Coffee and the Place it Holds in Cubans’ Lives

The coffee supply problems in Cuba continue

HAVANA, Oct. 8th 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 stomachs.
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].

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.


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.

First published in Havana Times