It’s no wonder Key West offers such a delicious array of authentic Cuban food and beverage, as it’s located just 90 miles away from Cuba. One of my absolute musts while traveling is to dive into the local cuisine head first. There is something so special and authentic about experiencing local culture through food.
If you didn’t know, Key West is known for its delicious and strong Cuban coffee. My favorite is cortadito. A cortadito is a traditional strong Cuban coffee drink with a standard espresso shot topped off with steamed milk. The ratio can be between 50/50 and 75/25 espresso and milk and is usually pre-sweetened. Two local spots really shined through during my stay in Key West.
CUBAN COFFEE QUEEN
284 Margaret St, Key West, FL 33040
Located steps away from the Marina, Cuban Coffee Queen Waterfront, is a lively spot for Cuban coffee, sandwiches, and smoothies to-go. I love my coffee hot all year round, even in the dead of August in Key West where the weather and humidity are at its highest! This was my first Cuban coffee experience and Cuban Coffee Queen ranks high on Yelp for this delicacy, plus it was only a 5-minute bike ride from our hotel. I ordered a traditional Cortadito, which came with a double Cuban espresso with cane sugar and topped with steamed milk. Think of it as strong cafe con leche on steroids. The first sip actually tasted like liquid gold. The cane sugar really sweetened up the drink quite a bit (sweeter than I usually take my coffee) but it perfectly melded with the two espresso shots. The location of Cuban Coffee Queen couldn’t be any better too – we walked around the marina and enjoyed our beverage while watching boats and people come in and out of the harbor from the crystal blue water. Another plus is their totally picture-worthy cafe and Instagrammable mural that reads “Greetings from Key West Florida”.
KEY WEST CUBAN COFFEE
517 Truman Ave, Key West, FL 33040
Key West Cuban Coffee is located just off of the hoppin’ Duval Street and is the perfect place for a pick me up any time of the day. What really sold me was the quaint and colorful storefront lined with flags and chalkboards full of their delicious offerings. As soon as you step inside, a homey mom-and-pop feel hits you. This spot offers a full array of Cuban food, but I just stopped by for a cortadito. I was welcomed by a very kind woman who took my order. As I waited and enjoyed my 2.5 oz caffeine boost, I marveled at their photo-lined walls filled with images of colorful Cuban architecture and automobiles. If you’re looking for a friendly, delicious cortadito (and more!) stop on by Key West Cuban Coffee.
ANA'S CUBAN CAFE
1330 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Situated right by the “Southernmost Point of the Continental US” landmark sits Ana’s Cuban Cafe, another brightly colored small cafe with plentiful picnic tables to enjoy your coffee. To switch it up a bit, I ordered a Café con Leche, which blends Cuban espresso stirred into a cup of steamed milk, very similar to a latte. The Café con Leche was topped with a light mocha colored foam, was strong, creamy and slightly sweet. By the end of my coffee tour, I actually think I preferred the more voluminous Café con Leche over the short cortadito.