Robaina's plantation

Friday 5 December 2014

Cafe El Escorial (Plaza Vieja) Havana

               Cuba is known for several things; cigars, beautiful beaches, classic American cars....and let's not forget coffee. From the time I began travelling to Cuba it's inhabitants have raved about their coffee. Being of Italian heritage, I take my coffee seriously and my coffee of choice is espresso. I can tell you from personal experience that espresso in Cuba, most of the time, sucks. I prefer the stuff they offer you in someone's home, at least they have an excuse, it's made from a stove-top coffee maker. But in a bar?...With a proper espresso machine?? Some can be downright horrible. To find a good coffee in a Havana restaurant or bar is a difficult thing. The Partagas Cigar Shop can make a good espresso when the machine has been running for some time. The lobby bar at the Hotel Saratoga make a nice espresso served with a little cookie until they closed it off to people who don't stay in the hotel. Other than these two place it's been hit and miss (mostly miss). A couple of weeks ago while on my last trip to Havana I had to check something out at Plaza Vieja in Old Havana. I was due for an espresso and thought, let me finally check out this coffee house that I've walked by so many times but never entered. I'm glad I did because it's now become another spot to add to the good espresso list.
                Cafe El Escorial is located in a restored mansion in a corner of Plaza Vieja, across from the the Cerveceria Factoria (a spot I love to go to) and is open from 9am-10pm. They toast and sell their own beans at this location and claim to make 50 kinds of coffee. I suppose if you include all the Liquor Coffees they make such as Irish Coffee....and any coffee with a shot of alcohol in it, the numbers could rise quite easily. They also sell sweets and sandwiches and have a fair bit of tables and chairs outside and a few inside where you can enjoy them. I opted for my usual espresso and had it while standing at the bar. It had a great head and was full flavoured....4* stars out of 5 (5* for Cuba). I would go out of my way to have a coffee here and I'm sure I will in the future. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Cafe El Escorial
Mercaderes no.317
corner of Muralla
Open 9am-10pm

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