The ultimate Cuban Coffee Masterclass

Making Cuban coffee at home

Let me introduce myself.

Hi guys. My name is Vasileia. I am a professional barista and I love writing about coffee! I will share everything I’ve learned about Cuba’s unique type of coffee. 

In this three-part masterclass, we will discover the history, cultural significance, complex flavor, and ways of preparing an exceptional Cuban coffee.

So come along with me; it’s time to start our journey!

Cuban coffee culture in a Nutshell

An Overview of the Miami Coffee Craze

When Cubans first came to South Florida, they brought their culture and traditions with them. Before long, they built their own communities, like Little Havana in Miami. Walk around a bit; you will come across locals sitting together drinking Cuban coffee, talking politics, and playing dominoes while smoking cigars. 

It was here, in Miami, where the Cuban coffee craze started! This coffee culture is tied to the walk-up windows in the city. Yes, you are right; I am talking about “ventanitas.”

The Ventanita, Always Open to a Brand-New Coffee Experience!

If you’ve been to Miami, you couldn’t have possibly missed the little walk-up windows that sell Cuban coffee. These are the famous ventanitas, and they are an essential part of Miami’s identity. The word itself means “small window.”

At the time, many street markets in Miami were closed off by glass. The idea was to carve a window in the glass and then sell coffee to the people outside. Smart and straightforward, right?

But What is Cuban Coffee?

Although making Cuban coffee sometimes involves the use of an espresso machine, it is quite different from the traditional Italian espresso that we all know. 

So leave your assumptions about “Cuban espresso” at the door, as it’s an entirely different experience. To make traditional Cuban coffee, you need the exact right formula dependent on two crucial ingredients:

  • Ground Cuban coffee. The Cuban recipe features deep roasted beans and strikes a balance between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.
  • Sugar! Or as I like to call it, “azuquita,” as it brings me back to me amazing Celia Cruz.

The baristas at the ventanitas are the most experienced in mixing coffee with the azuquita. That is where “espumita” comes to life! The right mixture of sugar and coffee creates a foamy texture that delights all of the senses.

I made many attempts before coming up with the best espumita, so it’s not as easy as you think. No other kind of coffee in the world produces this kind of foam.

Know What to Order! Ventanitas are not like any old coffee shop

Please don’t go to a ventanita and ask for a cappuccino or a vanilla latte! The only thing you will get is a raised eyebrow. 

Ventanitas serve Cuban coffee four different ways: 

  • Cafecito
  • Café con leche
  • Cortadito
  • Colada

If you’re looking for a different type of coffee, then you are definitely in the wrong place!

What’s Next?

Up next, we will learn about the traditional ways of preparing Cuban coffee, the coffee’s flavor profile, and the secrets of the azuquita.

Stay tuned!

Updated. Go to Masterclass 2 right now!

Vasileia Fanarioti

Vasileia Fanarioti

Professional Barista

My name is Vasileia, I work as a barista and I’m a big coffee nerd! I love making it, drinking it and I definitely have a passion for writing about it.

When my mind isn’t filled with coffee beans I also enjoy reading, dancing, travelling, exercising and cooking for my family.

I’m here because I want to take you on a journey into the world of coffee and show you how fascinating it can be. So, come along!

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