Home > country > Cuban Coffee Guide – How to Make it and Best Beans to Buy Online

Cuban Coffee Guide – How to Make it and Best Beans to Buy Online

Table of contents


$ 10+

  • How to serve: Espresso, Mocha, Cortado
  • flavor: Strong acidity with some natural sweetness
Varieties Arabica, Robusta
How to Serve Usually served as black coffee in a small cup, with a typically very high concentration of caffeine. Sometimes served as a shot as well
Flavor Extremely strong acidity with some natural sweetness. Most Cuban coffee types are made with sugar pre-added so expect lots of sweetness
Recommended Machine Espresso, Moka Pot, Drip, Stovetop
Good As Espresso, Mocha, Cortado
Price Range $0.37 – $2.91 per ounce
Caffeine Level 12mg per fluid oz

Coffee cultivation was brought to Cuba throughout the mid-1700s, and by 1790, considerable volumes of Cuban coffee beans were being transported to Spain. While French coffee growers escaped the revolution and started cultivating coffee in Cuba, the country’s coffee bean business grew.

Throughout the 1820s, coffee bean sales overtook sugar sales, so by the 1950s, coffee bean sales had surpassed 20,000 metric tons. After 1956 the coffee farms were taken over by the government, bringing in the decrease of the Cuban coffee bean business sector. Coffee output remained stagnant during the 1960s and 1970s until surging in the late 1970s. The cultivation started with very basic beans but quickly diversified over the centuries. Currently, Cuba grows both Arabica and Robusta beans.

Cuban Coffee, also known as Cafecito, is consumed on a daily basis, particularly in the morning and as a complement to meals. Most dinners in Cuba are incomplete without coffee. It is customary to have it during lunch break at work in Cuba, and also in parts of Florida. Likewise, it has been embraced by communities of people abroad from Europe and North America.

Generally, it is a staple meal for the residents of Cuba, so if you enjoy coffee, you do not want to skip the next possible chance to taste Cuban Coffee.

In this Cuban coffee brewing guide, we will further talk about the top five Cuban coffee brands as well as how to make Cuban coffee and what makes it so good.

Top Coffee Producing Regions in Cuba

Before we explain how to brew Cuban coffee let’s first talk about coffee cultivation in general and the regions that specialize in it. Each such region has its own distinctive feature as well as characteristics and taste due to different growing methods and environments. Cuba has cultivated both Arabica and Robusta coffee bean types for over two centuries, making it one of the oldest coffee-producing countries in the world.

One of the top coffee-producing regions in Cuba is considered to be Sierra Maestra as well as Escambray Mountain. Let’s take a closer look at those destinations and talk about them briefly down below.

Sierra Maestra – Top Coffee Cultivation in Cuba

Sierra Maestra, Cuba’s eastern mountainous area, is an excellent coffee-producing location. Its rich reddish-brown grounds, along with ideal meteorological conditions, provide for an ideal growth environment.

The temperature is ideal, the altitude can reach up to 6,500 feet above sea level and the fertile soils rich with nutrients enable coffee growth without the use of artificial fertilizers, earning Cuba a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the world’s greatest organic coffee. Cities in the Sierra Maestra have a long tradition of coffee farming that involves hand-picking coffee cherries from trees. Numerous coffee trees grow on steep mountainsides, and the coffee cherries are hauled out of the region in bundles on the shoulder of coffee growers, then transported by donkey to coffee drying sites.

The traditional method of brewing Cuban coffee in Sierra Maestra is to roast the coffee beans and afterward crush them in a hardwood “Pilone”. After steeping in boiling water, the coffee grounds are squeezed out with a cotton towel.

Escambray Mountain

Central Cuba’s Escambray Mountain areas (3800 feet above sea level) are also large manufacturers of coffee. The beans are grown in the Guaniguanico Mountains on the west side and the Nipe and Sagua-Baracoa highlands on the east side.

The mountain soil contains mica, as well as quartz crystal formations, which are regularly enriched by rain, giving this superb coffee its distinct flavor. The fully ripe cherries are hand-picked and delivered to the Cimanayagua mill for wet processing during harvesting.

The Arabica coffee from this region is organically sun-dried and also has a very strong fragrance with an exquisite and subtle sweetness. A flavor profile that is rich, powerful, and well-rounded, with remarkably low acidity.

The coffee beans are selected by local farmers by hand and the remaining are shipped to foreign countries, while some of the output is domestically utilized.

