Cuban coffee was a staple in my Godmother’s home. She immigrated from Cuba in the 1980s but never forgot about the traditional flavors of her native country. A good Cuban espresso is important to many people in the Cuban diaspora.
Luckily, there are a few coffee brands that have perfected their roast for this traditional style of coffee!
I set out on a mission to discover the best coffee for Cuban coffee. One sip is all it took for me to imagine myself back in my Godmother’s house, playing piano, smelling the sweet aroma of Cuban coffee. Any coffee lover would appreciate the bold, full flavors of these specially roasted blends.
1. Café Bustelo
My Godmother always had a brick or tin of this coffee somewhere in her cabinets. Cuban coffee has a very specific taste, and Café Bustelo captures it perfectly. With a dark roast and full-bodied flavor, this coffee is sure to give you that delicious espresso you’re looking for.
The fine grind allows you to get a perfect espresso. Café Bustelo is not only famous for its intense flavor but also for its connection to the Latin community. The brand has its origins in New York, where Spanish immigrants opened a storefront and continue to celebrate the migrant community of Latinos!
2. Café La Llave
Since 1967, Cuban immigrant Francisco Gavina and his family have been roasting a signature blend of coffee beans in Los Angeles. This roast is intense and robust, perfect for Cuban coffee! Café La Llave also offers an espresso grind.
The coffee is rich and smooth, making it the ideal choice for those looking to recreate that classic Cuban coffee flavor. In addition, the brand also supports initiatives that help reduce their impact on the environment and preserve natural resources.
With such a wonderful and robust flavor, it’s a treat to have it be so cheap and so easily accessible. You might be wondering is Cuban coffee stronger than espresso.
Another great Cuban coffee option is Pilon. Pilon coffee has a smooth and balanced flavor, with a hint of sweetness in each cup, but the added sugar in traditional Cuban coffee might also play a role. The dark roast produces an intense flavor and aroma that will leave you feeling energized throughout the day.
Dating back to the 19th century, they’ve perfected the art of roasting for traditional Cuban espresso. The special blend is also great for making café con leche or café Cubano and will give you an intense and bold flavor in every sip.
Mayorga offers a dark roast specialty Cuban coffee blend. This coffee is made with beans from Peru, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The roast brings out a slightly smoky taste that’s perfect for traditional Cuban espresso.
Mayorga also offers a 100% Arabica blend, which is roasted to perfection and shade-grown. Shade-grown allows the coffee to develop at a slower pace, resulting in a fuller flavor and aroma. The traditional Cuban roast is ideal for making either an espresso or café con leche.
In addition, Mayorga Coffee is USDA organic, non-GMO, and powered by renewable energy. This is great news for those looking to enjoy a cup of Cuban coffee while supporting sustainable production practices! Mayorga is also Latin-owned, which is great for those looking to support traditional businesses.
5. La Carreta
La Carreta is a Miami-based coffee company that’s famous for being served in various restaurants in the city. They use a unique blend of beans from Central and South America for their dark roast, perfect for traditional Cuban espresso. They use both Arabica and Robusta beans from Colombia, Brazil, Honduras, and other countries.
This coffee has a strong flavor that is consistent and beautifully roasted.
With a high 4.5-star rating on Amazon, most people appreciate the strong flavor. La Carreta also offers other flavors like Colombian and French roast, so you can get that delicious cup of espresso without compromising on flavor.
What makes this coffee so unique is that it uses both Arabica and Robusta beans. While Arabica beans are high quality and flavorful, the Robusta beans add a bit of body and depth to the flavor. Robusta beans are also a bit more bitter but offer more caffeine, making this coffee a good balance of strong and bold yet highly energizing.
6. Naviera Coffee
Based in Tampa, Florida, this coffee brand has taken the Cuban coffee scene by storm. Naviera offers a traditional-style dark roast that has a smooth, full-bodied flavor that’s perfect for Cuban espresso. The beans are roasted to give them a bold yet smooth flavor, unlike the bitterness of traditional dark roasts.
Naviera already comes ground finely, making it great for espressos and Cuban coffee.
However, another type of Cuban coffee you can make with Naviera is café con leche. To make café con leche with Naviera, you’ll use a little less than a third of a cup of ground coffee and combine it with around two cups of milk. This will give you a heavenly creamy cup of Cuban coffee that’s satisfying, delicious, and energizing.
However, you can also follow the directions listed on every Naviera package, which is using equal parts of coffee and milk with your desired amount of sugar. Naviera is also Climate Pledge Certified on Amazon. It removes all unnecessary air and water from the packaging, allowing for better and more sustainable shipping and reducing its carbon footprint.
7. Chock Full O’ Nuts
Chock Full O’ Nuts is an iconic New York City-based brand with a great selection of coffees. Their Cuban blend is specially formulated for espresso, café con leche, and other kinds of traditional Cuban coffee. This classic dark roast uses premium beans sourced from Central and South America that are carefully roasted to create an intoxicating aroma.
While they do offer other blends and roasts, like decaffeinated or light roast, Chock Full O’ Nuts’ Cuban blend is the perfect one to get for traditional Cuban espresso. This medium-dark roast has a smooth flavor and pleasant aroma that will delight any coffee lover. If you’re looking for a classic cup of Cuban coffee, give Chock Full O’ Nuts a try!
8. Gavina Old Havana
From the same makers of Café La Llave, Gavina Old Havana‘s whole-bean espresso blend has beautiful, sweet citrus notes made from 100% Arabica beans sourced from South and Central America. This company has been around since 1870 and focuses on giving its beans a nutty and smooth finish that’s perfect for both espressos and café con leche.
Because this medium-dark roast is sold as whole-bean, you can grind it right before you brew your coffee. This will give you the best flavor experience possible, as it’s made specifically for Cuban espresso. Grind it fine enough so that it looks like a powder, and you’ll be good to go.