The world & a cup of coffee
A tour of 35 Tampa coffee shops reveals: Cafe con leche is
the town's best selling beverage.
By JAY CRIDLIN
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 15, 2002
THE FUN NEVER STOPS at La Ideal Cafeteria. Neither does the
Aguila Jr. serves Cuban coffee to a group of men at La
Ideal recently. The group, which meets daily, includes,
from left, Ralph Granada, Louis Marchetta and Alexander
Mario Aguila Jr., the cafe's ebullient superball of a manager,
spends up to a dozen hours a day bouncing from kitchen to customer
to coffeepot to cash drawer. If the Latin music playing over the
din of the customers strikes him just right, he'll stop in his
tracks and start dancing.
Aguila serves his cafe con leche in two parts: one mug of
steamed milk, and one tiny shot of espresso.
"Some people like it dark, some people like it
light," he says. "We serve it like that and then people
can feel at home and serve it the way they want."
It makes a difference. The coffee has as much kick as the
"We use the real stuff, you know what I'm saying?" he
says. "That's really the secret of it.
"And besides that," he says with a grin, "it's
served with a lot of . . . ." He begins to shake his hips and