Top 5 Cuban Coffee Brands on Amazon

If you’ve ever heard anything about Cuban coffee from your friends, they would have undoubtedly bragged how they finished the cup without an issue. The most distinguishing feature of Cuban coffee is its powerful flavor as well as caffeine level.

Below we have listed 5 distinct Cuban coffee brands that will get you exactly the kind of flavor and power you are looking for. Once you brew these beans, it’ll feel like you’re in Havana or in West Palm Beach.

How We Rated Them

We pay attention to the following:

For more detailed information on how exactly we rate the coffee products we suggest in our guides, click here.

Individual Overviews of Our Top Choices

It should definitely be noted that there are several top brands that need to be mentioned in this Cuban coffee tutorial. The special brands include Mayorga Organics Café Cubano, Old Havana Espresso, Bustelo Supreme, Don Pablo Cubano as well as Cafe La Llave Dark Roast. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

Mayorga Organics Café Cubano

Price: $22.99 (subject to change)

Size: 32 oz

Type: Arabica

Roast: Dark

Producer: Mayorga

Beans: Whole

The first and foremost Cuban coffee brand that should definitely be mentioned is Mayorga Organics Café Cubano. It has a dark roast profile with a touch of vanilla and sweet, sugary smokiness, but low acidity.

One thing I should mention though is that these are not Cuban-grown coffee beans. These are beans sourced from Peru, Honduras, and Nicaragua, but roasted in a Cuban style. And to be honest, I can’t really tell the difference between this coffee and an authentic cup of Cuban java.

But, be warned. If you prepare Cuban coffee correctly with these beans, expect a pretty intense flavor as well as power. This will wake you up like literally wake you up. So, I suggest you brew it in a small shot-glass or something to get you going in the morning.

Check Price on Amazon

Old Havana Espresso

Price: $22.35 (subject to change)

Size: 32 oz

Type: Arabica

Roast: Medium

Producer: Old Havana

Beans: Whole

The Old Havana coffee brand is exactly what it implies, a decades-old company specializing in growing, roasting, and grinding Cuban coffee beans and sending them to the rest of the world.

The taste is very rich with a punch of bitterness, but a subtle, yet pleasant sweetness and nutty flavor.

But one thing is for sure, the very first thing you will feel with this brand is the immediate kick of bitterness and pretty much no acidity. But it’s not just the bitter taste you’re accustomed to with Cuban coffee if you’ve ever tasted it. The medium-dark roast helps with both the power of the brew and the flavor. Not all of the nutrients are roasted off the beans in the roasting process, which is why those subtle tones of sweetness and nuttiness remained.

And as for the price, I’d say it’s pretty spot on to what you’d pay for a cup on West Palm Beach. Overall, really good coffee, 8/10, definitely recommended.

Check Price on Amazon

Bustelo Supreme

Price: $15.00 (subject to change)

Size: 16 oz

Type: Arabica

Roast: Medium-Dark

Producer: Bustelo Supreme

Beans: Whole

Supreme Bustelo is indeed a premium mix of the world’s best coffees. It is a dark, flavorful coffee that has been specifically roasted for Cuban coffee or Cappuccino. Bustelo’s Cafe Supremo is the result of a careful selection of the world’s “premium” coffees and is specially crafted for the refined Cuban palate.

I personally used my Moka Pot to brew this coffee since I didn’t really want to use an Espresso Machine. It was a pretty good decision, since the pressure built in a Moka Pot is a bit lighter than in the Espresso machine, thus yielding a slightly lighter cup of coffee. If this had been any stronger, I’d have pulled 3 straight all-nighters without even thinking about sleep.

Although a Moka Pot isn’t the traditional method of preparing Cuban coffee, it still turned out to be a good idea. I highly recommend you try the same method if you get this product.

Check Price on Amazon

Don Pablo Cubano

Price: $16.99 (subject to change)

Size: 32 oz

Type: Arabica

Roast: Dark

Producer: Don Pablo

Beans: Ground

Don Pablo Café Cubano is a favorite among black coffee aficionados and is rich, deep, and never harsh in flavor. This Dark Cuban roast utilizes just 100% Arabica beans of the best grade and creates a magnificent Cafe Con Leche! A complete caramelization of natural bean sugars gives a strong grit to this black coffee, yet it keeps a smooth, pleasant after tasting full-body feel.

