While I was in Mexico last month I went to Qubano’s on Isla Mujeres to pick up lunch for my wife (who stayed on the beach, “saving our place”) and while I waited I ordered a Cuban coffee (cafecito). I was blown away. I am usually an espresso or dark roast, no sugar or milk, kind of guy. The coffee was dark, rich and, of course, SWEET.

I’m on a quest to perfect the cafecito now! I have made two and neither one of them is correct yet. This morning’s was made with some old hazelnut flavored beans I had lying around. It’s decent, but the hazelnut is throwing the whole thing off. This afternoon I’ll make a run to Broadway CafĂ© in Westport for some good espresso beans.

I had some old Broadway beans sitting around last week and tried a cafecito with those, but I used Mexican sugar (the brown stuff with big crystals) and that doesn’t dissolve well. The white sugar I used this morning seems to be the key, as much as I’d like to use the Mexican stuff for more flavor.

The general idea of a cafecito is to use one spoonful of sugar per serving, as a rule (a serving being more than an espresso shot but a lot less than a standard cup of coffee). You put the sugar in a bowl, add a tiny bit of coffee, and stir the heck out of it until you have a brown-sugar colored paste. Add this to your cup and pour the coffee over and you have a cafecito. It’s supposed to look like an espresso with crema on top.

Most people use a stovetop Moka pot for this, which is what I’ve been using. Once I have fresh beans I’m going to try it again with the Moka pot, then with my Gaggia espresso machine. I’m guessing the espresso machine will be the way to go… caffeine poured over sugar? Don’t mind if I do! LOL

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