Coffee has been cultivated in Cuba since the middle of the 18th century. Stimulated by French farmers fleeing the Haitian revolution, coffee farms expanded from the western plains to the nearby mountain ranges. Coffee production in eastern Cuba increased significantly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At the peak of production, Cuba exported over 20,000 metric tons (22,046 short tons) of coffee beans per year in the mid-1950s.

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Coffee arrived in Cuba from the island of Hispaniola in 1748, but fleeing the Haitian revolution, until the influx of French settlers in 1791, there was little talk of the coffee industry. By 1827, there were about two thousand coffee farms on the island, and coffee became a major export, producing more money than sugar.

Castro’s revolution, between 1953 and 1961, brought with it the nationalization of coffee farms, and production fell almost immediately. Those who volunteered to drink coffee had no experience, and those who had previously worked the land fled the country in the wake of the revolution. Coffee-making struggled on the island and the incentives or incentives provided by the government did little to strengthen the industry, although production peaked in the 1970s at 30,000 tonnes (30,000 tonnes). As the Cuban coffee industry faltered, many Central American countries continued to enjoy higher and more successful exports to international markets.

The disintegration of the Soviet Union made Cuba increasingly isolated, and the trade embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States removed the potential market. Japan was the main importer of Cuban coffee, although Europe remains a strong market. The best coffees are usually exported, usually around one-fifth of total production, and the rest left for domestic consumption. Cuba’s own production does not cover domestic demand, and in 2013, the country spent nearly $ 40 million on imported coffee. Coffee imported into Cuba is not of the highest quality, so it is relatively cheap, but due to high market prices, the habit of mixing roasted peas to bulk coffee has reappeared.

“Cuanian Coffee”

A number of Cuban coffee products are widespread throughout the world, including Cortadito, Café con Leche and Café Cubano. The latter refers to an espresso that is sweetened during cooking by adding sugar to the ground coffee.

Advertising for “Cuban coffee” is not uncommon, especially in the United States and elsewhere. True Cuban coffee is illegal in the United States because of a commercial embargo, but the term is often used to describe Café Cubano. Coffees, often from Brazil, are chosen to represent the flavors we can expect from Cuba, but there are, of course, concerns about confusion among customers and improper labeling of goods.

At present, Cuban coffee production remains low at 6000-7000 tonnes per year (6600-7,700 tonnes). Most of the equipment used is old and many manufacturers still rely on mules. Roads are often severely damaged by intermittent rain and drought and are poorly maintained. Coffee is usually dried in the sun, although some mechanical drying is done and most of the coffees grown for export are washed away. Cuba’s climate and topography are well adapted to coffee growing, and its scarcity can add a lot to its value, but there are many challenges facing growers looking to make high-quality coffees.


Cuban coffee probably cannot be traced back to a single farm and can often only be traced back to a specific region or subregion of the country.

Taste Profile

Cuban coffees have a typical island coffee profile: relatively low acidity, heavier body.