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Famed Miami restaurant Versailles is a popular spot for Cuban-style coffee. (Photo: Versailles/Facebook.)
Miami is obsessed with the cafecito (also known as a café Cubano or a Cuban coffee), a fantastically strong, super-sweet espresso. It’s made by pouring a little just-brewed dark roast over demerara sugar and then mixing it into a paste. This helps create a foamy layer of crema on top after the remaining espresso is added. Served in a cup not much bigger than a thimble, it usually costs less than a buck. If you’re with friends, order a colada – a larger Styrofoam cup holding several cafecitos, which comes with small cups so you can share.

Though you can order a cafecito at any time of day, it’s especially popular as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. In fact, 3:05 (a nod to Miami’s original area code) is to cafecito devotees what 4:20 is to potheads. No matter where you go in Magic City, you’ll find Cuban cafés, restaurants and small window stalls selling the jolt-inducing espressos.

For nearly four decades, the iconic Manolo y Rene Cafeteria in downtown Miami has been keeping customers caffeinated 24-7. The cash-only corner eatery is nothing more than an L-shaped counter with fixed stools, but this affords java junkies a front row seat to the barista action. It’s a no-frills, all-thrills experience as the friendly staff prepares froth-topped cafecitos with a smooth, studied efficiency. Don’t knock back more than two at a time — unless you’re aiming to stay up for more than 24 hours straight. 281 NE 1st St., Miami, FL 33131; 305-358-4488

Just a few blocks away in downtown, Las Palmas Cafeteria is a slender, diner-style spot. Score a seat at the counter by the open-faced front, so you can people-watch both passersby and fellow customers. It’s a good choice for budget-minded diners, who can enjoy a full breakfast for $5 and lunch for not much more than that. The cafecitos here are made at a hair-raising strength, which makes them a great option on fuzzy mornings when the previous evening’s poor choices are still exacting their toll. 209 SE 1st St., Miami, FL 33131, 305-373-1333

Another auténtico experience is Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop, a tiny, ever-bustling casual Cuban eatery located in the artsy Wynwood district. If you want to take your time or catch up with a friend, sit down inside at the counter or at one of the polished aluminum tables. Wanna grab and go instead? The small takeout window offers sugary cafecitos that pack a powerful punch. 186 NE 29th St., Miami, FL 33137; 305-573-4681

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Cafecito is a type of a espresso sweetened with demerara sugar. (Photo: El Exquisito/Facebook.)

There are a number of locations of the local chainlet La Carreta in and around the city. The hacienda-style eateries offer up a straightforward rendition that never fails to be strong, sweet and steaming hot. Think of it as Starbucks for cafecitos. Multiple locations; lacarreta.com

A stop at the famed Cuban eatery Versailles in Little Havana is practically required. The ever-popular restaurant, which opened 45 years ago, is always swarmed with tourists, though there are plenty of locals packing the place. Skip the wait for a table and nip into the bakery next door, where you can order a bracing cafecito or a cortadito (a cafecito with a splash of milk) from the takeout window, which stays open until 2:30 a.m. on Friday and 3:30 a.m. on Saturday. 3555 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33135; 305-444-0240; versaillesrestaurant.com

Over in the Calle Ocho neighborhood, El Exquisito is the spot to hit. Its sugar-rich cafecito is a nice complement to the media noche, a pressed sister sandwich to the classic Cuban made with roasted pork, ham, cheese, pickles and mustard. 1510 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33135; 305-643-0227; elexquisitomiami.com

Those wishing to enjoy cafecito in more luxurious surroundings can check in to one of the high-end hotels that offer them as an afternoon treat. At the Epic Hotel in downtown Miami, guests are offered made-to-order cafecitos. They’re even available as super-sized, shareable coladas to help kick-start business meetings that have started to lose steam. 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, FL 33131; 305-424-5226; epichotel.com

Meanwhile, across Biscayne Bay at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, a cafecito cart decked out with all the necessary equipment and ingredients to give guests a quick pick-me-up after hours in the hot sun to help get them amped up for their evening activities. 1 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33139; 786-276-4000; ritzcarlton.com