coffee

Making something like café cubano

Let’s talk about my favorite hot coffee drink: the café cubano. I’ve talked a about coffee and I’ve shared some recipes, but I wanted to document the progress I’ve made in making my all-time favorite recipe. I’ll admit right now that my café cubano is not ‘real’ café cubano because I don’t actually make ‘real’ espresso at home nor do I use a moka pot—I don’t have a moka pot, but I’d like to get one at some point. My partner and I use an Aeropress. This is also not made for a demitasse cup because I like a me-sized drink of coffee, and I don’t have demitasse cups yet—I’d like to change that, though. Maybe I should call this café ameri-cubano… I feel like a fraud.

It took me a lot of trial and error in the beginning to get it just right. And the best part is that I starting making café cubano like this because I got it mixed up with the café con leche that I had at Taste of Havana in Indianapolis. Of course, I wouldn’t have figured it out without My Big Fat Cuban Family and MokaBees’ YouTube video. The real MVP is my partner who’s Puerto Rican and super into Cuban food—she’s the one who got me into all of this!

Also, since my post the other day, I have tried Brioso Coffee’s cubano. I was actually a bit disappointed. Like my own concoction, it was somewhere between a café cubano and a café con leche, but it didn’t quite meet either of those expectations. It wasn’t sweet at all—and the coffee was a bit overwhelmed by the half-and-half. I’ll stick to Pablo’s Havana Cafe. (But I will say that Brioso Coffee’s Chillin’ like a Villain was incredible—it was a nice mix of coffee and chai spices.)

Greyson’s AeroPress-for-two method (for café ameri-cubano)

I recently shared my “Greyson’s AeroPress-for-two method” method in another post, and I use it to make Café Bustelo for two. I said, realistically, if I use Café Bustelo (which I usually do), I use 4.5 scoops or 3 heaping scoops and about 23 cup of water. In particular, for café cubano, I only dilute out to 10:1 because I want it to be strong when mixed with the sugar.

  • 51 g of coffee to 155 g of water at 200 °F (3:1, diluted to 10:1)
  • 70 seconds of brewing time
    • In 10 seconds, saturate all grounds
    • After adding in all of the water, stir firmly
    • At 60 seconds, plunge for 30 seconds
    • Dilute with 385 g of water (for about two 8-oz servings)
    • Pour evenly over espuma mixture while stirring firmly

You can pour all of the coffee over all of the espuma/espumita mixture, but I find it easier to make two separate espuma mixtures at the bottom of two different mugs. Don’t worry—I’ll explain how to make the espuma mixture because that’s the most fun part!

Espuma mixture recipe

You want a 1:4 ratio of pre-diluted very hot coffee to (white or demerera/turbinado) sugar, and I usually use 1:4 teaspoons for a 8-oz serving of coffee. I usually just put this straight into the bottom of my mug (before I pour the coffee into the mug, of course) so I don’t have to do any extra steps like pouring into another mug.

  • 1 tsp of pre-diluted very hot coffee to 4 tsp of sugar (4:1)
  • A couple of minutes of putting your arm into it 
    • Whisk the mixture until it turns a light caramel color and you can see bubbles
    • Pour coffee evenly over espuma mixture while stirring firmly

You can stir it, but it’s easier to whisk it. I bought some small whisks for my partner, my best friend, and I to use just for this purpose. Then, because I could, I got a flat-bottom/bar whisk like this one on Amazon or this one on Amazon to help me get at the corners of my mug—if you can find one not on Amazon, then more power to you!

Playing with New Orleans cold brew and iced coffee

Here are a few more coffee recipes. These deal with making my favorite cold coffee drink: a New Orleans iced coffee. The important thing is that you need a coffee blend with chicory in it, or, of course, you can get a dark roast coffee and add chicory to it.

Blue Bottle’s New Orleans cold brew method

Paraphrased from their site.

  • 368 g of coffee to 2000 g of water at room temperature (5:1)
  • 12 hours of brewing time
    • Steep for 12 hours
    • Add 4 tbsp of simple syrup
    • Serve 1:1 (whole) milk to cold brew

NYT’s New Orleans cold brew method

Paraphrased from their site.

