To mark the 500th anniversary of Havana’s foundation, Italian coffee brand, Lavazza has launched a limited-edition Cuban premium blend complete with Cuban artwork. The new ¡TIERRA! La Habana, narrates the city’s centuries-old story through 100% Arabica Cuban beans and original artwork. Where to taste it? Only in Havana and only in October and November so time is of the essence to book your Cuba holidays (and your Havana casa particular) now!

Lavazza is paying a very special tribute to Cuba’s vibrant capital and is doing so with full flair and pomp on the occasion of its 500th anniversary next month. To mark Havana’s half-century birthday, the Italian coffee brand has gone all out to produce a Limited Edition, Havana-inspired coffee blend titled ¡TIERRA! La Habana (which could be taken to mean: “Land! Havana”, as perhaps the words of a European discoverer or coloniser 500 years ago) and which can now be purchased and tasted exclusively in a handful of coffee shops in Havana.

Yes, you read that right, the only way you’re going to get to savour this premium blend inspired in Havana (and made with 100% Arabica Cuban beans) is by actually booking yourself a Cuba holiday and travelling to Havana between this month and the next. Time is running out for you to experience the taste of this wonderful creation with delicate hints of chocolate and cereals.

If you think travelling to Havana is a huge price to pay to try a special coffee blend, just think of it as the most original way to mark a once-in-a-lifetime milestone birthday of a one-of-a-kind city that’s in a unique process of rebirth and revalidation as one of Latin America’s most wondrous cosmopolitan beauties. And also, you can cushion the blow of by staying in a Havana particular (and as you know we’ve got quite the selection of those, in every price range!).

Where to get a taste? In Havana of course!

The only place where you will be able to take flavourful, bodyful sips of this limited-edition coffee is in Havana (and

Living room of Bohemia Hostel, a casa particular in Old Havana's Plaza Vieja
Bohemia Hostel, a Havana casa particular right on Plaza Vieja

where better?) and at only three locations exclusively. Two of these locations are not only great coffee places (one is a legendary, old-world luxury restaurant) and some of the most prestigious in Havana but they are also housed inside historic colonial buildings (almost as old as the city). I’m talking about the swanky Café del Oriente in the centric Plaza de San Francisco de Asís and the photogenic Café El Escorial in the scenic Plaza Vieja, where during this month and the next, Lavazza’s ¡Tierra! La Habana will be the official coffee on offer.

There’s one more Havana café where you can enjoy Lavazza’s new Cuban blend, this time in the downtown area of Vedado at Café America on Calle 23, esquina F, a new and popular joint open daily from morning ‘till midnight. In this far

An elegant Havana casa particular in Vedado – Casa Mario

less touristy place (as opposed to Old Havana) you’ll find a good mixture of locals and travellers (not to mention exceptional casas particulares like the one pictured on the left), with both foreigners and habaneros raving about this very well reasonably priced eatery, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and, of course, a good selection of coffees and drinks all day long. It’s also, quite exceptionally, the only privately-run coffee place in Havana where you’ll find Lavazza’s Cuban-inspired limited edition coffee this October and November. Unless, you believe contradictory sources that point to another coffee place in Havana, named similarly but in a completely different location.

There is one Cuban website that claims that the third coffee shop serving Lavazza’s limited-edition Cuban coffee is actually the less known Cafeteria America in Galiano and Neptuno, (Old Havana). We’re not sure who to believe, but there’s only one way to find out, right?

The special blend

As per the words of its makers, the new ¡Tierra! La Habana is a special blend evoking the heat and atmosphere of Cuba’s sultry streets, which is also captured in the artwork created for the launch of this iconic anniversary blend by Cuban artist Yanel. The illustrator drew inspiration from the Cuban capital’s most symbolic landmarks, with the Castillo del Morro lighthouse featuring on the coffee tins along with the profiles of a Cuban countryman (a.k.a. guajiro) depicted with the typical straw hat and cigar on the lips and a Cuban woman dressed in traditional attire.

