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Coffees of Cuba
Coffee likely first arrived in Cuba from the island of Hispaniola in 1748, but it was not until 1791 that the Cuban coffee industry was bolstered by French settlers. By 1827, around two thousand coffee farms were active on the island, causing coffee beans to become a major Cuban export that came to generate more money than sugar exports. Two types of coffee trees are grown in Cuba: Arabica and Robusta.
In Cuba, a large amount of coffee harvested is produced on small family farms, where the coffee plants are often grown underneath the island’s moist forests.
Cuban Coffee Preparation
As the Cuban coffee industry has grown, a number of coffee preparation methods, born in Cuba, have spread around the world. These include Cortadito, Café con Leche and Café Cubano, the latter of which is a sweetened espresso that is created by adding sugar to the ground coffee as it is brewed. Because many Cubans drink their coffee very strong and a little sweet, the Café Cubano is a typical way to prepare coffee on the island. Cortadito is an espresso shot topped with steamed milk, similar to the Spanish Cortado drink, while the Café con Leche is an espresso served with a separate cup of steamed milk.
Coffee in Cuba is usually dried in the sun, with some mechanical drying taking place, and most Cuban coffees that are grown for export are ‘washed’, a process whereby coffee cherries and beans are separated prior to roasting and placed in a flotation tank, allowing unripe, floating cherries to be removed.
Both Japan and Europe have been strong markets for, and large importers of, Cuban coffees, which reflects the strong place of exports in Cuba’s coffee industry; the best Cuban coffees are typically exported, with around one-fifth of total coffee production being used for export.
What Does Cuban Coffee Taste Like?
Cuban coffees are typical of island coffees, where the topography and climate are well suited to coffee growing. A Cuban coffee, such as our Cuban Altura Coffee, can offer relatively low, sweet acidity and a medium or heavy body. Cuban Altura Coffee offers a rich, clean cup with a medium body, making it ideal for use in filter coffees.
Growing Regions in Cuba
While a large area of Cuba is formed of low-lying plains, there are mountainous areas on the island that are very suitable for coffee production. These include:
- • Sierra Maestra – running the length of the southern coast, this mountainous region, the largest of the three mountain ranges on the island, is home to a large percentage of coffee produced in Cuba.
- • Sierra Del Escambray – Located in the middle of the island, this mountainous range produces a small amount of Cuba’s coffee. The harvest takes place between July and December, with mostly Typica variety beans being harvested.
- • Sierra Del Rosario – Coffee farms have existed in the Sierra Del Rosario region since 1790, although a relatively small amount of Cuba’s coffee is grown there. With altitudes of around 1,000-1,800ft, the region is one of the lower-lying coffee growing areas on the island.
For a delicious taste of Cuban coffee, why not try our Cuban Altura Coffee?
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