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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Coffee Tradition in the Island

The largest Antillean island's attractions for tourism, reflected in thousands of people who visit the country's tourist destinations, are complemented by its natural and cultural wealth, history and traditions.

Hundreds of kilometers of excellent beaches, more than five centuries of history and Cubans' affable nature are key elements in the development of the leisure industry, in addition to old traditions that have survived the passage of time.

Among those customs is Cubans' habit of enjoying a cup of coffee, which, for the inhabitants of the Caribbean island, is similar to the British people's experience of drinking tea.

The only difference lies in the timing, since the British are very disciplined about the time when they enjoy the infusion, while in Cuba, any moment and pretext are good to have a drink of that aromatic nectar.

Cubans drink coffee for breakfast, alone or with milk, after lunch and dinner, and it is an indispensable companion during visits, business meetings and even romances.

Exclusive from Ethiopia and initially known as Kahwe or Kahwa, it is considered a ritual drink in Afro-Cuban religions and a traditional offer to the dead in their ceremonies.

Varieties of coffee
Coffee Dryer
Oil Painting about coffee

However, the island's dawn was dominated by the Spanish custom of drinking chocolate, until coffee displaced that habit to lay the foundations of the Cuban nationality.

In 1748, traders brought coffee to the largest Antillean island from Santo Domingo, but it was 50 years later when it was exploited commercially, when French settlers who fled the Haitian revolution arrived in Cuba.

Less than 100 years later, in 1827, Cuba already had more than 2,000 coffee plantations, the ruins of many of which have survived the passage of time - like the famous Angerona - and have been declared Humankind's Heritage by UNESCO.

The tradition remains intact at present, with plantations in mountainous areas mainly, where particular climatic conditions allow obtaining a high-quality product.

The most popular specie cultivated in Cuba is the one known as Arabic, which has nearly 12 varieties that are commercialized in the domestic market and abroad under the brands of Turquino, Cristal Mountain, Serrano, Cubita and Caracolillo, among others, and are characterized by their unique aroma and flavor.

In that environment, coffee, along with Cuban rum and the unique Havana cigars, make up an almost irresistible trilogy, especially in the case of vacationers who travel to the Island looking for leisure.

For that reason, a smoking cup of aromatic coffee is present in practically all activities in the country, both for Cubans and tourists who bet on the attractions of the Caribbean nation.

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