RBMS 2016 Blog


Out and About in Miami: How to Order Cuban Coffee

Image credit: Versailles window, created by Eugen Kim

Photo created by cyclonebill from Copenhagen Denmark uploaded by FAEP

Cafe Cubano or Cafecito. Photo created by cyclonebill from Copenhagen Denmark uploaded by FAEP

You’ve just landed, you have your bags, and now it’s coffee time! Nothing says welcome to Miami like a Cuban coffee. It’s an essential part of Miami nightlife, not to mention work in Miami libraries. There are nearly as many coffee vendors in Miami as palm trees. You can walk up to just about any ventanita (little window) and order a café Cubano or cafecito, café con leche, cortadito, or a colada.

All varieties of Cuban coffee start with a dark roast espresso shot and sugar. Sugar is essential, without it you’re just ordering an espresso. The sugar is added to the espresso pitcher so that the heat from the process breaks down some of the sugar into a sweeter, slightly thicker form. The resulting beverage, stirred to achieve a perfect espumita – the caramel colored foam – is bold, rich, and sweet.

Please consider the following to determine which of these delicious variations you should order.

Café Cubano or cafecito: Standard espresso shot with sugar. Comes in a thimble sized cup, most often priced between $0.60 – $1.00

Café con Leche: A shot or two of Café Cubano with steamed milk. Think a Café Cubano latte. Typically served in a small Styrofoam coffee cup.

Cortadito: a short Café con Leche. A Café Cubano served with a few tablespoons of milk.

Colada: A large Styrofoam cup full of Café Cubano. Colada’s are meant to be shared with friends and accompanied by the same small cups a café Cubano comes in. It is certainly possible to drink a Colada by yourself, but the experience is not for the faint of heart.

–Jay Sylvestre, Local Arrangements Committee