Photographs by Jesus Brazon

While the doors to Havana have not yet swung fully open to North America, Cuban coffee has already established itself as a long standing afternoon tradition in Miami. Cafe Cubano—known as Cuban coffee, cafecito, or cuban espresso—originated after espresso machines were imported to Cuba from Italy. It’s a sweet fuel, a concentrated espresso using a dark roast coffee, Bustelo or Pilon, that’s sweetened by stirring in demerara sugar as it is brewed. In its to-go form, a Cafe Cubano is known as a colada, typically served with espumita—the Cuban name for the creamy head made by the first mix of brew and sugar—in a styrofoam cup along with small plastic demitasse cups. The demitasse cups are called shots; take one, two if you need it and make sure to share the rest with friends. It is a social ritual as much as a pick-me-up. The hot syrup will give you the sweet 3pm high you need to make it through the rest of the day.

If you want the traditional experience of drinking your coffee at a counter, there are two places in town that really do it right: Versailles on Calle Ocho and Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop in Midtown. A dollar or two is all you’ll need.

186 NE 29th St, Miami

3555 SW 8th St, Miami