Cuban Coffee: A Beginner’s Guide:

A cafecito, or Cuban coffee, is the history of the country in a cup. The distinctive characteristics of a cafecito, such as its mildly bitter taste, the sweet espuma that tops the deep-brown beverage, and the delicate demitasse cups, or tacitas, in which it is served, reflect the history of a country that has been battered by strife, misery, and famine. They also represent the Cuban people’s resilience and inventiveness, who have continually found ingenious solutions for almost all of their needs ever since the Cuban Revolution upended their way of life in 1959. Below is Cuban Coffee: A Beginner’s Guide check this out.

Cuba’s Culture of Coffee

There is nothing else like the coffee culture in Cuba. The beverage is frequently considered as a way to bring people together, to chat with neighbours over, or to sip while keeping up with friends and family rather than just as a basic pick-me-up. The story of Cuba and coffee is one of tenacity, creativity, and most importantly, group spirit.

What exactly is a Cafe Cubano?

Cuba is a nation of invaders and immigrants. But when the Italian espresso machines came onto the island, the Cuban cafecito was formed.

Today, espresso machines, the stovetop espresso maker is known as a cafetera in Cuba, or the renowned Moka pot in Italy are used to create coffee.

In Cuba, there is only one name for the cafecito. But many other people in the US have described it. The term “Café Cubano” is most frequently used, while other names include “Cuban espresso,” “Cuban shot,” and “Cuban pull.”

There are further variations with Cuban coffee.

A quality Cuban espresso in America will cost more outside the nation among Cuban communities in the US.

Additionally, visitors to Havana pay $2 to $3 for an espresso-made cafecito in restaurants and hotels there. However, Cubans are selling cafecitos on the streets of Havana for as cheap as four cents, or one CUP in moneda nacionale (the local Cuban currency).

The authentic cafe Cubano is an espresso shot combined with a little amount of demerara sugar that has been vigorously pounded until it forms a frothy, cream-like espumita, at top of the cup.

Don’t expect a frothy top because some places will only have a warm kettle of coffee for that mid-afternoon shot to get Cubans through the day. However, it will always be sweet wherever you get it, like a crème de vie.

Why Do Cubans Value Coffee So Highly?

Cuba’s convoluted history with coffee is reflected in the fact that the country formerly produced a lot of it and could afford it.

Despite the fact that many coffee estates faltered and transformed into sugar plantations, local demand for coffee did not decrease in step with this.

Thus, coffee is included in Cubans’ monthly food allotment along with beans and rice. Each month, they are given four ounces of coffee rations.

Sadly, this little quantity of Cuban coffee is frequently mixed with a regional bean known as chicharo.

This also occurs with Colombian coffee because the best coffee is exported, which allows producers to increase their output without dramatically reducing flavor.

However, because to the importance of coffee, Cubans who can afford to do so will blend rationed coffee with store-bought.

Cubans, however, have an unmatched sense of hospitality, even with little. When you walk into their home, you can be sure they will offer you a cup regardless of what they have.

even if it’s the last cup they have.

Production of Coffee in Cuba

Midway through the eighteenth century, the French who fled Haiti during the Haitian revolution sent more coffee to Cuba, which was under Spanish occupation.

The majority of it was currently exported to Spain.

Due to Cuba’s rich soil and plenty of mountainous terrain, coffee plants thrived and the nation produced a large amount of coffee.

But when the Cuban revolution nationalised production, coffee production began to drop. For Cuban coffee growers, the weather and infrastructure remain challenges.

The USSR was the destination of most of Cuba’s coffee exports, but this market was devastated by the collapse of the USSR.

Thankfully, Barack Obama started a new conversation with Cuba in 1996. And the US once again permitted Cuban imports for the first time since the US trade embargo of 1963. The 1.4 million Cubans living in the United States represented a sizable market that welcomed this.

Today’s industry is driven by small farms, with a focus on organic coffee for export to Europe and Japan.

Under the Sierra Maestro Mountains’ forested canopies, Arabica and Robusta beans are still mostly hand-picked.

In addition, the Escambray Mountains, the Nipe and Sagua-Baracoa Mountains (in eastern Cuba), and Guaniguanico all have output (western Cuba).


How to Order Cuban Coffee

A Tacita-style espresso beverage. It is extremely reminiscent of an Italian pull, but with added sugar. Milk is not typically added to basic coffee.

You can request milk on the side in a restaurant, but be ready to pay for it.

In Cuba, it can be difficult to find milk. If you do order something with milk, check to see if it’s real or powdered because the quality of the coffee will be affected. This is Cuban Coffee: A Beginner’s Guide and below are some Cuban Coffee types.

