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Jason Perlow

Cuban Shots: What are they, exactly?

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In my travels to Miami over the years and living in Florida since the summer I've had the pleasure of drinking "Cuban Coffees" or Cuban Shots at various latino eateries.

I'm trying to figure out exactly how these are made. They aren't true Italian-style straight up espresso shots, they seem to be in between those and a lungo. If you ask for a "double" cuban shot you usually get about 8 ounces of very strong coffee, with no crema in it. Unless you ask "sin azucar", they are usually by default pretty sweet.

The coffee used is typically Pilon or Bustelo (Both made by Rowland Coffee Roasters in Miami, which isnt an espresso grind as far as I can tell, although it says "espresso coffee" on the can) but I have seen other types of commercial coffees used.

What's the process?

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Part of the process (detailed here) is to add sugar to the portafilter before brewing. Needless to say, the geeks on the various coffee boards are a bit reluctant to do this!


Edited by Joe Blowe (log)

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Part of the process (detailed here) is to add sugar to the portafilter before brewing. Needless to say, the geeks on the various coffee boards are a bit reluctant to do this!

Yeah, I read this, but as I limit my sugar intake I have them either make it with splenda or I just say "sin azucar" and add the sweetener afterwards.

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So, is there a big difference between with and without sugar? Without the sugar, is it like a thinned out lungo? Could it be that they're pulling cafe cremas?

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I personally do not feel there is a big difference without the sugar. However I have had various places make it with the splenda as if they were making it with the sugar. Some places, like Versailles in Miami, will do this if I say "Con Splenda" because I guess they have a lot of customers that need to cut down on sugar now. Others will just give me the packets to add.

It does kind of taste like a thinned out lungo. Stronger than Americano, not as thick as a lungo, with no discernable crema, at least in most places I've had it.

The lack of crema could be that they are pulling shots on espresso machines without using actual espresso grinds. But I could be wrong.


Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

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