Yes I know, we often brag about SpillingTheBeans’ rare coffee selection here but with no less than 56 different coffee origins accounted for in our personal stock, including a record number of beans from most of the world’s tiniest coffee islands, we are very proud of this collection 🙂
MAR 29, 2016 (SpillingTheBeans)–Today’s Coffee of The Day is yet another exemption for the market place because even though Cuba is bigger than most coffee islands, it is one of the most interesting origins that today is starting to reach a wider consumer group and there is little need to explain the obvious policies moving the interest for Cuban coffee.
With the current excitement about the political winds of change blowing between Washington and Havana, it is even more news worthy to take a look at some of the many coffees that are produced in the mountains of Cuba, which has been a growing nation since all the way back to 1748 and remains one of the pioneers of coffee growing in the Americas.
This particular Cuban coffee is a peaberry blend from the infamous Guantanamo coffee region, and we are extremely grateful that our friend and fellow coffee apasionada Kyle Gooch shared this unique batch of beans with us.
Drinking this coffee, it’s hard not to think about this brew as being a “political coffee” on the table, mostly for all the wrong reasons connected to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp operated by the U.S.
The Guantanamo camp was, contrary to public belief, actually seized by the U.S. Navy in 1898 and is the oldest U.S. naval base overseas. With all the political issues surrounding the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Cuba since the onset of Fidel’s Castro’s Revolution in 1959, it’s hard to explain not only how the U.S. has been able to maintain its presence on Cuba all these years, but even more how the camp was turned into a terrorist detention center in 2002 after the destruction of the Twin Towers at the New York World Trade Center in the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001.
… more importantly, this “Gran Riserva Caracolillo Guantanamo Coffee” also represents a fine example of Cuba’s defiant survivor spirit, continuing its proud tradition for growing quality coffee throughout more than 50 years of political chaos, even in the face of Washington’s Economic Embargo on Havana.
Yes, in case you have any doubts, SpillingTheBeans agree with the many who believe that Guantanamo Bay should have been closed long ago and that the U.S. embargo has been a misguided policy decision ever since it first was placed on Cuba.
Cultivated at 750 meters altitude in the Sierra Maestra mountain range that rises up from the highlands just west of Guantanamo Bay which is located on the tip of Cuba’s south-eastern coast, this coffee is a 100% fully washed peaberry blend from the Typica Arabica variety presented by Gooch’s micro-roasting business Grid Coffee roasters in Canada.
According to official information from Cuba’s Ministry of Agriculture as much as 92 percent of Cuba’s coffee is grown across the highlands feeding of the fertile lands in the Sierra Maestra mountain range.
The flavors are exactly as promised and offers a very full bodied coffee with a distinct mix of chocolate and smokey flavors which I know many fans of dark roasted coffees who would really really love. It’s a very interesting and intriguing coffee, and the smokey flavor brings the unique and elegant flavors of the Mexican tequila variant Mezcal to mind and just like the Mezcal, this is truly a one-of-a-kind of coffee!
Fore more about coffee in Cuba, check out this story and interview about how Cuba is starting to revive the ailing old coffee farms with help from coffee friends in the export market;
Coffee from Cuba is – pending seasonality – regularly offered in the retail markets of Canada, the U.K. and France. If you come across any other site, please do share the link of details and drop us a note in the comment box here below — but to get started, here are three links where you can buy Cuban beans;
*In Paris, at one of SpillingTheBeans all time FAVORITE coffee companies, where you buy Cuban coffee when in season as well as over 30 other origins at La Fayette retail stores, or here online: http://boutique.malongo.com/achat/cat-cafes-en-grains-14.html
–The Malongo blend from Cuba is a very different but beautiful mix of flavor, with a delicate balanced cup of floral and light citrus notes with a bright acidity that gives it an elegant last finish!
*In the U.K.: http://www.almacuba.com/coffee/
And just before we end, here’s a few more lovely pictures to celebrate the coffee culture in Havana, which Cubans have embraced for centuries, even if socialist policies dictate a ration limited to 125-grams per person every 15 days.
Happy Coffee Drinking