Gourmet Style: Cafe Canadiano

So it’s a cold, snowy winter’s day in February, in the Great White North. and as you slog through the whirling curtain of fluffy flakes you’d probably get to dreaming, for some it’s California Dreamin’; or so the song goes; but for me it’s a lust for the home of all warmth and fine-cigars, Cuba. I may be all too painfully aware that I am wading through a sea of white snow in Canada, rather than a beach of white-sand in Cuba, but I get a hunger for just a taste of paradise. Sure one could always grab a Habanos from the humidor, but half-hour long smoking sessions and bitter cold lead to the not so delightful condition I like to term sausage-fingers.

As I get to thinking about those times when I felt warmth, comforting warmth that seems to start from within the seat of your emotions. I get a flash of sitting at the beach-side coffee-bar, on the western-tip of the Varadero peninsula with the Florida Keys just barely peeking over the horizon, sipping on what the bar had called a Cafe Americano. It was almost heaven, despoiled only by the vastly inferior Russian-made, American-styled whiskey.

But where the Cubans suffer from the lack of certain luxuries for geo-political reasons, I, here in my frosty native land am free to enjoy the very finest of things. So if you have about 15 minutes to labour over a single drink here is what you do for the perfect cup of beautiful, luxurious coffee…

First I started with whole-roasted 100% Arabica Cafe Serrano, I picked this up in Cuba, but it can be had for purchase in finer grocers in Canada. I hand-ground the beans to a course consistency in my stone-mortar. I french-pressed the coffee as the steeping of the grind brings out so much more of the flavors, use filtered-water brought just to a light boil and leave to steep for 5 minutes before pressing for best results. I served my coffee in a 350 ml clear glass beer-mug, and into, before pouring the coffee went the secret ingredients 1/2 ounce of standard chocolate syrup, and 1 ounce of Canadian Club Small Batch Classic 12 Whiskey. Forget about Russian knock-off bourbon, This 12 year numbered cask limited edition, like all classic CC is perfect for mixing because of it’s trademark smoothness. Add in the mocha-shot and the smell is heavenly. The best thing about the Cuban coffee is that you can drink it without any creme, milk or added-sugar…

So there I sat, on the terrace, in a t-shirt, with a blizzard swirling around me as thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of my labour, warmed to the very soul, in chocolate ribbons of toffee, vanilla, spicy rye, and playfully dark coffee tones. Most probably the best cup of coffee I have ever had…

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