#CubaEmotions: Four ways to have a Cuban Coffee

#CubaEmotions: Four ways to have a Cuban Coffee

By Ariel Causa

Las time we met we went through 3 different  classic Cuban Cocktails all visitors should drink before leaving our country. We were, indeed, reckless and we were carried away by the cascade of nuances and the sensorial exploration. We listened to our senses, to our instincts and, even worse, to barmen’s advice.

You awake a few hours after the end of the party and all the Fireworks in your palate. We’ll forever remain discreet about the where, the when, the how and the “with whom” of such awakening. We do not want you to embarrass you too much.

You need… WE need a cup of coffee to shake the night off of the clubbed muscles and the heavy head. These are 4 very Cuban ways to have that coffee.


Walking 3 blocks down L Street, you’ll stumble across Café Galería Mamainés. It’s a sunny morning in summertime Havana… such a drag our eyes are not ready to appreciate the merry morning weather.  Light is  just the kind of luxury our eyes can barely afford. We follow the simplest, most effective procedure to start the day after the events we just went through: we ask for an espresso.

Espresso is a statement: dense, brief, intense… the ultimate simplicity of the cup and the saucer is a paradox, like so many others you encounter everywhere in this country: Cuban people, the most hyperbolic and baroque collection of human beings upon the face of Earth, strip from all artifice the act of starting the day.


They pour it very hot in Mamainé, please hand me the brown sugar. Two teaspoons for me , please because, like my mother always says, life is bitter enough.

Café con Leche

You might need something of more substance for there are strengths to restore and so…

At the corner of Infanta and San Lazaro we take a seat in the cafeteria of El Biky. A café con leche accompanies sumptuous breakfast. Cuban Cafe con leche has no translation. It is definitely not the Anglo-Saxon latte. Too sweet, too much milk, too strong.  An extra-large cup of extra sweetened milk, filled with a generous dose of espresso.

Café con Leche
Café con Leche

Rocío de gallo

Warn you we must, Young padawan, last resort this is… using it the force you must listen.

Rocio de gallo ads 20 ml of white rum (and I strongly recommend you Havana Club 3 años) which will eliminate the side effects of alcohol almost immediately. You still need to drink a massive amount of liquids for this is based in the principle of deceiving your own body, the kind of betrayal that usually paid dearly.


Finally, if you ask me, I have to confess that my favorite way to start the morning is with joy. Judge me corny, I challenge you, but if the ritual concoction is a mixture of coffee, milk, chocolate and cocoa liquor garnished with a little ground cinnamon there is no escape from the tide of feelings that paints a smile on my face.