Any suggestions on the proper preparation of a Cafe Cubano, including the correct amount of sugar?

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Contact michael McGuire at K Bay Caffe in Homer, Alaska. They are famous for finessing the cubano. Tell him JB in Oregon said hi.
Thanks, I will contact Michael McGuire. I visited their website, very informative.
How does that phone conversation go, John? "Hi, I'm Terri from Raleigh NC... how do you make a Cubano?" An even better idea would be to ask Michael to join us on bX, so we can discuss this here!

Terri, I've seen this discussed here in the past, though cannot recall specific proportions/preparations. I'm sure someone will come along and answer you shortly, in person no less. That's kinda why we're here.

In the meantime, here's an older thread that may prove useful:
http://www.baristaexchange.com/forum/topics/1688216:Topic:90813
Thanks Brady, that was a good discussion. The recipies I have seen included the paste method, but I didn't know how much sugar to use. I will try the 2 tablespoons (1 per shot) and see how it goes. I appreciate your help.
Terri Voltz said:
Thanks Brady, that was a good discussion. The recipies I have seen included the paste method, but I didn't know how much sugar to use. I will try the 2 tablespoons (1 per shot) and see how it goes. I appreciate your help.

No problem, though I should mention that I am neither Cuban nor a resident of Miami, so my knowledge is secondhand. Perhaps a shout out to Volta is in order, as they are in a better location for said drink?
On the way back from Colombia, I stopped off in Miami for the night and ended up hanging out with some old Cubanos at a local cigar shop where they had an espresso machine set up and were making cafe cubanos all night long. I ended up getting some instruction in making a "proper" cubano and it's pretty simple.

Essentially, you take the shot of espresso and add two spoonfuls of sugar and stir. Simple. Though it seemed like it helped to have the proper cups. The cups themselves were nothing special, just flat bottomed espresso cups but I ended up buying a set with the Cuban flag on them. Tre cool.
Jay, Thanks for the input!

Jay Caragay said:
On the way back from Colombia, I stopped off in Miami for the night and ended up hanging out with some old Cubanos at a local cigar shop where they had an espresso machine set up and were making cafe cubanos all night long. I ended up getting some instruction in making a "proper" cubano and it's pretty simple.

Essentially, you take the shot of espresso and add two spoonfuls of sugar and stir. Simple. Though it seemed like it helped to have the proper cups. The cups themselves were nothing special, just flat bottomed espresso cups but I ended up buying a set with the Cuban flag on them. Tre cool.
Terri - with this drink, the taste is in the buds of the drinker...so to speak. The amount of sugar is all your own. I think Jay has it right.

Here is my spin on it...a Cafe Cubano is basically 2 teaspoons of sugar and two shots of espresso. One traditional method is by taking the sugar and putting it into the bottom of the cappa cup, demi or metal creamer...then pulling two, long, single shots of espresso. Pour the first shot into the cappa cup, demi or metal creamer over top of the sugar. It will partially dissolve the sugar and create a little foamy goodness. Now pour the second shot into the heavy syrupy espresso mixture and swirl the mixture around some (this is better accomplished in the small metal creamer than a demi) and serve. The long pulls of the espresso help to make the espresso a little thinner and more of a cup of strong, sweet coffee than a double shot of espresso. Served in a small 4-5oz cup is ideal in my opinion. Pretty sweet and tasty. Be careful, you can get hooked on these. Hope this helps. Chris
Chris, thanks. I will try this method. I appreciate your input.

Terri
A guy who spent a lot of time in Miami came into my shop a while back and requested this. I had no idea what it was at the time so my response was "Sure i'll make a cubano! But you'll have to show me how." He said to pull an espresso and pour a VERY small amount (maybe 1/4 oz.) of it into a lot of sugar. I used about 6 packets of granulated white sugar. Then you're supposed to whip the espresso-sugar combination until it has a meringue sort of texture. This took a lot of whipping. Then you're supposed to pour the rest of the espresso onto the sugar-spro combo. I wasn't comfortable using the rest of the shot that has been sitting there for 5 minutes, so i pulled another. What i ended up with was about 2 oz. of super sweet and strangely foamy espresso. The guy loved it. I'm... undecided.
Interesting, that does sound very sweet. Thanks for the feedback!
I had a customer who was very well versed in coffee instruct me to make a Cubano as follows. Several other customers from S. FL who tried this version were pleased with the results. And, its so simple.

Set your grind a little finer than usual, fill a double portafilter, tamp well, then pour one packet of raw sugar on top of the grounds. If you have trouble tightening the portafilter all the way, put just a drop or two of hot water on the sugar to dissolve it slightly. Then, pull a double shot about 25 seconds. I suspect the cane sugar with heat added, infuses the sweetness through the espresso more thoroughly than just stirring it in afterward.

I know this is not the ideal for keeping your machine clean. We just did a quick backflush after pulling this shot and never seemed to have a problem. He ordered them weekly for about two years.

Good luck
LJ

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