Cafe con leche

Literally, it means “coffee with milk,” but since there is much more milk than coffee, it should really be termed “leche with coffee.”

Cafe with leche is an international term for an espresso shot with steamed milk.

At least in liquid form, it is difficult to find milk in Cuba. It is almost entirely powdered. It is typically served with a tall cup of hot milk to combine with a few spoonfuls of sugar and a shot of espresso.

In Cuba, this coffee is nearly solely used during breakfast. Try this crème de vie eggnog from Cuba if you enjoy sweet stuff.


Consider it a “short” café con leche.

A cafecito with a tiny bit of steamed milk is a cortadito. With a milk to coffee ratio of up to 50/50, it is comparable to a cortado in Spain.


Essentially a round of drinks, but usually for takeout and with Cuban coffee.

Together with smaller empty espresso-sized cups that you can pour for your pals, you’ll receive one huge cup of coffee that contains four or more espresso shots.

This is designed to be shared and tells volumes about Cuban coffee culture.


A fifth additional way to drink coffee in Cuba is Americano. Don’t worry; Cubans are fully aware of our preference for regular coffee in Yuma.

There won’t be a problem getting it in any eatery or bar that serves travelers. But since you’re in Cuba, at the very least, you should sample the cafecito.

The Best Coffee Shops In Havana

The Best Coffee Shops In Havana are:

El Café

They serve the best-iced coffee in Havana, so if you’re a fan, this is the place for you. but they also make excellent cappuccinos. The cafe is housed in a restored colonial structure in the centre of Old Havana with high ceilings and beautiful patterned floor tiles, and the entire space is filled with the wonderful aroma of freshly ground coffee.

Hav Coffee & Art

HAV Coffee & Art, one of Havana’s newest coffee cafes, is unquestionably the place to be. The coffee is even better than the gorgeous interior—I adore how modern the colonial structure is.

Cafe ArcAngel

The best coffee in Havana, including iced coffee and delectable affogatos, can be found at Café Arcangel, a charming cafe with a welcoming atmosphere (ice cream topped with a shot of espresso).

Here is the place to unwind and slow down in the middle of a day of sightseeing because it is close to Old Havana but a few blocks away from the main tourist attractions. Also, it offers mouthwatering sandwiches and snacks.

Cafe O’Reilly

If you’re seeking for the ideal quaint, old-world café in Havana, this cafe is the place to go. You may buy bags of coffee to go from Café O’Reilly, which grinds and prepares its own beans in-house, giving the entire establishment that seductive coffeehouse aroma.

Many selections are available, including hot coffees, fantastic iced coffees, and spiked coffees.


Look closely, or you might miss Mamaine, which is located in the Vedado district in an old colonial mansion set back from the street.
On the front porch while people-watching or inside on the loft’s second floor, sprawl out and enjoy a drink while sipping on the perfect coffee and their decadent chocolate cake.

Making a Cuban Coffee

4 CUPS of yield
Time required for preparation is one minute.
Cooking time is three minutes, plus one minute for preparation 5 minutes in total.
How to prepare a cafecito using a Moka pot, often referred to as a “cafetera” in Cuba.

4 tablespoons of espresso or Cuban-style coffee, ground
1 tablespoon demerara sugar

Set the heat on the stove to medium-high.
A 4-cup Moka pot with coffee and water added. Don’t pack the coffee down; rather, fill it to the brim. Simply use your finger to level off.

Heat up the Moka pot.
In a metal pitcher big enough to hold all the cafecito, add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Add a tablespoon of the coffee to the pitcher containing the sugar as soon as it begins to flow into the collecting chamber. To resume brewing, put the Moka pot back on the heat.
In order to dissolve the coffee and generate a creamed sugar that is practically frothy, vigorously beat the sugar and coffee together.
The remaining coffee is carefully added to the pitcher of creamed sugar when it has finished brewing. Stir to incorporate.
The coffee is prepared when the “crema” floats to the top.


Add more sugar if you prefer your coffee very foamy.

How Much Stronger Is Cuban Coffee Than Regular Coffee?

In general, espresso has more caffeine per unit than plain Americano coffee.

The Americano, on the other hand, is noticeably larger and typically contains substantially more caffeine.

Check out these blog posts for more information on places to visit in Cuba or hotels and resorts:

Stop by our IC Caribbean shop to pick up some cool and unique souvenirs for your trip.

While you are looking at flights and hotels, listen to our podcast episode about the beauty of Jamaica.

Have a wonderful vacation and stay safe!