  • 454 g of coffee to 2366 g of water at room temperature (5:1)
  • 12 hours of brewing time
    • Steep for 12 hours
    • Serve 3–4:1 milk to cold brew

Crimson Cup’s New Orleans iced coffee (cold brew) method

Straight from the mouth of a very kind manager at Crimson Cup. The recipe is, that is. Well, I mean, it is paraphrased, obviously. Anyway, I had to ask because the New Orleans iced coffee at Crimson Cup is delicious, which is exactly why I got into trying to replicate it.

  • 5 lb of coffee to 5 gallons of water (8:1)
  • 24 hours of brewing time
    • Steep for 24 hours
    • Add a splash of simple syrup and half-and-half to a 12-oz serving
    • Pour over ice to make a 16-oz drink

Greyson’s New Orleans iced coffee Aeropress method

The best way I’ve found to get a quick fix when I forget to make cold brew.

  • 35 g of coffee to 175 g of water at 200 °F (5:1, diluted by ice to ~8:1)
  • 150 seconds of brewing time
    • In 10 seconds, saturate all grounds
    • After adding in all of the water, stir firmly
    • At 120 seconds, plunge for 30 seconds
    • Add 1 tbsp of simple syrup
    • Pour over ~170 g of ice, which should melt a lot
    • Add 1 tbsp of half-and-half

My collection of coffee recipes

I’ve collected more than a few coffee recipes. Six of these recipes are for the Aeropress, and one recipe is for a French press or a Clever Coffee Dripper. Regarding the Aeropress, I always use the inverted method, and I always use a metal mesh filter—metal filters will let oils through, resulting in a fuller and more syrupy coffee, and paper filters result in a brighter and cleaner cup.

I do not mistake myself for a coffee connoisseur. I know only just enough about coffee to know that I hardly know anything at all. I do, however, consider myself a well-meaning coffee enthusiast and budding café hobbyist! Don’t worry—I’m not planning on telling you my life story. No pictures to get in your way either. Just take a look at some good recipes!

(But I do recommend the Coffee Compass—it’s a really neat graphic!)

Stumptown’s AeroPress method

A popular method that I am paraphrasing from their site.

  • 17 g of coffee to 220 g of water at 205 °F (13:1)
  • 75 seconds of brewing time
    • In 10 seconds, saturate all grounds
    • After adding all of the water, stir a bit
    • At 75 seconds, plunge

Blue Bottle’s AeroPress method

A popular method that I am paraphrasing from their site, and they also make New Orleans cold brew that’s supposed to be really good.

  • 15–18 g of coffee to 200 g of water at 200 °F (11–13:1)
  • 60 seconds of brewing time
    • Add 30–36 g of water, stir gently
    • At 30 seconds, add the remaining water
    • At 60 seconds, stir 10 times
    • Plunge

Brioso Coffee’s AeroPress method

Brioso Coffee is a local (Columbus, OH) coffee shop that’s supposed to have a great café cubano—a drink that I love—, but I haven’t been there yet. Recipe paraphrased from here.

  • 11.5 g of coffee to 180 g of water at 200 °F (16:1)
  • 130 seconds of brewing time
    • Add all of the water
    • Stir for 10 seconds
    • Steep for 60 seconds
    • Plunge for 60 seconds

Boston Stoker’s AeroPress method

Boston Stoker is a local (Columbus, OH) coffee shop with a great breakfast sandwich. Their coffee is good too, of course. Recipe paraphrased from here.

  • 20 g of coffee to 230 g of water at 203 °F (12:1)
  • 180 seconds of brewing time
    • Add 30 g of water, and stir
    • Add remaining 200 g of water
    • Steep for 180 seconds
    • Plunge

Crimson Cup’s AeroPress method

Crimson Cup is a local (Columbus, OH) coffee shop with a great New Orleans iced coffee and a great spirit. Recipe paraphrased from here.

  • 17 g of coffee to 220 g of water at 199 °F (13:1)
  • 120 seconds of brewing time
    • Bloom with 30 g of water for 25 seconds
    • Add the remaining 190 g of water
    • At 45 seconds, stir
    • At 85 seconds, stir again
    • At 90 seconds, plunge for 30 seconds

Greyson’s AeroPress-for-two method

This is what I’ve been doing for months now at this point.