Check Price on Amazon

Cafe La Llave Dark Roast

Price: $10.43 (subject to change)

Size: 48 oz

Type: Arabica

Roast: Dark

Producer: Cafe La Llave

Beans: Ground

Cafe La Llave Espresso is among the best-selling top Espresso brands in the US, especially among Latino customers. It is dark-roasted, strongly fragrant, and has a rich, robust flavor.

The tale of Café La Llave began over a century and a half ago, when two brothers, Jose Maria and Ramón Gavia, arrived in the New World with a simple desire — to find a better life. Their tale started in the lush coffee-bearing highlands of southern Cuba, where they cultivated some of the country’s greatest coffees. As people say, the rest is just history. The brothers then began roasting coffee on their estate, earning the public’s respect and admiration.

In this Cuban coffee guide I should also mention the fact that when I ordered this coffee, my initial thought was, “Wow, this is powerful!” When used to make Espresso or Cappuccino, it has a full body and a creamy texture. I got it since it was one of the inexpensive on Amazon (priced per ounce), and I did not anticipate much. Needless to say, the flavor blew me away. This surpassed my expectations. It tastes far superior to many of the more costly coffees on the market.

Check Price on Amazon

How to Make Cuban Coffee – Best Brewing Methods

There are several traditional ways to drink Cuban coffee. These include Cafecito, Colada, Cortadito, and Café con Leche. Let’s explain the details related to those important names.

Cafecito – Best Way to Drink Cuban Coffee

A cafecito, or Cuban coffee, is the country’s heritage in a cup. It is THE way to drink Cuban coffee, period.

Cuban coffee is typically made in a Moka Pot, which has become an essential emblem of coffee culture across Europe, the Caribbean and South and Central America. The stainless steel pots (which are occasionally coated in multicolored enamel) roast the coffee by forcing water up through the coffee grinds with the use of steam pressure.

Here’s the best cuban coffee recipe we could come up with:


The most essential thing I learned is that if you want to make Cuban friends, you should know how to make Colada. It’s essentially a huge, really strong coffee delivered in a styrofoam cup and afterward emptied into smaller cups for sharing. It is what you drink if your intention is to stand about and speak for a while, which is what a lot of people do. It’s designed to share with friends or colleagues, but you can drink it yourself at your own risk.

It is essentially an extremely concentrated cup of coffee designed to energize 5-6 people. Drinking it all alone is not really a good idea in my honest opinion. To make it, all you need to do is increase your ground coffee amount when brewing. If a Cafecito is a ⅕ coffee and water, then a Colada is ⅓ coffee and water.


This Cuban specialty combines thick, strong coffee, sugar, and evaporated milk. It’s a staple in Cuban households and has now expanded to the United States. I will walk you through the steps of making a genuine Cortadito down below. Here’s what you will need:

I believe that extending the evaporated milk and adding a touch of cinnamon make this recipe unique. This is such a thick, creamy drink that can be served instead of dessert.

Café con Leche

Cafe con Leche, which translates as “coffee with milk,” is a morning beverage that developed in Spain and was later adopted in Latin America. Based on where it is consumed, this drink is prepared differently. Cubans, as they always do, make it with a bone-crunching Espresso and some sugar.

It’s a pretty Cuban coffee how to guide to be honest. It just takes 3 steps to make a delicious cup of Java. Follow the steps below and you won’t be disappointed.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cuban Coffee Beans

What makes Cuban coffee different?

The dark color and strong flavor of Cuban coffee are its most distinctive characteristics. The addition of a fresh type of brown sugar known as demerara sugar makes its presence known as well. As a result, the drink gets somewhat heavier.

To begin, the sugar is gently beaten or combined with a small amount of Espresso and is then poured into the coffee. To be ideal, Cuban coffee should clearly contain all of the unique and distinguishing qualities described above; otherwise, it will be difficult to determine if it is genuinely the Cuban flavor or not.

Is Cuban Coffee illegal?

Not really. There may have been a time when the political situation between the US and Cuba was extremely tense, but nowadays, things seem to have simmered down a bit. Cuban coffee is now freely available to source from Havana. However, if you want a real authentic taste for yourself, I suggest you visit Miami or West Palm Beach. These cities have large concentrations of Cuban communities, so the coffee there is as close to the original as it can be.

Why is Cuban coffee so good?

Cuban coffee is primarily brewed with Arabica beans, which are objectively much tastier than the more-common Robusta. Although there are some blends out there, most authentic Cuban establishments will only brew 100% Arabica coffee and serve it to you. It’s primarily brewed as a dark roast, so expect it to be pretty bitter.