Miami Poppycock

Miami-born Cubans want everyone to share in a ‘cafecito’ break at 3:05 p.m.

Ah!  Those open windows along the sidewalks that are strewn throughout the city, with the whirring sound of an espresso machine behind them and that unmistakable aroma emanating—almost slapping one joyfully—as it’s approached.  This is Miami’s gift to everyone, regardless of age, nationality, ethnicity or creed.

I must admit: I have my own machine at home.  I am not alone, as I estimate that a considerable amount of Miamians are addicts of the curiously-strong, curiously-sweet concoction known as Cuban coffee.

On ALL of my tours, with very few exceptions, you will partake in the sidewalk cafecito experience with me and I will always say the same thing at the very moment you are holding your thimble-sized serving: “When in Miami, do as Miamians do.”

But when I saw this morning’s Miami Herald to find that a fellow Cuban-American, PR practitioner and Facebook friend, JennyLee Molina, has launched a social media phenomenon with the “3:05 Cafecito” campaign, I nearly spilled mine on my desk.  It’s such a phenomenal idea, I almost wish I had come up with it myself!  But, I’m glad she did…

It’s actually pretty deep.

Sometimes I’m asked what it’s like to be a Cuban-American in Miami by out-of-towners; what it’s like living “in the hyphen.”  My response is always the same: It’s like being an Italian-American in New York, an Irish-American in Boston or a Polish-American in Chicago.  I’m American, but more succinctly, I am Miamian; one of the most misunderstood creatures north of 215th Street.  One that has retained the language of my forebears and gained a few of the customs of their fatherland along the way.

Miami-born Cubans are a distinct American ethnicity not often portrayed in popular media.  We are a group of sons and daughters, and grandsons and granddaughters, of Cuban immigrants who have assimilated by attending American schools and universities and are strewn all over the US like those cafe cubano windows are throughout the 305 area code.

There are a lot of things, other than our afternoon coffee break, that distinguishes folk of my ilk.  But this is definitely a worthwhile tradition to embrace for starters.

Ralph de la Portilla

Even the Kardashian sisters couldn’t resist walking up to the Cuban coffee window (Photo from

Miami Cubans sharing culture through ‘cafecito’ campaign – Miami-Dade –


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