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Cuba cuts coffee with peas

HAVANA – Cubans’ morning joe will be a little more bitter and a little less potent as the island returns to mixing coffee with roasted peas in a cost-saving move.

The blend is being distributed beginning this month for domestic consumption, the Interior Commerce Ministry said Tuesday. The change apparently will not affect coffee for export, for sale in pricier stores or in establishments catering to tourists.

The message also said authorities are eliminating the coffee ration for Cubans ages 0 to 6. Up until now, coffee had been allocated by number of people in a household as a way to support families.

The measure was first brought up in December by President Raul Castro, who said Cuba was paying $47 million a year on imports to meet local coffee consumption in the java-loving nation.

Like rum and cigars, coffee is an iconic product in Cuba. In the early 1960s, annual production reached 60,000 tons and Cuba was a net exporter. But last month, state-run coffee company Cubacafe director Antonio Aleman said that while the country has spent $9.5 million to modernize production in the past five years, meager harvests are falling short of annual demand of 18,000 tons of beans.


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