Is Cuban Coffee Stronger Than American Coffee?

Miami Coffee Phenomenon

If you’re just starting to work in an office in Miami, one of the first things you’ll learn is not to take your Starbucks cup with you to work. Even if grabbing Starbucks has been your daily ritual for many years, it’ll be hard to miss the sidelong glances you’ll get from your colleagues who are locals.

It’s not because they do not like coffee. It’s because they think American coffee tastes like water, and if you stick around long enough, you’ll understand their frustration.

More Than Just a Drink

Miami’s culture is steeped in coffee. In many ways, it’s the city’s fuel, and the locals will not settle for anything less than the premium, high-octane stuff that is café cubano. They gather in front of ventanitas, small window stalls where you can buy Cuban coffee, morning, afternoon, or night. You will spot people enjoying coffee alone, while discussing politics, or having a mindless conversation with friends.

If you’re an outsider, you may wonder how the small servings in tiny tacitas can possibly satisfy anyone. The 2-oz cups are the polar opposite of the standard 8-oz cups that most Americans are used to. With Cuban coffee, it’s quality over quantity.

As famously puts it,

‘What tequila is to liquor, café Cubano is to the world of coffee. It is not sipped or savored… it is shot.’

As tiny as it is, a tacita contains enough caffeine and sugar to keep your brain alert for many hours. It’s essentially a double shot of espresso without the bitter flavor, so you do not have to pretend to enjoy a coffee with an almost acrid taste.

Rather, you can savor the rich and creamy taste of the espuma, the frothy part on top, and then everything underneath it.

How Strong is Cuban Coffee?

Cuban coffee is about twice as strong as regular American coffee. When properly prepared, it comes out as a thick, unabashedly strong, slightly syrupy brew with a captivating aroma. This richness mainly comes from a unique blend of Robusta and Arabica beans and a special roasting formula. Without this blend, you won’t get the signature espuma that sets café cubano apart from the rest.

When You Make It At Home

Beyond the ground coffee used, the method of preparation also contributes to Cuban coffee’s strength. People traditionally brew their Cuban coffee in a Moka pot when at home, which is designed to push steam through the ground coffee, further contributing to its thickness.

This is in stark contrast to the drip coffee machines that dominate the American market. The Moka pot also retains the coffee’s natural oils like you would expect from a French press, while American coffee makers filter out this flavor.

Are You Used to American Coffee? Taste the Difference!

If you have a chance to visit Miami, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the culture than regularly enjoying a café cubano at a ventanita.

You can also replicate this superior coffee’s taste and flavor at home. Try buying La Carreta’s ground coffee and follow these steps to make Cuban coffee at home or outdoors.


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