Cortadito Vs Colada: A Taste Of Cuban Coffee In Miami

You’re in Miami, craving a taste of authentic Cuban coffee. But you’re stuck. Cortadito or colada? Which one should you choose? The bustling streets of Little Havana offer a dizzying array of options, leaving you unsure where to start.

Did you know? Cuban coffee is more than just a drink – it’s a cultural icon in Miami. This guide will walk you through the key differences between cortadito and colada, helping you make the perfect choice.

Ready to become a Cuban coffee connoisseur?

What is a Cortadito?

A cortadito is a popular Cuban coffee drink that packs a flavourful punch. It’s made with a 1:1 ratio of pre-sweetened Cuban espresso and steamed milk, often using evaporated milk for added richness.

This small but mighty beverage is essentially a miniature café con leche, offering a perfect balance of strong coffee and creamy texture.

You’ll find cortaditos as a beloved mid morning or afternoon pick me up in Miami’s Cuban cafes. Don Pan, a Latin bakery established in 1995, serves up some of the city’s finest cortaditos.

Many locals and visitors alike consider this sweet, potent brew an ideal way to kickstart their day or power through the afternoon slump.

What is a Colada?

A group of friends enjoying coffee and conversation in a Miami cafe.

Colada is a traditional Cuban coffee experience popular in Miami. You’ll find it served in a styrofoam cup, typically containing four ounces of strong, sweet Café Cubano. This potent brew comes with small plastic cups for sharing, emphasising its social nature.

Colada embodies Miami’s coffee culture, bringing people together for a communal caffeine boost.

You’ll often see Miamians enjoying colada in the morning. The robust espresso, made with dark roast beans and demerara sugar, packs a flavourful punch. Its unique preparation in a moka pot and pre-sweetened style set it apart from other coffee drinks.

Colada isn’t just a beverage; it’s a ritual that fosters connections and conversations among friends and colleagues.

Key Differences Between Cortadito and Colada

Cortadito and colada offer distinct Cuban coffee experiences. Here’s a quick comparison:

CompositionCuban espresso with steamed milkStrong Cuban coffee
Serving StyleSmall cupLarger cup with smaller, disposable cups
Taste ProfileSweeter, smootherStronger, bolder
Preparation MethodSteaming milkWhipping espresso with sugar
Social AspectIndividual servingShared among friends

You’ll notice the milk in cortadito softens the coffee’s intensity. The colada packs a stronger punch, perfect for sharing. Choose based on your taste and social setting.

The Cultural Significance of Cuban Coffee in Miami

Elderly man enjoys Cuban coffee in vibrant Miami cafe.

Cuban coffee holds immense cultural significance in Miami. It’s more than just a caffeine boost; it’s a symbol of hospitality and community. You’ll find Miamians gathering around coladas, sharing the strong, sweet brew from tiny cups called tacitas.

This ritual strengthens social bonds and preserves Cuban heritage.

The unique preparation method, using demerara sugar during brewing, sets Cuban coffee apart. You’ll notice locals savouring their cafecito slowly, often paired with a small snack. This tradition, deeply rooted in Cuban history, has become an integral part of Miami’s cultural fabric.

It’s a daily ritual that connects generations and brings people together, transcending language barriers and social divides.

Where to Experience the Best Cortadito and Colada in Miami

Miami boasts numerous spots for authentic Cuban coffee experiences. Here’s a list of top venues to savour the best cortadito and colada:

  1. Versailles: A Little Havana institution, Versailles serves stellar cortaditos and coladas. This iconic restaurant draws locals and tourists alike for its rich Cuban flavours.
  2. La Carreta: With multiple locations across Miami, La Carreta offers consistently excellent Cuban coffee. Their cortadito, made with café bustelo, is a local favourite.
  3. La Colada Gourmet: This Little Havana gem creates innovative cafecitos and coladas. Try their unique honey-infused colada for a sweet twist on the classic.
  4. Tinta y Café: A cosy café known for its artisanal approach to Cuban coffee. Their cortadito, served in a traditional tacita, is a must-try.
  5. Islas Canarias: Famous for both its croquetas and cafecito, this family-owned restaurant delivers authentic Cuban flavours. Their colada is perfect for sharing.
  6. Suite Habana Cafe: A modern take on the traditional Cuban coffeehouse. Their cortadito, made with locally roasted beans, offers a fresh perspective on the classic.
  7. Bebito’s Cafe: This trendy spot combines Cuban coffee traditions with contemporary café culture. Their cortadito, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, is a crowd-pleaser.

Supplementary insights on Cuban Coffee

A rustic Cuban coffee plantation with vibrant green coffee plants.

