Café con Leche y Pan Tostado - Breakfast of Champions

Growing up in a Cuban household means drinking coffee. A lot of coffee. And it means learning how to make coffee at an early age.

For most of us Cuban kids our first words were, “Mami. Papi. Café.”

We’re not just talking about any coffee here. We’re talking super-sweet and tasty espresso. In fact, recalling my early childhood, I think Cuban parents added coffee and sugar to our milk just to get us kids to drink it every day. It totally worked. =D

One of the biggest cultural shocks when we landed on American soil was finding out that American kids did not drink espresso in their milk for breakfast. (I felt sorry for them. I know. Shut up.)

Café con Leche. Warm milk with espresso. That was our breakfast of choice. With hot, buttered (technically grilled!) Cuban bread. Let’s just have a holy moment of silence here… Ay, Dios mio.

Could there be a better way to start the day??

Cafe con leche y pan tostado
Fast forward to the 90’s with the green-logo’d coffee houses (or Four-bucks as we affectionately called them) popping up on every corner. They were serving something they called “lattes” to caffeine-thirsty consumers for about $4 a serving. I remember reading the description and watched them make one. “Hey! That’s a Café con Leche! I’ve been drinking those since birth!”  (Okay, so I never actually said that out loud because then there would be a grumbling in the line of people needing their caffeine fix and who needs that kind of grief?)

If you do the math, that’s like over $100 dollars a month spent for something that you can make for pennies at home! Besides, no one makes a Café con leche better than a Cuban mami (or tia or abuela….).

The lovely people from the got milk? campaign are sooo on the ball here.  They know what Cuban mothers have known for years – the marriage of milk and coffee are an ideal way to get your share of calcium each day.  How cool is this mug?? 

Cafe con leche Adam

This has become Adam’s favorite morning ritual. “Mom, make me a café con leche.”
I used to make these for my brother in order to wake him up each day (so I can practically make a café con leche in my sleep, probably because I was always barely awake when making them, but that's not important right now).

Nothing says “Buenos dias” like a sweet, homemade café con leche in the morning.

Cafe con leche

Café con Leche

6 to 8 oz. milk
3 oz. espresso
1 or 2 tsp. sugar (to taste)

1) Make your Cuban coffee (espresso).
2) Heat the milk in a saucepan over high heat (I suppose you could also zap your milk in the microwave, but we’re talking “old school” here) until it barely starts to foam.
3) Pour the espresso into the bottom of the cup. Pour the hot milk on top.
4) Stir in a couple of teaspoons of sugar to taste.

Serve with Pan Tostado…

Pan Tostado

1 – 6 inch piece of Cuban bread

Spread butter on both sides of bread and grill in a sandwich press, George Forman grill, or even on the stovetop in a skillet. The idea is to get the bread buttery and flat and toasted. The seriously awesome smell of the grilled toast and hot milk with coffee will make you very popular. It's easy to make friends if you're willing to share. ;-)

Cafe con leche thief

Serve the Pan Tostado with your Café con Leche. Talk loudly and gesture a lot while you’re eating in order to experience a truly Cuban breakfast. ;-)

So because the genius got milk? people were so generous to send me an extra….I’m going to share the love. =D

Let’s do a comment giveaway. Tell me about growing up drinking café con leche. Or the best place to get one if I was in Miami. Or just tell me how much you love Cuban coffee. (I’m easy that way. =D)

Leave me a comment and I’ll do a random drawing on Wednesday at 3 pm Pacific time to pick a winner for this cool goodie bag which includes the following:

Cafe con leche kit

  • A fabulous got milk? mug.
  • A cool milk-frothing-device-thingy.
  • A packet of caramel iced-coffee mix.
  • A bunch of fabulous coffee and milk recipes.

So let’s go….let’s talk latte…..

Me on Twitter: making coffee for the 4th time today. Does this qualify me as a "barista?"

My friend Srcohiba just makes you Cuban. :-)))