While in Miami we visited La Colada Gourmet and had a lovely chat with the gentleman roasting the coffee there. After talking shop for a while, we asked him what he would recommend we try for our first foray into Cuban coffee. To our amazement he didn’t recommend a café Cubano, a drink that is almost universally associated with the Cuban community. Instead, he recommended the Cuban take on the café bombon and a harana viejo.
We were intrigued and decided to try both. Unfortunately, we didn’t take detailed notes on the harana Viejo. It was good and only slightly boozy. Yes, you heard that right, the harana viejo is an alcoholic drink. Sadly, we can’t remember exactly which booze was used and the internet doesn’t seem to know. We’ve tried contacting La Colada Gourmet to find out but haven’t had any luck getting a hold of them.
The café bombon, on the other hand, proved to be a much simpler drink. It is simply a double shot of espresso and sweetened condensed milk. Originally created in Spain using equal parts of these two ingredients, the Cuban take is different only in its proportions. La Colada Gourmet didn’t give us the exact ratio but the photo we took clearly showed that it uses much less. In trials we found that just under a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk in a double shot got us close to what we had in Miami. Or course, our roasts are very different, so we used relative sweetness as our guide. Having tried it both ways we find the Cuban version to be much more palatable. It isn’t sickly sweet and allows the coffee to shine through.
We did eventually try a traditional café Cubano (the recipe for this is easily found on the internet) and since we lack a Mokka pot to brew with we won’t bore you with the details here. Suffice to say, we found it to be the least tasty of the three varieties but still very enjoyable. It is very strong though, so we’d recommend a glass of plain water to go with it.