elite varieties of arabica, which allows you to fully reveal their taste and aromatic properties. The variety has a mild flavor with hints of chocolate and a refined aroma.
The Cuban brand Serrano Selecto is an amazing coffee with a bright but mild flavor with a slight sourness and a bewitching aroma. The variety is popular among coffee lovers in Europe.
Cuban Coffee Recipe
- ground coffee - 16 g,
- water - 0.25 l
- sugar - 20 g
- cloves - 4 pcs.,
- coriander - 4 pcs.,
- nutmeg - 2 g
- rum - 20 ml.
- Pour coffee over water and set the saucepan on fire.
- When the coffee begins to boil, reduce the intensity of the flame and start stirring so that it does not run away.
- When the hat goes down, add sugar, stir, cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the cloves, cook more you.
- Add coriander and nutmeg, cook another couple of minutes.
- Within 5 minutes, let the drink brew, then pour it into small cups. Filtering is not necessary, but it will not be superfluous.
- Pour a teaspoon of rum into each cup, stir.
Cuban coffee is so sweet that dessert is not served.
One of the recipes
It is believed that true Cuban coffee can only be made in a geyser coffee machine. Grind grains for such a coffee maker should be finely, but not in dust. Ground coffee to use immediately, it is not stored. You will need:
- Cuban coffee
- cane sugar
- bottled water.
For 200 ml of water, take 2 teaspoons with a large mountain of ground coffee and the same amount of sugar (preferably cane, brown). Over low heat, the drink is brought to a boil. It is removed from the fire and settles for 3-5 minutes. Coffee is strong, sweet. The most popular supplement is a teaspoon of rum. The drink is very hot. Brandy is allowed, but it will already be a drink with a completely different taste. Coffee with brandy is prepared in a slightly different way.
The drink can be prepared without a coffee maker. Brew a glass of boiling water 1 tbsp. a spoonful of ground Cuban coffee (with top), add more sugar. Serve in small cups for 2-3 sips.
Describing the taste of coffee is a thankless task. This is the same as describing the words perfume fragrance or music. Better postpone things, make Cuban coffee, a cup of such a drink will give you true pleasure.
One of the strongest and most savory varieties. A cup of such a drink allows you to stay awake for a long time, and pepper flavor remains in your mouth for a long time. The consistency of coffee turns out to be thick, dense. The taste is felt and chocolate, and nutty, and pepper notes. The product is highly regarded by the adherents of the classic taste of coffee.
It is also very strong and tart taste of coffee with a high caffeine content. It differs from other varieties by a pronounced sweet aroma, dense texture and thick foam. Also highly regarded by amateurs abroad.
Grown on the slopes of the Sierra Maestro Mountains. Not as strong and bitter as other varieties of arabica. The taste of the finished drink has a pleasant acidity, light astringency and natural sweetness. Loved in Western Europe for a harmonious taste and aroma.
It features tobacco notes unusual for coffee. Very strong, without a hint of sourness, goes well with traditional Cuban alcohol - rum. Guantanamo and Holguin varieties, which are grown in the same region and bear the names of the nearest administrative regions, have similar characteristics.
It has bright chocolate notes in taste and aroma. It is considered the best coffee in Cuba, as it harmoniously combines the tenderness of consistency, richness of taste and splendor of aroma. A rare variety grown in limited quantities.
One of the few drinks in which caffeine is at an average level. It gives a very balanced taste, softness, suitable for cooking in a Turk.
This is only part of the varieties that differ in their special taste and production volumes. It should be noted that at the state level they carefully monitor the quality of coffee beans. Raw materials purchased from small and medium farmers go through 3 stages of control and sorting. The concern employs excellent specialists who create unique mixtures characteristic of Cuban coffee, in which the main flavoring and aromatic notes of the product are correctly emphasized.
All products are supplied to the world market in vacuum packaging or cans. Despite careful and proper packaging, the shelf life of the grains is short. After 6 months, they lose some of the aroma and taste due to especially strong frying.