The Ultimate Cuban Coffee Glossary

Miami Coffee Phenomenon

If you have been following our blog posts related to Cuban coffee, you probably have come across some strange words. You might have cracked open your Oxford English Dictionary to look them up, but you didn’t find their definitions. Right?

That’s because Cuban coffee and Miami have their own unique vocabulary. In Miami, ordering coffee at the ventanitas is distinct and requires you to pronounce at least some words in Spanish. You need to blend in in Miami in order to enjoy its culture to the fullest extent. 

But, believe us, it is simple

In fact, we have compiled this Cuban Coffee Glossary to help familiarize you with Cuban coffee terms.       

Cuban Coffee Glossary 

Café:  This is the Spanish word for coffee. 

Café Cubano:  In Florida, Cuban coffee is known as café cubano or Cuban espresso.

Ventanita:  A small window shop that is common in South Florida and is part of Miami’s Cuban coffee culture.

Café con Leche:  This is nearly the same as an Italian latte. People usually drink it at breakfast with bread or pastries.

Cortadito:  This is coffee with a small shot of milk.

Leche Evaporada:  A cortadito with evaporated milk.

Leche Condensada:   A cortadito with condensed milk.   

Colada:  A café cubano served in a large cup with small plastic cups for sharing with friends. It is too big for one person to drink, so it is typically served as small shots.

Más Azúcar:  You say this when you want extra sugar in your coffee.

Miami Sweet: Regular or Miami Sweet? Miami sweet is a type of Cuban espresso with extra sugar that is only found in Miami.

Café Americano:  This is black American coffee and is not commonly found at the ventanitas. You might get weird looks if you try to order this at a ventanita in Miami. 

Espuma or Espumita:  A blend of sugar and the first few drops of brewed Cuban coffee. Espuma gives the coffee a foamy texture. On our website we use “azuquita” to refer to this heavenly mixture in a homemade cafecito, and then “espumita” to refer to the foam in a ready-to-drink cafecito.

Pastelito:  These are some of the sides you can find at ventanitas to go with your Cuban coffee. Pastry baked with phyllo dough, it can be sweet or savory depending on your preference. Although, we highly recommend you try the one filled with guava. 

Barato:  This is the Spanish word for cheap. You won’t have to use this word very often at the ventanitas because café cubano is already reasonably priced and will always be easy on your wallet. 

Versailles:  One of the most famous Cuban restaurants in Miami.

La Carreta:  One of the most renowned Cuban restaurants. It was among the first chain of authentic Cuban restaurants in Miami after the Cuban Revolution. 

La Carreta Coffee: The perfect Cuban coffee for making a cafecito at home 😉

Using this glossary, you can enjoy your stay in Miami and your time at the ventanitas. What are you waiting for? You now know the magic words for ordering a café cubano.


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