Do You Really Know What Makes Cuban Coffee So Different?

Making Cuban coffee at home

Drinking Cuban coffee is a rite of passage for any coffee lover. The special brew is famed to be the strongest and the best, and for good reason.

With Cuban coffee, the maxim “quality over quantity” holds even more true. In most cases, a single serving in a “tacita,” a tiny cup traditionally used for serving Cuban coffee, contains enough caffeine and sugar to keep your brain alert for many hours. If you’re here for the heavenly aroma and sweet taste, Cuban coffee promises to deliver. It’s little wonder that most people get hooked on it after their first sip.

If you have yet to experience the goodness of Cuban liquid gold, you have yet to earn your stripes as a coffee drinker.

In this guide, we walk you through the different types of Cuban coffee, and discuss what gives café cubano its hallowed spot in the coffee hall of fame.

A Unique Cuban Formula

Anyone tasting Cuban coffee will first note the difference with its distinctive dark color and sweet taste. However, what makes Cuban coffee different isn’t so much its aroma or taste, but how it is made and brewed.

Cuban coffee is made from a careful blend of high-quality Robusta and Arabica beans.

Traditional Cuban coffee is made from a careful blend of high-quality Robusta and Arabica beans.

Top brands such as La Carreta select the highest-quality beans from all over South America, and then roast and blend them using their secret recipe. Blending and roasting these two varieties of beans, along with a precise grind, allows for a thick and smooth foam, or “crema,” to form when Cuban coffee is brewed. 

Without this specific blend, the crema will not form, and without the foam, you might as well be drinking sweetened Italian espresso.

Without this specific blend of coffee beans, the famous “crema” will not form.

The method of preparing Cuban coffee also sets it apart from other types of coffee.

Moka pots, the traditional way to prepare Cuban coffee, push steam through the coffee grounds and push the coffee to the top of the pot. In contrast, most other coffee makers allow the beans to steep in water that has already been brought to a boil.

As a result, coffee brewed in Moka pots is stronger, sharper, and contains no sediment.

Furthermore, when making Cuban coffee, spoonfuls of natural brown sugar are whipped into the first few drops of coffee brewed. The resulting thick, syrupy mixture is then put back into the Moka pot, where it mixes with the rest of the coffee.

This technique differs from other methods of making coffee where the sugar is added to the coffee at the table.

The thick, syrupy mixture of Cuban coffee is unique. It differs from other coffee preparations where sugar is added to the coffee at the table.

Where to Get this Unique Cuban Formula

Cuban Coffee at Ventanitas

If you live around Miami, you must have noticed the ubiquitous ventanitas in the region. These walk-up windows for drinking coffee form an essential part of the Latino culture, and it would be a great place to enjoy your first shot of Cuban coffee.

However, you should know that there are four different kinds of coffee drinks at every ventanita.  More importantly, don’t dare ask for a frappuccino or a mocha.

So, how do I order coffee from a ventanita?

These are some Cuban coffee preparations that you might find:

  • Cafecito: A single serving of Cuban coffee in a tiny cup that’s no bigger than one and a half ounces. Cafecito is typically sweet and topped with a rich, creamy espumita.
  • Cordadito: A serving of Cuban coffee mixed with steamed whole milk. It’s the best choice if you haven’t had breakfast and are worried about drinking so much caffeine on an empty stomach.
  •  Colada: A large cup of café cubano accompanied by smaller cups for serving. Perfect for enjoying with family or friends.
  • Café Con Leche: This type of Cuban coffee comes with a cup of hot steamed milk on the side.

Cuban Coffee at Home

If you’re nowhere near a ventanita, you can still enjoy the heavenly aroma and distinctive taste of Cuban coffee at home.

All you have to do is buy La Carreta’s ready-to-brew coffee and follow our DIY steps for making Cuban coffee.

We bet you’ll have a hard time drinking any other type of coffee after trying this!


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