Cuban coffee offers a rich tapestry of flavours and traditions beyond cortadito and colada. Discover more about this beloved brew….

Tips for Ordering Cuban Coffee

Cuban coffee culture thrives in Miami’s vibrant cafés and ventanitas. Here are essential tips for ordering your perfect Cuban brew:

  1. Learn the lingo: Familiarise yourself with terms like ‘cafecito‘ (Cuban espresso), ‘cortadito‘ (espresso with a splash of milk), and ‘colada‘ (shared serving of Cuban coffee).
  2. Specify sweetness: Cuban coffee is typically pre-sweetened, but you can request ‘sin azúcar’ for unsweetened or ‘poco dulce’ for less sweet.
  3. Mind the size: A cafecito comes in a small, demitasse-sized cup, while a colada is served in a larger container for sharing.
  4. Try café con leche: This Cuban latte-style drink combines espresso with steamed milk, perfect for those who prefer a milder taste.
  5. Order at ventanitas: Experience authentic Cuban coffee culture by visiting walk-up windows, known as ‘ventanitas’, common throughout Miami.
  6. Share a colada: This larger serving is meant for sharing. Order one with friends and distribute it in small, plastic cups.
  7. Pair with Cuban bread: Enhance your coffee experience by ordering ‘pan cubano’ to dip in your drink.
  8. Visit at peak times: For the freshest brew, order during busy morning or afternoon hours when turnover is high.
  9. Experiment with brands: Try popular Cuban coffee brands like Café Bustelo or Pilon for an authentic taste.
  10. Respect the ritual: Observe locals and follow their lead. Cuban coffee is more than a drink; it’s a social custom.

Popular Miami Cafes for Cuban Coffee

A lively Miami cafe serving traditional Cuban coffee in a bustling neighbourhood.

Miami boasts numerous cafes serving authentic Cuban coffee. Here are some popular spots where you can savour the rich flavours of cortadito and colada:

  1. Versailles Restaurant: Known as ‘The World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant’, this Little Havana landmark offers traditional Cuban coffee at La Ventanita, its walk-up window.
  2. La Carreta: A chain of Cuban eateries, La Carreta serves robust cafecito and cortadito alongside Cuban cuisine.
  3. Panther Coffee: Located in Wynwood, this modern coffee shop offers a contemporary take on Cuban coffee drinks.
  4. Tinta y Café: This cosy café in Coral Way serves excellent Cuban-style coffee in a relaxed atmosphere.
  5. Islas Canarias: Famous for its croquetas, this family-owned restaurant also serves top-notch Cuban coffee.
  6. El Pub Restaurant: Situated in Little Havana, El Pub offers authentic Cuban coffee and food in a nostalgic setting.
  7. La Colada Gourmet: This café specialises in Cuban coffee and pastries, offering a wide variety of caffeinated delights.
  8. Cortadito Coffee House: With locations on Washington Avenue and Lincoln Road, this café serves expertly crafted Cuban coffee drinks.
  9. Las Olas Cafe: A South Beach gem, Las Olas Cafe serves delicious Cuban coffee and food at wallet-friendly prices.
  10. David’s Cafe Cafecito: This Miami Beach staple offers quick service and quality Cuban coffee at its ventanita.


Cuban coffee in Miami offers a rich tapestry of flavours and traditions. You’ve learned the distinctions between cortadito and colada, two iconic drinks. These beverages embody Miami’s vibrant Cuban culture.

Try both at local ventanitas for an authentic experience. Savour the strong, sweet taste of Cuban coffee and join the passionate discussions it sparks.


What’s the difference between cortadito and colada?

Cortadito is a small Cuban espresso with a dash of milk. Colada is strong, presweetened espresso served in a larger cup for sharing.

How’s Cuban coffee different from American coffee?

Cuban coffee, like café bustelo, is stronger and sweeter. It’s often made with a Cuban pull or shot, unlike typical American brewed coffee.

Where can I find authentic Cuban coffee in Miami?

Cuban American cafeterias in Miami serve genuine cortadito and colada. Some spots use traditional espresso machines and flattop grills for Cuban sandwiches.

Is Cuban coffee similar to drinks at Starbucks?

Not quite. Cuban coffees are unique. They’re more like strong espresso shots with sugar, different from Starbucks’ caffé lattes or macchiatos.

What’s the history of Cuban coffee in Florida?

Cuban coffee culture spread to Florida, especially Tampa and Ybor City, through Cuban Americans. Vicente Martinez Ybor played a key role in this coffee migration.

How do you drink colada coffee?

Colada is served in a larger cup with small cups. It’s meant for sharing, unlike cortado or espresso drinks meant for one person.

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