When I think of Cuba, several products come to mind. Music. Cigars. Rum. Nuclear missiles. But not, curiously, coffee.
Historically, Cuba was a big coffee producer; in the 1950s, exports were exceeding 20,000 tons. Post-revolution nationalisation took it’s toll, and these days Cuba actually imports twice as much coffee as it produces – small wonder, then, that we don’t see much of it on the shelves.
Recently that’s started to change. Despite the potential risk of tripping over US trade embargos, it’s becoming easier and easier to find Cuban coffee.
This is Alma de Cuba, one of a handful of new companies working directly with Cuban coffee farmers to bring their product to the UK. It arrived in a rather smart tin, although if – like me – you already have seven or eight other coffee containers, they also sell it in more conventional bags!
The grounds are medium-dark roasted, and have a relatively light aroma; gently sweet and slightly acidic lime, with a hint of darkest chocolate dancing underneath along with the barest suggestion of unrefined sugar.
Brewed, the citrus aroma is still evident but a richer, more roasted character starts to shine through as well.
In the mouth, there’s a little brown sugar sweetness and a warm, gently fruity character with very little bitterness in evidence. Over time, a more acidic tone comes through, leading to a surprisingly dry finish.
Overall, it’s a delicious, easy drinking coffee; more after-dinner than everyday for me. It’s available direct from Alma de Cuba from £7 for a standard 225g pack; because of the slightly high price, I give it 3.5 stars.
Many thanks to Alma de Cuba for this sample.