cuban coffee on a rainy friday morning

Thank the divinities for Cuban coffee! I'm actually not very fond of coffee and only drink it once or twice a week. When I drink it I'm extremely picky and the only one I really, really like is Cuban coffee.

Besides sugar, tobacco and rum, coffee must be what Cuba is known for internationally (OK, I guess music and communism are pretty known features too). Most people in Havana buy the rationed subsidised coffee sold by the state and, when running out of this, the one sold "in the street" (ie. the black market). Up until recently it was sold ground and mixed with roasted yellow peas in order to make the precious coffee last more. The only place you could find pure coffee was in stores operating in dollars or the Cuban equivalent to dollar and most people has very limited access to this currency...

Not even a year ago the Cuban state raised the prize of the rationed subsidized coffee and claimed this new expensive coffee was pure, without peas. According to some the coffee still have peas in it but what do I know...

I've always liked the mixed coffee best. It seems like the roasted and ground yellow peas gives it more body... But I can tell you I'm pretty much the only one with this preference. The pure coffee sold in the Cuban equivalent to dollars is considered of superior quality and when I voice my preference for mixed coffee most Cubans just roll their eyes: "crazy foreigner..."

Last time I went to Havana I found the famous Cuban brand Monte Rouge. No one I asked had ever tasted it but the rumor tell this is the best Cuban coffee. It it said to belong to Raúl Castro (Fidel Castros brother) and has also given its name to the best contemporary Cuban underground short film (where it also features). A famous brand indeed!
I had never seen whole coffee beans for sale in Havana so I was lucky to find these beautiful aromatic ones. Ground at home, made real strong in our classic moka espresso maker and mixed with plenty of sugar (Cuban style) it makes a rainy morning feel just fine!

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