Today, September 29th, is International Coffee Day! As Puerto Rican salsa singer Ramirez sang, “sin café y un pan, bodeguero, me muero.” Coffee is a way of life in Latine households. We’re known to drink coffee at all times of the day and are notorious for letting kids begin to drink the caffeinated beverage from a young ago. Some of the best coffee in the world comes from Latin America so there’s no doubt that the love for the substance runs in our blood along with leche evaporada and azúcar.
Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages on Earth and is often celebrated for its health benefits from its antioxidants. Coffee is believed to be an appetite suppressant, improve concentration, and assist with low blood pressure. Coffee’s caffeine can help relieve headache symptoms. The caffeinated beverage releases dopamine and serotonin which helps elevate moods.
Our daily caffeine fix is often inspired by our Latin American roots from the way we take our cup of joe to the seasonings we add to our café. To celebrate the caffeinated festivities we’re sharing five of our favorite coffee drinks from across Latin America.
Cuban espresso is lovingly called cafecito. The Café Cubano can be made with an electric espresso machine but is traditionally made with a moka pot. uses the first drops of espresso which are the strongest. The espresso shot is sweetened with natural brown sugar. The coffee is best prepared with dark roast beans—ideally from Cuba.
Café con Leche
This “coffee with milk” drink is popular across Latin American. It calls for a shot of espresso traditionally served with a separate cup of steamed milk and without sugar. The original method of making café con leche would be to pour the desired amount of espresso into the cup of hot milk and stir the two liquids together. Today, it’s common to have the milk and espresso served pre-mixed together when ordering a café con leche. Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than a sweet sweet iced café con leche.
This standard coffee drink contains a shot of espresso topped with a bit of steamed milk—usually half coffee, half milk. Cubans version of a cortado is given a sweet name, cortadito. The drink is also sweet as the preparation is the same as a cortado except that a cortadito is served with sugar already mixed into the caffeinated drink. In Uruguay, cortados are often served in glass coffee mugs with a side of tiny coconut macaroons.
Tinto is a traditional method of making coffee that is common in Colombia. The coffee is prepared by bringing a pot of water to boil over a fire. Once it’s boiling add in four tablespoons of ground coffee. Simultaneously, in a separate pot, make agua de panela by adding unrefined sugarcane to boiling water. Let both for about three minutes remove both pots from the fire. Add the sweet agua de panela to the coffee and enjoy a piping hot cup of Tinto.
This Cuban coffee culture is typical in workplaces. A Colada contains up to six shots of Cuban-style espresso. The coffee is usually served in a large styrofoam cup along with small, plastic cups for sharing. It’s the perfect afternoon pick me up for you and your compañeros.