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Santiago de Cuba

In Search of the Best Café Cubano in Havana

The Cuban Bean

Cuban coffee, most commonly referred to as café Cubano, is one of the most well-known coffees around the world. The signature taste of the Cuban bean comes from a unique combination of the climate, altitude and soil of the Sierra Maestra Mountains, located in the eastern side of the island, where most of Cuba’s coffee is grown in small farms. With the rich soil and sub-tropical climate of the Sierra Maestra region, the coffee beans are able to grow organically, without the need of any artificial fertilizers or pesticides.

With limited to no access to advanced farming technology, Cuban coffee farmers continue to use the same traditional farming methods for the last 100 years. The beans are carefully selected by hand and mules are used to transport the coffee beans for processing. The coffee beans are passed through the farmer’s hand at every stage of the cultivation process. Many say, it is because of this level of care, it remains to be one of the most precious commodities in Cuba.

Coffee in Cuba

In contrast to the Western world, coffee is considered a luxury in Cuba. Due to government restrictions and shortages, Cubans typically have access to coffee through monthly rations. Therefore, coffee is consumed in small amounts in little cups called ‘tacitas’, typically brewed at home. Espresso makers, known as ‘Moka’ pots, are a household essential. ‘Tacitas’ of ‘Café Cubano’ are often sold from Cuban homes through window shops called ‘ventanillas’, to locals and tourists. In Cuba, the moment of drinking ‘una tacita de cafe’ is one to savor and share with your loved ones.

Are we making your mouth water yet? Good. We have a list crafted by our own Cuba experts to the best coffee hotspots in Havana:

• Café El Escorial
• Café Bahia
• Café Fortuna Joe
• Belview Arts Café
• El Dandy
• Café Galeria Mamaine
• Cuba Libro
• Any Cuban household- through ventanillas, window shops!

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