A Story Of Love, Pride And Cuban Coffee

Originally published on July 11, 2013 11:50 am

As often as they can, Kelly Woodward and her fiance hop on Skype at 3:05 in the afternoon.

The Chicago native is now in Miami full-time leading Miami Food Tours. Her Colombian husband-to-be is in grad school at Notre Dame.

Their 3:05 chats are a excuse to catch up, but it’s mostly about Cuban coffee.

A movement began to make 3:05 p.m. the official Cuban coffee time of Miami. What started organically by a Miami PR rep Jenny Lee Molina has now been officially recognized by the city.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Kenny Malone from WLRN in Miami reports.

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A quick recipe for our next story. Start some espresso brewing, put a lot of sugar into a carafe and then let the first drips of that espresso fall onto the sugar. Let the rest of the coffee drip into another empty carafe and go back to that sugar-coffee mix and whip it into a paste.


YOUNG: Then when the espresso is finished brewing, mix that into the sugar paste. And if you've done this right, you'll get a sugary foam on top called espumita. It's the key to great Cuban coffee or cafecito.

A warning, though, you're only supposed to drink about a thimble at a time. Even so, it's the lifeblood of Miami. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Kenny Malone from WLRN in Miami has this story of love, pride and Cuban coffee.


KENNY MALONE, BYLINE: Kelly Woodward and Camilo Medina have been a couple for about five years. Four of those years have been long-distance.

CAMILO MEDINA: Hola, bonita.

KELLY WOODWARD: Hola, loquito.

MEDINA: How are you?

WOODWARD: Bien. E tu?


MALONE: Kelly hails from Chicago. Camilo is from Colombia. They met in Miami. They watched sunsets, they drank Cuban coffee, they fell in love and got engaged.

Now, Camilo is Indiana getting a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Notre Dame. Kelly is still in Miami. On these Skype dates they talk about their day, their wedding plans, but ultimately these are coffee dates.

MEDINA: What about you? What are you drinking today?

WOODWARD: I made an espresso. I was going to make with Pilon on the stove top, but I couldn't find the Pilon.

MEDINA: Oh, no.

WOODWARD: I did it the easy way.

MALONE: Pilon is a traditional brand of espresso used for Cuban coffee. And Cuban coffee is a traditional drink used to give people a taste of their former life and a blitz of energy to deal with the madness of their new life. Skype is obviously a very new way to share that experience. Camilo raises his cup to the screen.

MEDINA: Cheers. It's nearly 3:05, so...


MEDINA: ...so it's officially cafecito time. Salud.


WOODWARD: Oh, I should tweet it to Jenny.

JENNY LEE MOLINA: It was a hot and steamy afternoon in South Beach, Florida.

MALONE: Yes, that is Jenny, Jenny Lee Molina, born in South Florida to Cuban parents. She runs a PR firm in town. The story she's telling, it happened about a year ago.

MOLINA: And I asked my friend as we were ordering Cuban coffee, as we usually do after lunch, what time it was, you know, and he's like, it's 3:05. And I was like 3:05? That's perfect, perfect Cuban coffee time.


MALONE: 305, Miami's area code, has become a symbol of local pride for young Miamians. Occasionally, it even shows up in songs like this one by Pitbull. And it just happens that 3:05 P.M. is also a perfect time for an afternoon caffeine jolt.

MOLINA: And it was just one of those funny moments, very candid. I took a picture of my Cuban coffee.

MALONE: And she tweeted it, #305cafecito.

MOLINA: And before I knew it, other people were doing the same thing at 3:05.

MALONE: A picture from a Miami expat in Wisconsin with snow in the background showed up, another one from a Miami City official's Twitter account. Jenny even heard that the receptionist at a Miami foundation started making Cuban coffee for the office at 2:57 so it'll be ready at 3:05.

Last April, about a year after that first tweet, Jenny organized a rally for Cuban coffee fans. More than 100 people showed up. And just days before the event, Jenny received a rather official-looking certificate.

MOLINA: I just thought it was like a congratulation.

MALONE: That's Jenny at the rally. She was holding in her hands an official proclamation from the City of Miami.

MOLINA: Yeah. It says: It is therefore just and appropriate that our local officials on behalf of our citizens pause in deliberations to honor the concept of unifying Miami's Cuban coffee devotees daily at 3:05, now Miami's official coffee break time.

MALONE: The recognition brought tears to Jenny's eyes. And as silly as it sounds for Kelly Woodward and Camilo Medina, the 3:05 cafecito movement has helped them with a long-distance relationship. They've been trying to schedule their Skype coffee dates as close to 3:05 as they can, even though it's one of the busiest times of the day for both of them.

WOODWARD: I mean, that's how we made it work so this long, sort of a long-distance relationship because we set aside time for each other and to share different things, I mean, thoughts, coffee, problems, so..

MALONE: So next time you notice the clock hit 3:05, whether you're in Wisconsin, Indiana, Boston, take a breath, take a sip of coffee if you got it and just recognize it is officially cafecito time somewhere. For HERE & NOW, I'm Kenny Malone in Miami.


YOUNG: Jeremy has marked his calendar, any excuse...



It's cafecito time.

YOUNG: Any excuse. By the way, we know we have new listeners in Florida and across the country today. Welcome.

HOBSON: And I'm sure you've got some things you like about the show, maybe even - maybe some things you don't like about the show. But feel free to write to us and let us know. We are at hereandnow.org.

YOUNG: Incoming.


YOUNG: I'm Robin Young.

HOBSON: I'm Jeremy Hobson. This is HERE & NOW from NPR and WBUR Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.