Lavazza tin artwork to commemorate Havana's 500th birthday
Lavazza tin artwork to commemorate Havana’s 500th birthday

The taste of the 100% Cuban coffee by Lavazza is said to be full-bodied and soulful with hints of chocolate and cereal, but I could only truly describe it after having tasted it myself… here is me wishing I could get on a plane to Havana next month! Otherwise, I’m sure that some of our casa particular owners in Havana will be rushing to get their hands on the tins to offer them to their guests for very special anniversary breakfasts and afternoon coffee breaks.

The special artwork – beautiful tins to keep and collect

I’ve already said that Lavazza’s new ¡Tierra! La Habana premium limited-edition Cuban coffee blend features unique artwork by Cuban illustrator Yanel but it also features photographs by U.S. photojournalist Steve McCurry. The photographer’s work depicts the daily life of Cuban countrymen (also known as campesinos) and the Cuban countryside, the real protagonists in Lavazza’s project, who worked alongside Oxfam and the AIEC (Association of Italian Equity Crowdfunding) for the creation of this tribute piece, a flavourful ode to Havana, Cuban coffee growers and Cuban culture.

“The best pictures are ones that tell a story, that take us on a journey”

The words of McCurry above come to live in the new Lavazza packaging with beautifully illustrated tins most coffee lovers would treasure.

There is a total of three collectible tins, all featuring an exclusive original design and containing delicious Cuban coffee.

Is there no way I can get my hands on a tin in Europe?

Lavazza’s Havana-inspired anniversary edition coffee blend is currently only being sold and served in Havana but if you can’t travel to Cuba on a whim this month or the next, there is still some hope for getting your hands on a tin.

The only other way you can grab a Lavazza Limited Edition ¡Tierra! La Habana tin is to go to the brand’s flagship store in Milan or any of the other Lavazza Eataly shops scattered around Italy. So, yes, you’ll have to travel, either way, it will either be a trip to Italy or a trip to Havana.

A Cuba holiday and a Havana casa particular

We naturally favour the latter as it’s the more authentic option of the two – and yes, technically, the more expensive because of the flight costs but also the most exciting, and after all when it comes to accommodation you can save by staying in a Havana particular and truly experiencing local flavour, both in place and in taste!

A sip of Lavazza in your Havana casa particular?

There are some casas particulares in Havana already boasting about having stocked up on the new Lavazza Havana-themed coffee tins. Some have shown it off via their Instagram accounts while others are actively offering the new blend to guests as part of their inclusive breakfasts (it depends on each casa whether they do it out of courtesy or charge you a bit extra for a once-in-a-lifetime sip of this limited-edition premium blend.

What you can look forward to on every sip of Lavazza ¡Tierra! La Habana

Lavazza’s latest Cuban creation was done in a sustainable way, in close collaboration with the Cuban government and agrarian institutions to achieve a high-quality end result for both domestic consumption and export (in this case, no news of exports have emerged as we’ve already pointed out that you can currently only get a taste of this premium Cuban blend in Havana or Italy).

Michelle Curto, President of the Agency for Cultural and Economic Exchange with Cuba, the organisation that sponsors Lavazza in Cuba, said that the new blend was the result of the hard work by Foundation Lavazza since January 2018, contributing to the efforts of the local Cuban government to reach their goal of sustainable coffee production.

During its launch presentation in Havana’s Casa de la Amistad (a romantic building if there ever was one), Curto said:

“The product we present today has been made with 100% Cuban coffee, processed by the delicate and loving hands of the peasants in [Cuba’s] western mountains, where excellent Cuban coffee is grown”

Cuba’s coffee-growing heroes – a labour of love in pictures

Documenting the work of Cuba’s coffee growers, the launch of Lavazza’s ¡Tierra! La Habana also marked the inauguration of a photography exhibition at Casa de La Amistad with images captured by Steve McCurry (the same ones used to illustrate some of the tins).

So, if you’re in Havana this month or the next, you know where to stop to peruse the photo reportage in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra mountain range, where to sip Lavazza’s new premium Cuban coffee blend, and which Havana casa particular (we’ve mentioned a few in this post) to go for to stay close of the coffee action.