Caribbean coffee

Somehow I never managed to become addicted to coffee and only drink it when it is a really good one, so my barista knowledge is limited. I was wondering if somebody could tell me if there is anything in particular that is characteristic of Caribbean coffee, be it in terms of preparation, desired qualities or addition of any kind, aside from the fact that some of the best beans to begin with are a given. Obviously there is a difference between an Italian made, Turskish and American coffee for example...What makes Caribbean coffee (cup as opposed to bean) Caribbean?

  • Posted by: Droplet
  • October 15, 2012


Droplet October 17, 2012
Thanks a lot beyondcelery! I knew there has got to be something out there.
And thanks for catching my mistake, it was unintentional--I did mean chicory.
beyondcelery October 17, 2012
The only thing I can think of is the Cuban shot: espresso that's pulled through a portafilter that has demerara sugar added. The sugar caramelizes from the heat of the espresso machine as the shots are pulled and the end result is an espresso with an added caramelly sweetness. I've also seen plain raw sugar used. It's delicious espresso, but you won't always find people willing to pull shots like this because the caramelized sugar can harm the portafiler and grouphead of the espresso machine, especially if it isn't cleaned properly immediately after pulling the Cuban shot.
Maedl October 16, 2012
PS--In New Orleans, chicory, not hickory, is added to coffee. Although the thought of hickory-smoked coffee is interesting--might be just the drink with your hickory-smoked bacon at breakfast!
Maedl October 16, 2012
It could be that it's the type of coffee grown in the Caribbean that you like, rather than a style of coffee brewing. Perhaps you drank coffee made from good-quality Jamaican Blue Mountain beans--that is a mild coffee that could be very appealing. There is also a certified coffee--bird-friendly coffee--that the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and National Zoo has been promoting for quite a few years now. It is basically organic coffee harvested from trees that grow under the canopy of taller trees. It is also called shade-grown coffee and is generally recognized as an environmentally good way to produce coffee beans.
Droplet October 15, 2012
For clarity's sake and with intentional simplification, you could say that Italian coffee has the beautiful crema on top, Turkish coffee is boiled in a it's special pot, served in demitasse cups and almost always leaves a sediment on the bottom, and American coffee for the most part is relatively watery drip-method coffee. In New Orleans you'd get hickory in your coffee and in France you often get a dollop of whipped cream in your cup. I just got curious as to whether there exists any established Caribbean coffee tradition, such as cane sugar only, or, yes, rum served by default or on request, that isn't an outlandish barista trick or a trademark only.
HalfPint October 17, 2012
you meant chicory, not hickory, right?
ChefOno October 15, 2012

The only time I can remember a reference to "Caribbean Coffee" it was to a drink made with a shot of dark rum.

As for Jamaican beans, well, let's just say "tastes vary". The best JBM is clean and very mild; most of what is sold is something else entirely.

Droplet October 17, 2012
ChefOno, do you happen to have any recommendations for sourcing good quality genuine JBM? Thanks.
ChefOno October 17, 2012

Sorry, I don't. JBM presents a number of problems and none of the dealers I work with will handle it. Here's what one has to say:

ChefOno October 17, 2012

Seeing as you're not a coffee aficionado, perhaps developing a taste for the much older and more famous Jamaican beverage would be a good tack? The quality is excellent, supply is good, prices competitive, and, at least in my opinion, more enjoyment per cup.

sdebrango October 15, 2012
There are certain coffee beans grown in the Caribbean e.g Jamaican Blue Mountain among others, I am not sure that there is a special preparation or method but I could be wrong. I know that a cup of Caribbean coffee is a cup of coffee brewed with coffee beans that were grown there. I have been on vacation in Jamaica and the coffee I was served was Jamaican blue mountain prepared in a french press they served it with sweetened condensed milk rather than cream and sugar.
gheanna October 15, 2012
Could you maybe give us some more clarifications on what drink you're thinking about? Turkish coffee is called Turkish due to the grind and the pot, but we are unfamiliar with any method of Caribbean coffee — there is such thing as a Caribbean mocha, but not drip coffee per se.
Recommended by Food52