coffee with the power to influence

Everything you wanted to know about Cuban coffee (but were afraid to ask)

In New Products, Product Reviews on September 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Our Serrano is a rich, full bodied, well-balanced spicy-cup (black pepper, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon), with an incredibly long finish; making for a great single origin espresso.

Location: Cuba

District: Sierra Maestra

Varietal: 100% Typica

Certifications: Organic

Altitude: + 1,100 masl

Average temp: 24-26C

Relative humidity: 76-90%

Yearly rainfall: + 1,900 mm

Process: washed & sun dried

It is believed that coffee found a home in Cuba thanks to a man named Jose Antonio Gelabert; who introduced the plant to the island in 1748.

By 1790, Cuba was a one of the primary exporters of coffee to Spain. Not long after, French coffee farmers fleeing the Haitian revolution established themselves in Cuba.

By the 1820s, coffee was one of the largest industries in Cuba’s growing economy. Prior to the revolution in 1956, Cuba was exporting 20,000 metric tons of coffee and producing a yield of over 300 pounds per acre.

Following 1956, migration into the cities weakened the labour force available to coffee growers. In an effort to strengthen the industry, the government attempted to develop a coffee growing belt outside of Havana using a volunteer labor force. The replacement of skilled coffee farmers with volunteers (who knew nothing about coffee) aversely affected the industry. Production levels during the late 60s and 70s dropped. In the early 80s, the industry saw some recovery, only to be hit again  by the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990.

Cuba continues to struggle to maintain coffee production as a viable industry; environmental disaster, outdated technology, and massive rural-urban migration have all contributed to its ongoing problems.

Ironically, Miami-based Café Pilon generates more than $70 million in annual sales, selling their version of Cuban coffee in the US as “the one to use when you want authentic Cuban coffee.” However, due to legal restrictions, Cuban coffee consumed in the U.S. is made of beans from everywhere but Cuba.

Today, Japan and France account for 70-80 percent of Cuban coffee exports. Italy, Spain, Germany, UK, Canada, Switzerland and Netherlands are also sizeable importers.

Traditional Cuban Coffee Drinks

Café Cubano…one teaspoon of demerara sugar moistened with coffee into a sugar paste. Pull an espresso volume shot of Speakeasy Cuban Serrano into the sugar and whisk during the pour

Cafe con Leche…two parts Cubano, one part steamed milk

Cafe Cortadito…Café Cubano with a tablespoon of steamed milk

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