How To Brew Perfect Cuban Coffee At Home

Ashley Harris

Coffee Recipes

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You might not hear much about the Cubans that often. But when it comes to Coffee, Cubans brew some of the best coffee in the world. Cuban coffee is delicious; it has a perfect taste and a sweet aftertaste. 

In Cuba, every family has one member who is an expert at brewing Coffee. The member not necessarily has to be a female. Mostly men are the ones who take up this task in Cuban families. 

Cuban Coffee is double in strength when compared to regular American Coffee. Drinking one cup every morning is a ritual for every Cuban and American Cuban family. 

cuban coffee

What Is Cuban Coffee?

Cubans were not fond of coffee before the 1960s. Before this time, there was no distinguishable coffee culture in Cuba.

However, in the late 1960s, coffee started being rationed by the Cuban Government. As it was part of the government ration, the quantity in which it was supplied was never enough. 

Cubans soon started exploring new ways of making the best of the small quantity of coffee they had. This led to many amazing coffee recipes, and signature Cuban coffee is one of them. 

Cuban Coffee is made from finely ground coffee. It is almost power-like. However, you can always find Cuban-style coffee in both Ground and Whole Bean blends.

The traditional method of Cuban Coffee Brewing involves using a lot of sugar. But, if you avoid sugar, you can choose not to add it to the brew. 

What Do You Need To Brew Cuban Coffee?

To brew Cuban Coffee, you need the following equipment. 

  • Stovetop Espresso maker
  • Cuban-style coffee (Bustelo, Pilon, La Llave)
  • Sugar
  • Glass or metal pitcher
  • Demitasse cups

When adding ground coffee to the filter, make sure you are pressing down gently. For a delicious extraction, you need to have a leveled surface. Take a spoon, place it on top of the coffee ground, and spin it in a rotating motion. This will help you quickly, even out the coffee ground. 

As far as sugar is concerned, you can altogether avoid adding it if you want.

However, if you decide to add sugar, remember this rule of thumb, add 1/2 tablespoon to an entire tablespoon of sugar per 2 ounces that your Moka Pot/Stovetop Espresso Maker can hold.

This measurement is the same for both brown and white sugar. 

If you are not sure about how much sugar you would like, try adding ¼ teaspoon of sugar first.

After taking a sip, if the brew tastes bitter, you can always add more. However, if you add too much at the beginning, you cannot go back, and reduce the sugar content in the brew. 

Cuban Coffee Recipe 

Take your Stovetop Espresso Maker, and unscrew it from the bottom half of the Maker, and remove the Filter Cup.

Now take iced water, and pour it into the bottom of the espresso maker. Try to fill up till the bolt on the side.  

Now take the metal filter cap, and place it back on the top of the bottom half of the stove.

Take ground coffee, and tamp it very tightly inside the filter cup.

Close the espresso maker and place it on a hot burner.

Take a metal cap, and pour roughly one teaspoon for each Tacita (Coffee Cup).

The traditional Stovetop Espresso Maker can brew four tactics. However, you will also find Espresso Makers that can brew anywhere between two to eight cups of tactics at one go. 

As soon as the coffee starts to percolate, pour in some sugar.

Wait until the coffee and sugar mixes, and makes a light paste. 

Cuban Coffee Serving

You should take the Stovetop Espresso Maker off the stove as soon as the coffee mixture inside hits 3/4th of the way full.

This will help you avoid coffee being spilled on the stove due to overheating.

After the coffee is done brewing, pour it into a metal cup and gently stir it. If you do it correctly, the sugar will create a foam on top of the brewed coffee. 

There is a name for this foam- espuma. If you go to a coffee shop, you will be served Cuban Coffee with espuma.

However, if you are new to brewing coffee, you might have to try it a couple of times before mastering this skill. 

Cafe con Leche or Cafecito, whatever you call it, Cuban coffee tastes best when served with milk.

You can use either whole milk, or evaporated milk, or a mixture of the two. While serving this coffee brew, first take your mug, pour in milk, and only add coffee. 

If you followed the steps mentioned above correctly, you should now have a perfectly made cup of Cuban Coffee in your hand.

If you did it right, the brew would taste like syrup that melts in your mouth. It will taste so light that you will get a sudden jolt with the first sip.


If you are visiting Cuba, do not go to a coffee shop and ask for Cuban Coffee. Cubans refer to it as simply an Espresso.

Almost all coffee shops in Cuba follow the same recipe.

However, in America, you will find every coffee shop adds its different twist to this brew.

You will find Cuban Coffee or Latte being served with condensed milk and some which do not add milk. 

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