Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Un Buen Cafe

One of things that I've had the hardest time with is how do I make my Cafe Con Leche in the morning and race off to work. Getting up earlier isn't a solution because I'm a late riser as it is. I've made una colada the day before and nuked it in the morning, but let's face it doesn't taste the same.

I don't have a La Carreta or a Cafe Versailes up here... what's a Cuban-American to do?

One night, I went to a regular coffee shop one night to unwind, and being adventerous I decided to try something new: I asked for a cold brewed coffee. That's right, coffee that was brewed without heat. The concept is that the coffee grind is left in the water for 12 hrs. and then strained. Pretty simple eh?

Well, at first I didn't like it. This cup of coffee was weak, cold, thick, and nasty. I asked the bartender to heat it up for me, and prayed that I didn't just blow 4 bucks. Grasping the now hot cup of coffee I tried it. Obviously it was still weak, but the flavor was remarkably similiar -a little too similar. It tasted like a Cafe Carretero that didn't make it. I suddenly became inspired to solve my early morning rush, I decided to by a Cold Brewer by Toddy. (Side note: another reason for buying the Toddy brewer is that I am hell bent on owning various types of coffee makers.)

Now the test. I currently had on me one package of Pilon and one of La Llave. Pilon would be the first victim. I took the measurements given by toddy and improvised what I new about Cuban Coffee and came to one normal pack of Pilon to 5 1/2 cups of water. I started it at 6pm and strained it 6am the next day. I nuked it for 15-30 seconds in the microwave, added sugar, and wow it tasted exactly like a colada Cafe Carretero. I suspect that cold brewed Cafe lasts longer in flavor, because there is less acid in cold brewed cafe. Thus, when I mircowaved my buchito de Cafe, it didn't have the strange after taste I normally find in day old Cafe.

I had guests over this past weekend and so the coffee flew, and I was now intent on trying La Llave.

In all honesty I'm not too big a fan of Cafe La Llave. I find it too weak and I only buy it when I'm short on cash. Well, it turns out that La Llave is perfect for Cold Brewing Cuban coffee. The finishing producted actually tasted Cuban Coffee right out of the Cafetera. And being the astute Cuban-American that I am, I reused the coffee ground to make Cafe Claro. Thus, I now save time in the morning, I save money on electricity, and I have a whole bunch of coffee to drink (according to Toddy, the coffee is good for 14 days refridgerated, and several weeks if frozen.)

My Cubanaso suggestion:
By 2 small water pitchers at "ñooooo que barato" or any other dollar store.

By a cloth colander (una media).

By a regular size pack of Cafe La Llave (or a Cafe Pilon).

In one pitcher add one pack of coffee and 5 1/2 cups of water. Stir the coffee so as to wet all the grind. Cover it and find a safe place to leave it at room temperature. Leave it there for 12 hours (6pm to 6am, Midnight to Noon, whatever). Once the time is up, strain the mix over the colander (la media) and into the 2nd pitcher and viola cold brewed Cafe Cubano that is good for two weeks! Heat the coffee before adding the sugar -especially if you're going to microwave it. No, there is no tinto in this system, which means to get espumita you'll need to use less a smaller of cafe and more time beating the sugar with a spoon. Nevertheless, you can always get a battery operated frother (which are pretty cheap) and makes the espumita in seconds!

Hazy fact: I recall reading somewhere that during Cuba's war of independence Cafe Carretero was actually done in Cuba by cold brewing it. It was a way to make the coffee for a lot of people without wasting the time or resource of starting a fire. When needed, they would only heat the coffee, which ofcourse took less time. However, I barely recall reading this in a Cuban Coffee chapter of an Espresso book, of whose title and reference I do not remember!


benning said...

Since I often nuke leftover coffee, I know how crappy it tastes! Yech!

I may try that method, Henry. Now, how much coffee is in one of those packs?

I had a friend in Tampa who would brew up some Cuban coffee - the tiny cups, loads of sugar, dark, strong coffee! - for me when I visited. His wife seemed to think he did a better job than she would. Or she enjoyed his waiting on her. ; )

The Coffee was quite nice. There was also that odd-shaped coffee pot.

I liked it. Dunno if I have the taste for it to drink it daily, but LORD knows I need a kick in the morning! LOL

Songuacassal said...

Hi benning, this is John (aka Songuacassal)!

Sorry, I didn't clarify!

It's a 10 oz. pack of Coffee.