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https://havanatimes.org/diaries/safie-m-gonzalez/we-love-our-coffee-yet-its-pretty-much-banned/

 

By Safie M. Gonzalez

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Brands of pure Cuban coffee.

HAVANA TIMES – Coffee is much more than a drink to help us Cubans kick start off the day. It’s an excuse to meet with someone, a social get together. If somebody comes to visit you at home, the tradition is to offer them a steaming hot cup of coffee.

To us there’s nothing like pure Cuban coffee. However, unfortunately, most Cubans cannot enjoy this coffee, it’s simply out of our reach. This might be something many of you did not know.

Cuban coffee enjoys international fame. Countries like Japan and France take delight in our black nectar. In today’s Cuba, 90% of the coffee grown is in the provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago, Granma and Holgun. Santiago is the leading producer. In the center of the island Sancti Spíritus, Cienfuegos and Villa Clara account for 7%, while in the west, Pinar del Rio and Artemisa produce 3%.

The coffee tree was introduced by Jose Antonio Gelabert in the 18th century. Later, French colonialists imported their own production methods. When the Cuban Revolution took place in 1959, Cuba was an important exporter of coffee.  

But in the early 1960s, the Cuban coffee industry took a huge dive after nationalization and the US trade embargo, which is perhaps why many Western countries haven’t had the privilege of enjoying a delicious cup of Cuban coffee.

Cubita, Serrano, Regil, Arriero, Turquino and more recently Guantanamera, are some of the marketing brands of Cuban coffee, sold to the public at US dollar equivalent prices but in our two local currencies.  

The coffee / chickpea blend
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The Coffee mixed with ground chickpeas that most Cubans are able to drink. It’s sold in small quantities on the ration booklet.

Hola is a coffee sold in bodega stores, via the ration booklet. This coffee is mixed with ground chickpeas. Over time, the percentage of chickpeas has increased and sometime, this Hola coffee neither smells or tastes like coffee.

Always making magic with thin air, Cubans buy a packet of pure coffee (when they can) and mix it with Hola. This way, they are able to make it last longer and give it a little more aroma and flavor of a fine cup of Cuban coffee.

With this global crisis because of the pandemic, all kinds of coffee have disappeared from “normal” stores. Now you can only find it in the new dollar stores. Anyone unable to buy it will have to make do with the Hola packet named after a greeting. However, it is more than a greeting, it’s a farewell to our true coffee.

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Coffee is for drinking.
 

Chickpeas are for throwing at your little sister when Mom’s not watching...

I thought everyone knew this. 

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I prefer my chickpeas smashed, and spread on pita chips.  Little roasted pepper added is always welcome.

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Do the chickpeas do anything other than take up space in the bag? I would think it wouldn't be too hard to find something that better matches the color of the coffee if they're just looking for filler.

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12 hours ago, BuzzArd said:

Coffee is for drinking.
 

Chickpeas are for throwing at your little sister when Mom’s not watching...

I thought everyone knew this. 

Chickpeas should only be used for hummus.... which can be thrown at your little sister using a spoon catapult. :lol3:

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Could be quite nice, like a Navajo coffee? They use toasted flour.

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  I sometimes like the ersatz coffees for a change of pace every once in a while, Camp Coffee (Chicory) is one that springs to mind. I think I like it on my terms though, I don't think I'd have as find memories if it was the only choice..

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“With this global crisis because of the pandemic, all kinds of coffee have disappeared from “normal” stores.“

Nothing to do with the pandemic. It may have worsened the situation, but it’s not its cause. Since revolution, the growing area and produced amounts have dropped more or less continuously. 

Today, Cuba exports almost everything and imports cheaper Vietnamese Robusta qualities in return. Cuban coffee for the local market? Dream about it!

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Is this done with dried chickpeas or fresh chickpeas?  Dried ones would tough be on the coffee grinder.  You'd think they would use Chicory instead as was commonplace in the States.

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Odd. I recall hearing that this coffee/chickpea mix was used during Cuba's "special period". It's a shame that locals can't enjoy their own spoils.  :( 

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I wonder if Nespresso is using this blend for their 2020 Cuba pods. 😂

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Chicpeas have been used in the local coffee as far back as I can remember. It is not a recent thing. BTW, once the CUC goes out the "libreta de abastecimiento" or ration card will be eliminated as well. So these products may disappear in the next few months. John 

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oddly enough i had naan and hummus for breakfast ...with coffee LOL

Breakfast of champions!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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18 hours ago, JohnnyO said:

Chicpeas have been used in the local coffee as far back as I can remember. It is not a recent thing. BTW, once the CUC goes out the "libreta de abastecimiento" or ration card will be eliminated as well. So these products may disappear in the next few months. John 

Right as for the coffee. And similar has long been a means in times of need or war times, also in other countries (going even as far as to using ground pea and lupin to even acorn or bark as filler...).

But - any bet, the libreta system, one of the first instalments of the revolution, is there to stay, as long as you‘ll find Fidel and Ché looking down from murals in the streets of Habana.

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Chickpea in coffee. Well I never....Sounds horrible. I feel like coffee should be pure. I can't imagine the flavour mix. Will try out of curiosity if I'm ever there!

Anyone else on chickpea pasta? Wife has me on chickpea pasta. Needs lots of sauce. Lots.

 

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4 hours ago, Fugu said:

Right as for the coffee. And similar has long been a means in times of need or war times, also in other countries (going even as far as to using ground pea and lupin to even acorn or bark as filler...).

But - any bet, the libreta system, one of the first instalments of the revolution, is there to stay, as long as you‘ll find Fidel and Ché looking down from murals in the streets of Habana.

The government has already said they will eliminate the libreta once the CUC gets phased out. Many people are sweating this. The chickpeas are just filler, it waters down the flavor. If you use it on an electric expresso machine, it eventually jams it up and explodes. Oh, and I think Fidel and Che are "looking up". John

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1 hour ago, JohnnyO said:

 Oh, and I think Fidel and Che are "looking up". John

Bravo

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4 hours ago, JohnnyO said:

Oh, and I think Fidel and Che are "looking up". John

He was referring to looking from their murals on buildings so definitely down in that case. But point taken.

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10 hours ago, JohnnyO said:

The government has already said they will eliminate the libreta once the CUC gets phased out. Many people are sweating this. The chickpeas are just filler, it waters down the flavor. If you use it on an electric expresso machine, it eventually jams it up and explodes. Oh, and I think Fidel and Che are "looking up". John

True indeed!

I know all this, John (and wasn’t contradicting you re coffee), but thanks for the clarification anyway.

This is by far not the first time such had been announced. I think the very first time was as early as in 1962 already, in that it was supposed to be just a temporal measure from its very beginnings on.... 😉

Thing is, the libreta system is crap and injust (I don’t tell you news here). But without it - and without any substantial socio-political and economic changes being brought in in parallel - it’s going to be even crappier.

But we shall see. Last time I checked, it was celebrating its 58th anniversary with even heavier rationing than ever before..

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5 hours ago, Bijan said:

He was referring to looking from their murals on buildings so definitely down in that case. But point taken.

Thanks mate, exactly. To be precise - I was figuratively alluding  to an end of the current system!

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