Coffee and the Place it Holds in Cubans’ Lives

By Nike

Coffee mixed with ??? that you get on the ration booklet.

HAVANA TIMES – The first thing we Cubans like to do in the morning, as soon as we wake up, is to drink a cup of coffee. Many even go to work without anything else in their stomach.  However, coffee has got so expensive that drinking a good cup of Cuban coffee has become a luxury today.

The most common coffee we drink is the one that we get with our ration booklet, at the beginning of the month. It’s mixed, not very nice and has no aroma. Our screw on coffee makers can’t strain it a lot of the time and sometimes even explode. A 110g packet costs 4 Cuban pesos and it costs 15 Cuban pesos on the black market [1 USD = 25 Cuban pesos].

After several coffee maker explosions the packages have instructions.

The good coffee I was referring to at the start of this article, is the one that is sold at hard-currency stores. All of these brands of coffee are produced in Cuba and are extremely expensive: Serrano, Caracolillo, Regil, Turquino etc. In spite of recent pay rises in the public sector, ordinary workers still can’t really afford them.

They can cost 1.75 CUC [=USD] for a 125g packet at hard-currency stores; 3.45 CUC for the 230g one, and the 1000g packet can cost up to 16 CUC.

Packages of Cuban coffee sold in CUCs [hard currency].
So, if quality coffee is being produced in Cuba, why are we drinking such bad coffee and not told what it’s being mixed with? In spite of this, and so many other enigmas on this island, we don’t leave home without at least the illusion of having a cup of coffee first.

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I was born in Havana, Cuba. All my life I have had the sea as a landscape. I like being close to it, feeling its breeze, its smell, as well as swimming and enjoying the wonders it gives us. Thanks to the manual skill that I inherited from my parents, I have been able to live off crafts. I work primarily papier-mâché, making puppets for children. I write for Havana Times for the possibility of sharing with the world the life of my country and my people.

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5 thoughts on “Coffee and the Place it Holds in Cubans’ Lives

  • Coffee is an organic stimulant for our brains. I drink my ‘ expresso ‘ every morning.

  • It is pretty sore to read this article. Every month my husband and I send some bag of coffee to our Cuban familiy members. So sad.

  • Very sorry to hear that the start of your day begins with lousy coffee. Like Cubans, most Canadians also like to begin their day with a fresh hot cup of coffee. Thanks to your article, I will be packing many packages of good Colombian coffee in to my suitcase when I come to Cuba in January.

  • Last week I purchased a 1000 gm package of Cuban Cubita coffee in Canada for $16 Canadian – which is less than the price when purchased from Cimex In Cuba where it costs 14CUC = $19 Canadian.
    The difference reflects the way in which the Castro regime having a retail monopoly exploits the lack of competition. That is obvious also in that a 40″ TV that can be bought in Canada for $399 Canadian, costs 1030 CUC in Cuba ($1380 Canadian). The capitalist world could learn a lot about price gouging from the Castro communist administration!
    The difference reflects private enterprise and competition for business in the capitalist world that is denied in Cuba. Yet the Castro regime proudly introduced three months ago, a new increased minimum wage of 400 pesos ($22 Canadian).
    Nike’s observations and complaints are fully justified!

  • Cuban Serrano Coffee in Canadian is Just a Little Less Money then what I would Pay in Cuba at $18 Canadian, Go Figure To Why that is. Your Ration Coffee is Punishment if I Had to wake up with that Foul Taste in the Morning, As a Friend of Cuba I bring a supply to share of Columbia,s Coffee at less Cost, about $5 Cuc a Kilo when on sale. Nothing Puts a Smile on my Friends Face More then a Cup of Columbia to help in there Daily struggle & Nothing Fouls the Taste of a Tourist More then Knowing we are being Burned when we spend our Money in the Cuban Stores, Not Helping the People That are the Forgotten. :Why: Cuban Natural Grown Coffee Is Not Permitted as produce sold on the Streets, Can any one Explain this to Canadians.

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