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A Guide To Cuban Coffee
Cuban Coffee is known for its strong, sweet taste. It is traditionally made by mixing in sugar with the finely ground dark roasted coffee before the brewing begins and is served espresso style.
Also referred to as cafecito, Cuban shot or Cuban pull, Cuban Coffee is taken regularly especially in the morning and as accompaniment for meals. In Cuba, most meals are usually not complete without coffee. Drinking it during breaks from work is a traditional practice in Cuba as well as areas in Florida such as Miami, Florida Keys and Tampa. Similarly, the communities of foreign people from America and Europe have adopted it. Generally, it is a staple cuisine for the people of Cuba and if you are a coffee drinker you will definitely not want to miss out on Cuban Coffee during your next visit to Cuba!
Here’s a breakdown of the different types of Cuban Coffee:
•Cafecito or Café Cubano – The traditional and one of the favorite types of Cuban Coffee. It is brewed with ordinary coffee beans and sweetened with sugar. It is twice as strong as American coffee and served in a small cup.
•Colada- If you want to share your Café Cubano with friends, order this. It is a larger cup of Café Cubano that comes with smaller cups to serve your guests.
•Café Con Leche- A Café Cubano that comes with hot, steamed milk in a separate cup. You simply pour the milk into the espresso and enjoy.
•Cortadito- A Café Cubano mixed with several tablespoons of steamed milk.
Drying Coffee in Jamal area. Guantanamo, Cuba
Where is Cuban coffee made?
For more than 200 years, Cuba has grown coffee from both the Arabica and Robusta coffee beans varieties. The eastern mountainous region of Sierra Maestra is a favorable coffee growing area of Cuba. Its humus reddish-brown soils coupled with great climatic conditions make the perfect mix for growing it. The Escambray Mountain regions in central Cuba are also a major producer. There are protected areas in these mountainous regions dedicated to growing organic coffee only. The coffee beans are hand picked by local workers, and part of the product is consumed domestically while the rest is exported. A good number of Cuban people know how to perfectly prepare these types of espresso at home. Alternatively, visitors of Cuba can get finely brewed coffee from most restaurants and cafes.
Cafe Paris in Havana Vieja, Cuba
If you’ve met anyone who has had Cuban coffee before, they have probably raved about it. Why? The most unique thing about Cuban coffee is its distinctive dark look and strong taste. The difference between Cuban and other types of coffees is that a raw type of brown sugar called demerara sugar is mostly used. This results to a slightly thicker drink. It is added straight to the espresso during preparation rather than adding it at the table. The sugar is beaten or whisked thoroughly with a little espresso at first. The mixture is then added to the coffee. The unique layer of “crema” that results from the preparation is arguably the definer of Cuban coffee. It is also grown from organic soil materials without the addition of artificial fertilizers.
Drinking coffee is an important part of Cuban culture and a must try if you will be visiting the area. So try some coffee during you next trip to Cuba on the Classic Cuba Tour or for a real adventure try the Undiscovered tour.
If you are a coffee lover, make sure to try Cuban coffee during your visit. Enjoy it at a café during your visit alongside a Cuban cigar. You won’t be disappointed.
Photos taken by Robin Thom