Today is a big day. I will break my fast from coffee, my beloved coffee after 15 days. The intention was to only do 14, which was satisfied on Monday, but I miscalculated and thought it was yesterday. My partner in crime in this most ridiculous adventure — seeing as though I’ve not quartered any benefit — suggested we break tazitas together today. So, here I am on Day 16 and waiting for a late lunch to have my first shot of espresso in what seems to be an eternity and more. And then I’ll move on and relish in a moment with my Cuban cafécito with leche in the comfort of my office later today.
Flanboyant Eats turned 5 on Jan. 1st. and I completely forgot. What a milestone, no? I never thought I’d still be composing these long ass posts, telling stories of my crazy Cuban family, coupled with spectacular recounts of the trips I take here and beyond, or sharing recipes from my abuela‘s less than acceptable kitchen in Cuba and my own interpretation of Mami’s golden food. But I am and it feels pretty darn great. I looked at my first post and naturally, it was a traditional flan. It was so appropriate for the launch of a blog whose name is a double entendre on that ridiculously good dessert.
As I sifted through my archives, I also realized there’s an incredible amount of topics, traditions, and recipes I’ve not talked about. Most importantly, how to make the espresso you all know I’m addicted to. I have no idea how that even escaped the realm of possibilities. Of ALL the things you know I ritualize, the makings of my espresso is so basic to my existence that it should have been written and curated back in early 2008.
No less, I woke up today concentrating on the lunch hour. The crazy thing is that I’m not feeling well (spent the last 2 days nursing my dad who’s infected with the flu; and he’s such a baby) and think I’m coming down with something. Ironically, the first thing my palate rejects is coffee. Not acceptable today.
In my committed spirit to make this espresso tryst happen in just a bit, I thought it’d be the most appropriate time to show you how I make my coffee. I can’t count the number of times I’v been Tweeted, Facebook’d or emailed asking how to make the taza of black goodness or cup of creamy café.
So, after five years posting other equally important foods, here is how the process goes down, every morning, to the same rhythm of dancing goats.
If you’ve not ever made stovetop espresso, consider buying this Italian piece of genius. I have 10. All you need is one. Uno. It all begins there.
A quick bit of “how it works” so you know how the espresso maker yields this cup of solid deliciousness. The “machinetta” creates pressure through heat to force water through finely ground coffee (dark espresso roast) and into a serving chamber… K? There. Now that that’s out of the way…
Fill your bottom chamber with cold water all the way to the steam release valve (a little screw seen inside)
Place the funnel into the bottom chamber.
Fill the funnel with coffee, without causing it to overflow. You don’t have to scrape and even it out as you may see some baristas do at boutique shops. They’re using industry espresso machines.
Place the top chamber and twist until tightly secured.
Heat on range and let coffee brew until you hear it gurgling. You’ll hear its hiss increase as it’s almost done.
Turn off heat immediately.
Let sit for a few seconds before pouring into a cup.
Add sugar as desired. If you want a typical cubano, add 3 heaping teaspoons of sugar to one cup of espresso. A top layer of foam is another traditional and revered way of enjoying a shot of espresso. I’ve dedicated a post to mastering making espumita here.
Proceed to make what ever variety of drink you like: café con leche, cortado, macchiato, cappuccino, latté, etc…
You now have the fundamentals down!
I hope you will take the plunge and enjoy a cup of Cuban espresso with me every once in a while. Surely, this break I just took will not repeat itself for a long time to come.
I mean, who does that?!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.