In a previous post where I shared my recipe for Chilean eggs, I realized I couldn’t have breakfast without coffee. I’m not a caffeine addict. Really, I’m not! I went for 6 years without caffeine in my 30s. I just love the taste of coffee. I am a coffee snob and I like to freshly grind my beans. I made it a game with my daughter when she was just a couple of months old, and now every time I start the grinder, she does a little toddler jig while the beans grind. I go back and forth between loving my Melita and getting bored with it. These days I use a Bialetti stove-top espresso maker (3-cup version). It makes a great cup of strong coffee. I make a strong cafe con leche by scalding whole milk in a pan and adding it to my coffee.
For a special treat, I’ll make a Cuban-style cafe con leche. It’s my version of that bullet-proof coffee that everyone is talking about these days. I grew up in lower Manhattan, and my building was right next door to a really amazing restaurant called Brisas Del Caribe. Sadly, it’s no longer in business, like most things that were great about that neighborhood. Everything I do in the kitchen with rice and black beans and maduros and tostones starts with a memory of the wonderful food at Brisas. My favorite drink with all of that? A hot sweet cafe con leche.
It turns out this style of making cafe con leche, which I always thought was Cuban, is actually Miami-Cuban, to be more correct (no wonder I could never find this particular taste in Havana! In my experience hey like their cafecitos without milk – just a nice strong espresso coffee with or without sugar). The addition of butter and salt started in Miami by Cuban immigrants there. I’ve never been to Miami, but I know that I’ll be in search of the best cafe con leche when I finally get there!
Miami-style Cuban coffee made with a sliver of butter and a pinch of salt. YUM
- Espresso coffee (roughly 1/3 cup)
- Scalded milk (roughly 2/3 cup)
- sliver of butter
- pinch of salt
- unbleached sugar, agave or sweetener of your choice (sweetener is traditionally added, but optional)
Brew your dark coffee (preferably espresso), pour into cup. Add a sliver of butter, salt and sweetener and stir until butter is melted. Add a generous amount of scalded milk.