Q&A: 3:05 Cafecito Creator JennyLee Molina

August 19, 2013 | by LIANA LOZADA | Talk of the Town

Jenny Molina, 3:05 Cafecito   

JennyLee Molina, a PR pro with her own boutique firm, started the 3:05 Cafecito initiative.


JennyLee Molina calls Cuban-style espresso, (aka cafecito), “Miami's nectar.” This powerful pick-me-up is essential to many Miami residents’ daily lives, but for Molina, a Cuban-American Miami native, cafecito symbolizes culture and community. “I grew up having coffee in my milk as early as 8-years-old,” explains Molina. “My mom would stop for a huge café con leche on my way to school. I remember my dad drinking his coffee at least twice a day. It's definitely embedded in my cultural DNA.”

What's also embedded in Molina’s DNA is brand-building. Molina runs her own boutique public relations firm, JLPR Fittingly, a business meeting sprouted her 3:05 Cafecito initiative, which urges locals to adopt 3:05 p.m. as their official coffee break time, thus nodding the city’s area code. The concept has caught on, fueled primarily by social media and a #305cafecito hashtag. Back in April, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado declared 3:05 p.m. “Miami's Official Cafecito Break Time.”

With August marking National Coffee Month, Molina chatted with us about her dream coffee date and favorite coffee spots.

How was 3:05 Cafecito born?
JENNYLEE MOLINA: The idea came to me on April 3, 2012. I had a meeting with Amin De Jesus, one of my go-to creatives and just as 305-centric as I am. After lunching on Lincoln Road, we walked over to David’s Cafe on Meridian [now closed] and ordered a cafecito. When I looked at the time, it was exactly 3:05 p.m. and the light bulb went off! I took a picture of my Miami nectar and tweeted it with #305cafecito, proclaiming 3:05 p.m. as Miami's new official cafecito break.

Is your hope to make this as culturally ubiquitous as say, high tea or siesta?
JM: For me, 3:05 p.m. is the perfect time of day. It is that line of demarcation between crazy mornings, rushing to lunches, and the onset of after work planning. It’s the precursor to my second wind and the only real time I have to stop and smell the cafecito during non-stop days. I wanted to unify the Cuban coffee culture and create an online community that would enjoy sharing this mutual love for Miami's nectar. A Cuban restaurant’s coffee window is the original social network.

Break down the perfect cafecito.
JM: Start brewing some espresso, put 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. Go back to that sugar-coffee mix and whip it vigorously into a paste. It should result in a rich, smooth espresso paste. The remaining espresso is added to this paste and mixed, creating a light brown foam layer, or espumita, atop the coffee. It’s all about the espumita.

When did you learn how to make Cuban coffee?
JM: My dad taught me how when I turned 10. His friends would joke, ‘You can get married now!’ Apparently, making good Cuban coffee is a prerequisite for marriage.

Favorite places to have afternoon coffee.
JM: I love Lincoln Road. Nothing like sipping on South Beach and being on your way in the sun. I also love Little Havana for its authenticity, cute shops, and art galleries.

Dream cafecito date.
JM: I would love to have cafecito with Oprah. I really admire her and her successful career. And with Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes; I admire what he’s contributed to the world. Oh, and can I sneak Robert Downey, Jr. and Lenny Kravitz in there, too?

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