Every morning before school, I’d wake up to the familiar clink-clink-clink of a spoon stirring around a metal cup as my dad toiled over the morning’s coffee. The smell of roasting Bustelo wafting toward my bedroom only meant my dad would come lumbering in any second now to drag me out of bed and into my school uniform.
As an adult, the daily clink-clink-clink sound became the promise of an awesome, new day. Sweet, delicious cafecito is here to punch you in your face, and you’re going to like it.
A cafecito, or Cuban espresso, is basically an espresso shot that is sweetened with sugar while it’s being brewed. It’s pure electricity running through your veins. Side effects include increased productivity, hallucinating rainbows and unicorns, and falling madly in love with the person who made it for you. I’ve experienced several episodes where I’d walk around the office in a post-cafecito daze, wondering if I’ve developed feelings for the office cleaning staff.
A colada is just a larger, more shareable version of a cafecito. It’s a caffeinated orgy full of complicated emotions. Be careful with whom you share coladas with.
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
- Espresso machine
- Metal cup
- Another random cup
- Metal spoon (a plastic one will do, but metal is better – you’ll see why in a second.
1. Fill your espresso machine with the coffee grounds. Squeeze it in, pack it in tight. The more you can get in there, the punchier it’ll be.
2. Add 2 big spoonfuls of sugar to your metal coffee cup. I’m crazy, so I do it freehand.
3. Turn on the machine and capture the first couple of coffee drops with your metal cup, just enough to moisten the sugar. Quickly replace with another (empty) cup to catch the rest of the coffee. I’ve heard from several sources that the first few drops of coffee are the most critical. It’s been said to be the most aromatic and to contain the most oil (making the result much more syrupy.) Others just say it’s tradition. I say, don’t angry the Cuban coffee gods and make sure you catch those first few drops.
4. Stir the moistened sugar vigorously with your metal spoon. Stir it like you freakin’ mean it. Seriously. Do a little dance while you’re stirring it. Make that clink-clink-clink noise, goddamnit. Do it until it turns light brown, then do it some more.
5. Slowly pour the rest of the coffee into your metal cup. Stir it to make sure all of the sugar dissolves. Serve it immediately to people who will now love you forever.
If you’re that unlikeable son-of-a-bitch at the office, or there’s a special someone you want to impress (note: gringos love coladas) make them a cafecito, or share a colada with them. At the very least, you’ll get an ego-boosting fist-bump the next day.