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The Best Ventanitas For Cafe Cubano

cubancoffee

Cuban coffee, which originated in Cuba is the same as an Italian espresso, except cuban coffee whips spoonfuls of sugar into drops of freshly brewed cafe and forms the syrupy goodness that makes cafe cubano the original Red Bull, so don’t call it an espresso.

 It’s hot, sweet and strong. Cuban coffee is the center of Miami’s universe.  

 

If you’re new to Miami or here on vacation, you may have already discovered Miami’s devotion to ventanitas, the ubiquitous walk-up windows where a coffee master who will whip up a cup of jet fuel. There are only four acceptable ways to order coffee in a ventanita:

 

Cafecito -  Order an “un cafecito” and the ventanita will set down a cup and saucer in front of you that looks like it came from a child’s play set. It’s an exact ounce-and-a-half or so of Cuban coffee may be a single serving, but it’ll be enough to get you through the morning. You will know when the Cafecito is done right when it will be sweet but not cloying, covered in a rich, creamy foam.

 

Colada - Order an “una colada” and the ventanita will pour you a four-ounce styrofoam cup of hot, sweet Cuban coffee to go. You may be tempted to peel off the plastic lid and drink it like your own personal espresso drink, do not do this. There’s a reason you will receive a half-dozen corrugated, thimble-sized plastic cups. These are all meant to be shared with your beloved coffee drinking friends. 

 

Cortadito - For some people, even locals, it’s just too much to pour a straight, strong  Cuban coffee into an empty stomach. For that, order a cortadito, a single serving of Cuban coffee with a cut of steamed, whole milk to bring the acidity down. Or for the perfect finish to a meal in lieu of dessert, ask for a cortadito con evaporada, and the traditional Cortadito will be served with sweet, steamed evaporated milk as a substitute. 

 

Cafe Con Leche - A cup of warm, steamed milk with a shot of Cuban coffee. You may be asked if you want it clarito or oscurito (light or dark) depending on how much coffee you want to darken you drink. You can ask for a mediano which is right in the middle for perfection. You will know your Cafe Con Leche is done right when the sugar in the Cuban coffee should be enough to sweeten the café con leche. But you can always ask for it sin azucar, if you prefer to sweeten it yourself.

 

 

Enriquetas 

186 NE 29th St, Miami, FL 33137

You’ll find two sisters that run the window at Eriquetas, you can taste the love in coffee. Ask for the “Frank Martinez" which is named after the 100 Fires Cigars Wynwood owner who is there daily. It's not on the menu, but it's evaporated milk cortadito with cinnamon and sugar.

 

Versailles

3555 SW 8th St., Miami

Versailles, a Miami's quintessential ventanita has a bit of a touristy factor, but you’ll never find a bad Cuban colada there. If you have to put up with tourists and wrestle your way past locals who think having a Cuban coffee is a two-hour affair standing at the counter, you won’t regret it. 


La Carreta

Nine locations throughout Miami-Dade County

For consistent Cuban coladas you’ll find them here at La Carreta. No matter which location you can always depend on the colada to be hot, sweet, and good, like it's supposed to be. An amazing feat when you consider they have 9 locations that spread over South Florida. 


Wajiro's Restaurant

12670 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33184

An iconic staple in Miami there's a drink you must order when you go, a cortadito especial.  It’s like a colada, but with splashes of evaporated milk and condensed milk, topped with powdered cinnamon, that is out of this world. You can't have just one. 

 

Sabor Latin Restaurant & Cafe

1880 79th Street Causeway, North Bay Village, FL 33141

A Colombian restaurant that serves delicious cafécito. Straight or con leche (cortadito), it's as good as homemade. And right off the 71 Street Causeway, so perfect on your way to the beach or on your way back.

 

Islas Canarias

13695 SW 26th St, Miami, FL 33175

Not only is this the go to spot for cuban food, you will find the best cafécito and croqueta combo in Miami. The only one reason to stop at Islas Canarias is for a Cuban colada at Islas Canarias is for the croquetas. You can’t find better.

 

Manolo and Rene Grill

188 NE 3rd Ave., Miami 

Perfect for a late night or early morning pick me up or before the drive home. Upi can rely on the consistency of quality, and most importantly the location. Found in the  middle of downtown and, equally important, it's open 24/7.