  • 51 g of coffee to 155 g of water at 200 °F (3:1, diluted to 10–13:1)
  • 150 seconds of brewing time
    • In 10 seconds, saturate all grounds
    • After adding in all of the water, stir firmly
    • At 120 seconds, plunge for 30 seconds
    • Dilute with 385–505 g of water (for about two 8–11-oz mugs)

Realistically, if I use Café Bustelo (which I usually do), I use 4.5 scoops or 3 heaping scoops, about 2/3 cup of water, and I cut the brewing time in half because of the fine grind.

French Press (or Clever Dripper) method

Of course, I might spice it up with the James Hoffman method.

  • 17 g of coffee to 255 g of water at 200 °F (15:1)
  • 4.5 minutes of brewing time
    • Bloom with 35 g of water for 30 seconds
    • Add in the remaining 220 g of water
    • Steep for 4 minutes
    • Press the filter slowly near until near the bottom of the slurry
    • Pour

For the Clever Dripper, the last steps just change to releasing the coffee into the mug. Realistically, if I use Café Bustelo (which I usually do), I use 1.5 scoops or 1 heaping scoops, about 1 cup of water, and I reduce the brewing time to 1.5 minutes because of the fine grind.

It’s a life update! 4

First of all, I want to apologize for the dry month on my blog. It’s good news, not bad news. I’ll start by saying that I have started GMing tabletop RPGs again! (Oh wait. I said that in my end of April report.) More on that a bit farther down.

Well, my new mechanical keyboard did finally come in a couple of weeks ago. It’s an HK Gaming × Durgod Hades 68 with Gateron Silent Brown switches. I love it so much. It’s like my Vortex Pok3r but quieter, better quality, and with arrow keys. Maybe I’ll do a more formal review sometime!

As the COVID-19 era continues, I have remained quite politically charged. At some point, it’s not even about politics. I bought two reusable masks for me and my partner, and we wear them whenever we go out. I’m not a sheep. No one’s rights are being infringed. It’s uncomfortable, sure, but I am an unselfish person, so I am willing to sacrifice a tiny bit of comfort to help in the effort of taking care of humankind. Furthermore, I wear mine for those who can’t wear one. It’s like vaccines all over again. Don’t even get me started.

My arm is just about back to its old self, but I am now doing physical therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction. It seems like the pain from my infection has my nerves and muscles all in a bind where they just don’t want to chill out, and trying some physical therapy sounded like a better option than jumping straight into nerve surgery. I’ll freely admit that I’m a wimp about that stuff. Ick. I was actually the one who suggested it to my urologist (it was an informed idea backed by medical papers—I’m not one of those patients). He was totally on board with the idea! Which was great for me. I’d much rather do stretches and yoga, and my physical therapist is awesome. I’m continuing virtual therapy and Al-Anon as well. It’s wonderful as always. It’s important to accept and seek help. Doing so can sometimes be a better show of ‘strength’ than just trying to go it alone.

I haven’t played any video games. It’s been weird.

I have kept up on my coffee game. I just got a bunch of pre-ground coffee from an international market. Don’t get me wrong. I love grinding my own beans. I just also love not having to take the time to grind beans whenever I want coffee. Plus, I like cheap Cuban espresso for café cubano. My espuma has been consistently good, so I’m really happy with that, and I’ve been experimenting with chicory to make New Orleans iced coffee as well. I also donated some coffee to local front-line workers with the little extra money I do have to spend right now.

I’ve been re-watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars with my partner. We’ve also been watching a lot of Psychology in Seattle and James Hoffman videos on YouTube.

Oh, and the Steve Jackson Games Summer 2020 T-Shirt Collection has three days left on Kickstarter. You know I’m all about that Basic Set shirt. Plus, they’re supporting a local printing company to get these shirts made. It’s worth every penny.

On that note, yes, the rumors are true—I’ve been GMing again. It started out as Fate, but I quickly missed GURPS. So, I started integrating some rules. Well, then it turned into GURPS with some Fate rules integrated. It’s a fun system, and I will have to go into more detail soon. Well, what about the setting? I mean, obviously, I went with Deadlands. More on that later too!

I’ll try to squeeze out another post between now and my end of the month report, and I will make good effort into getting a bit more published in June!

It’s a life update! 3

It’s been almost a year since my last life update.

