It seems people these days are as picky about their coffee as they are about their dinner or evening cocktail. Being a Barista can be as challenging as being a Bartender. They probably have to make as many different drinks and at least with a Bartender after the second or third drink the drinkers don't notice if the cocktail is off or they don't care. With Key West having a large Cuban Population they bring their culture to the Island giving us some excellent Coffee Shops. Here are my favorites in order.
- Baby's Coffee (Not actually in Key West but well worth the drive) 3180 Overseas Highway, US 1, Saddle Bunch Key, FL 33042 which is located at Mile Marker 15 on US 1. Anyone who reads my daily posts knows I love Baby's Coffee. It is an owner operated local business. The first word that comes to mind when I thing about going to Baby's is FUN. Everyone who works there is always happy and seems to love their job. They offer several different roasts daily. "Baby's Breakfast Blend" is one that is served every day. Then they will offer a flavored coffee which varies by the day, a dark roast, a light roast HIGH caffeine which also varies. There is also offer a Decaf every day which I don't quite understand. Decaf Coffee makes about as much sense as Non-Alcohol Beer. My preferences at baby's is either the Baby's Breakfast Blend or the high caffeine Hemingway's Hair of The Dog which I am drinking right now. Fresh pastries are made right in the store and Baby's also offers some unique hard to find wines and craft beers. *Beer and wine is only sold to go. They do not have a liquor license that allows alcohol to be consumed on the premises.
- Sandy's Cafe, 1026 White Street, Key West, FL 33040. Sandy's is an old school Cuban Coffee Shop like I recall seeing in Havana. The majority of their business is Key West Locals getting their coffee to go on their way to work. Sandy's is actually located in a Laundromat with maybe 4 or 5 stools and standing room after that. You won't find any of those flavored coffees with names you can't pronounce like that unnamed chain coffee store I don't care for that is popping up n every corner. Sandy's is most known for their Cafe Con Leche which is what I usually get or their Buchi (Colada) which is served in cups smaller than a shot of liquor and makes espresso seem like Decaf. Where was Buchi when I was studying for Final Exams in College? Sandy's also offers breakfast and lunch which is equally as good as their coffee. The Cheese Toast, another Cuban favorite, is what I usually get for breakfast. For lunch my first choice is the Cuban Mix Sandwich.
- Believe it or not my third choice is the little Coffee Counter in Winn-Dixi (For those not from Florida Winn-Dixi is one of our Big Box grocery stores) Overseas Marketplace 2796 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040. Winn-Dixi has a very small counter right inside the door that opens about 6:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM. Most of their business is people getting a coffee to drink as they do their grocery shopping or banking. First State Bank of The Florida Keys has a branch inside Winn-Dixi as well. They offer Cafe Con Leche, Buchi, Cheese Toast, Egg Sandwiches and a couple lunch items. It is quite similar to Sandy's Cafe. Being part of Winn-Dixi the prices are much lower than similar Coffee Shops but the quality is top shelf.
- 5 Brothers 930 Southard Street, Key West, FL 3040. 5 Brothers is actually a small Grocery Store originally opened by the five Sanchez Brothers, a family that has been in Key West for many generations. They make fresh sandwiches and,like any Cuban run store, great Cafe Con Leche and Colada/Buchi. All the food and coffee sold here is To Go only and is true authentic Cuban Coffee at a very reasonable price. Walking into 5 Brothers feels like I have gone back to the 1950's with that old fashion service you don't find much in this day and age. The entire store has that coffee smell and there will usually be a line of locals waiting for their caffeine fix. Almost always one of the Sanchez Brothers is the one making the coffee with the craftsmanship and care of an artist. They are a family run business with family values and great coffee. For those who live up The Keys a little bit there is also a 5 Brothers on Ramrod Key which is run with the same pride as the original location in Key West.
- Cuban Coffee Queen 284 Margaret Street, Key West, FL, 33040. Although the address Margaret Street they are actually located in the Parking Lot of Waterfront Brewery and Historic Seaport on the Key West Bight. Cuban Coffee Queen is across the parking lot from Harpoon Harry's which you may have seen as my favorite Breakfast Spot in my "Best Breakfast in Key West" Page. Stop by any morning between 6:00 and 8:00 AM and you'll see a line of people who work the local charter boats, retail stores and hotels in line waiting for their coffee and breakfast pastry. When you see the locals waiting in line that is usually a sign it is good. Cuban Coffee Queen is a simple, small coffee shop with quality coffeeat a low price. They also deliver anywhere in Old Town. Well worth visiting for your morning fix.
Since some people like that big chain Coffee Mall I will also mention that we have five (5) Starbucks in Key West but I just don't understand paying $6 for a coffee I can't pronounce when we have some of the best authentic Cuban Coffees in America most of which are less than $2 and far better. For those of you who insist on Starbucks their locations are the Crown Plaza La Concha Resort, Front Street on the corner of Duval Street, Courtyard Marriott on N Roosevelt Blvd, another on N Roosevelt and 7th Ave and at Hotel 24 North also on N Roosevelt. No matter what your preference is enjoy a nice coffee, beautiful weather and the friendly Key West atmosphere.
Gary McAdams, P.A.
The Key West Life
Barbara Anderson Realty