Cigars, Rum and Coffee – the Real Cuban Experience

Posted: 28-Nov-18 09:41

Aside from the sun-drenched beaches, cultural sites, and rhythmic dances, Cuba is perhaps best known for its cigars, rum, and coffee. The “Havana’s Aromas” tour allows visitors to experience the absolute best of each, all while discovering how such world-famous quality is assured.

Cigars, Rum and Coffee – the Real Cuban Experience

Before cruise passengers disembark to enter Cuba, they must sign up for some excursions to explore the city of Havana and all it has to offer. “Havana’s Aromas” is one such offer, which brings visitors on a tour of the “guilty pleasures” on offer, as reported by the Manila Standard.

According to the leader of the five-hour tour, in Cuba, "marriage" is what a person has when he holds a jigger of Havana Club Rum, a Cohiba cigar, and a demitasse of Cafe Serrano, the best brands of each. “Havana’s Aromas” lets visitors to Cuba sample such a marriage, introducing guests to the world-famous Cuban cigars, rum, and coffee in turn.

Puffing on Cigars

The tour begins by paying a visit to the biggest tobacco factory in the city, where an expert tabaquero (cigar dealer) introduces guests to the various manufacturing areas. Visitors see just how the Cubans grow, harvest, and process tobacco for Cuba’s famous cigars. According to the factory, the best tobacco leaves come from Pinar del Rio in Western Cuba, thanks to its ideal weather and soil conditions for tobacco farming.

Guests can see for themselves exactly how a cigar is made, as five different dried and fermented tobacco leaves are hand-rolled to make one cigar. According to the Manila Standard, the four inner leaves—three fillers and one binder—must be of the highest grade, as they determine the quality of the cigar, while the fifth outer leaf must be the best looking and the smoothest, for aesthetic reasons.

Quality is key here, and each cigar is made from start to finish by one cigar maker. The workers are paid for every cigar they make, and each worker can create up to 150 cigars per day. All the cigar brands produced in Cuba are made here, by following each cigar brand’s respective grade specifications of the tobacco leaves.

Swirling the Rum

After the factory tour, guests are taken to Palacio de la Familia Pedroso, a 238-year-old castle that is now a commercial establishment, complete with an al fresco restaurant and some souvenir shops. Here, they can enjoy the cigars they just saw being made, while being offered a taste of Havana Club Rum, more popularly known as El Ron de Cuba (The Rum of Cuba). It is the fifth largest rum brand in the world, selling approximately five million cases annually in 120 countries worldwide.

Unsurprisingly, this particular rum is the most popular souvenir purchase by Americans visiting Cuba.

Sipping the Coffee

Also at Palacio de la Familia Pedroso, tour participants can relax and indulge in the smooth, rich flavour of Cafe Serrano – the most sought-after coffee in the world.

Grown from the Arabica beans of Sierra Maestra in Southwest Cuba, this coffee is 100% organic and is known for its intense, full-bodied, and aromatic flavor. As it is double the strength of regular standard coffee, it is usually served in a demitasse.

Here, the tour ends. Guests can partake in dinner at the restaurant, peruse the souvenir shops, or simply continue to enjoy their cigars, rum and coffee – the ideal marriage, according to the Cubans.  

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