Cubans at home and abroad are obsessed with their coffee; they like it dark & sweet.

The Habit…

It can start anywhere really, perhaps from the first taste in a Cuban restaurant, or an outdoor cafe in Havana’s old city. After that first intoxicating sip you’re hooked, shortly thereafter procuring your own moka pot; whipping up luscious Cafecitos at home, for friends, with a little Carlos Molina on in the background.

The Cafe Cubano, aka Cuban coffee, Cuban espresso, Cafecito, Cuban pull, and the Cuban style shot is a type of espresso that began in Cuba shortly after the arrival of Italian espresso machines. The espresso shot is sweetened with piquant, raw sugar as it’s brewed, Cuban-style espresso utilizes a darker roast, and is identical to an Italian espresso, save the sweet taste. Because the sugar is whipped aggressively into the espresso, it creates a sweeter, thicker result than if you were to add sugar at the table.

A Cafe Cubano is a regular afternoon affair. whereas the Cafe con Leche is served for breakfast with fresh buttered Cuban bread. The ‘con leche’ is basically a sweetened latte, with the espresso served on the side, so that the individual can add as much, or as little as they prefer. The small Cortadito with a ratio of 50/50 espresso and milk, is also either served with breakfast, as a dessert, or consumed long after the evening meal has finished. The espresso is always served with a small glass of water on the side.

At home…

Most Cubans use the stove-top moka pot, and add a few drops of espresso to the sugar, mixing it furiously. This creates a creamy, light brown paste. The rest of the espresso is then added to the paste and mixed again, creating a light brown foam layer, or espumita, on the surface of the coffee similar to an Italian espresso’s crema layer.

At work…

Colada is 3-6 shots of Cuban style espresso, served in a to-go style cup, including a few small, plastic espresso cups. This is a typical method of bringing in coffee for workers during break-time.