Believe it or not, I did beat Bioshock Infinite. I have to say that it was a pretty good game, and I’m usually not that interested in shooters.

I also beat Gris. It was a short and sweet game just as I had expected.

Pillars of Eternity was also an interesting experience. I love RPGs, but it was actually my first real foray into real-time with pause combat. I can’t say that I enjoyed that part of it too much, but everything else was really great—well, except for all of the loading screens. The story and the world were very interesting, and it provided me with a lot of creative fuel.

SteamWorld Dig 2 and SteamWorld Heist were awesome, of course. After beating SteamWorld Dig, I expected nothing less. I really enjoyed the turn-based shooting combat in SteamWorld Heist, and the music by Steam Powered Giraffe was absolutely amazing. I still listen to it. Plus, the Western vibes sparked ideas that led to my NaNoWriMo 2019 Project.

I’ve been playing a bunch of Deep Rock Galactic. I think that game has made it into my list of all-time favorites—it’s become my most played game on Steam! Rock and stone, brother!

At the behest of my BFF, I also watched Fringe. All of it. Unfortunately. No, not unfortunately, but the show started to drag and became very predictable in the later seasons, and that’s ignoring the plot holes. We watched a lot of it at ×1.5 speed. It was a fun sci-fi show, but it wasn’t anything close to as revolutionary as watching Battlestar Galactica.

Now, I’m re-watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars with my partner (as she’s never seen it before) so we can watch the latest season. We recently watched all of the Star Wars movies so she could finally experience them all for the first time, and she’s quite impressed that an animated series was actually able to make Anakin into a good character. Obviously, I agree.

I’ve been working on my coffee game. Using an Aeropress is nice, and I’ve recently ditched ‘good’ coffee for Café Bustelo. I’m trying to master café cubano and la espuma.

Looking back at my original life update, I didn’t end up giving a shit about Pokémon Sword and Shield. I was and still am salty about the lackluster games, and I ended up turning to ROM hacks and Temtem to fill that void (though, I haven’t actually bought Temtem yet). Super Mario Maker 2 and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled ended up falling by the wayside for me. The next Animal Crossing game is finally coming out soon, and I will definitely be snatching that right away! Baldur’s Gate 3 took the spot of Divinity: Fallen Heroes, but I’m quite happy about that. Oh, and I played some Halo: Reach, but it got boring faster than I thought it would.

Now, I did finally get around to finishing Part 7 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. It was probably my least favorite part so far.

I’ve started going to therapy again, which is always nice.

I’m still struggling with the symptoms from my infection, but they have calmed down a bit. I recently had a follow-up appointment with my doctor, and he said to monitor my symptoms a bit more closely so I could see how much they were going away. My swelling is pretty much gone, but the pain still comes and goes. Still, the doctor felt confident that the pain would resolve too; however, if it doesn’t, I could be looking at microsurgery for a nerve. Yuck.

Now, when I first wrote out the draft for this post (which was about two weeks ago), I hadn’t gone to the clinic, which also means that the big COVID-19 panic hadn’t started yet. Ohio has been on the forefront of reacting to the situation in the United States, and I am easily overwhelmed and it is quite easy for me to feel hopeless, so it has been a tough time. Luckily, just hours before things started shutting down, I was wise enough to grab about twenty boxes of (protein-packed) pasta, so things should be good here for a while. No, I did not go out and get a dozen packs of toilet paper and a dozen bottles of hand sanitizer. Preparedness is obviously important, but the people who are panic-buying just to panic-buy should slow down. At this point, OSU has online-only classes for the rest of the semester, public libraries have closed, bars have closed, and restaurants are doing pickup and delivery only. Things are changing too quickly, though, so I won’t say much else.

I did go out and vote early a few days ago just in case. Of course, I voted for Bernie Sanders, and I opted for a paper ballot. I’m doing my part, I guess.

Oh, and on an even brighter note, my life-long best friend visited me for a few days. We both really needed it, though we unfortunately didn’t get to do a lot of what we wanted to do because of how fast the COVID-19 panic was ramping up. We did start playing Doom, though. When I drove him all the way home to drop him off, I visited my family as well. It was nice to see them, bitch about politics, eat good food, and getting good feels by petting three cats and a dog.