How to Brew

Classic Cuban Coffee Recipe

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If you boast Cuban roots or live somewhere on the southeastern coast of the United States, like Miami, for example, you already know how delicious Cuban coffee is. But if you’ve never sipped this fine caffeinated beverage, allow us to enlighten you.


Cuban coffee, also called cafecito or café cubano, is a type of espresso that developed in Cuba when Italians first arrived in the country. Now, no Cuban meal is complete without enjoying this beverage, and chances are, if you’re visiting a friend in Cuba, you’ll be greeted with a demitasse cup full of the sweet coffee upon your arrival. 

You can make this drink with any type of espresso, but the best Cuban coffee, of course, is made with coffee beans grown in the country. Cuba’s primary coffee-growing region is in the Sierra Maestra mountains, and once picked, these beans are dark roasted and ground in a wooden mortar called a pilone.

We know making a trip to another country just to find good coffee isn’t feasible, though, so if you’re in the market for quality Cuban ground coffee, head to your local grocery store and pick up a package of Cafe Bustelo or Pilon. 

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Just like a regular shot of espresso, the cafecito is topped with a layer of foam — the crema. But while that of the typical espresso shot might taste a bit bitter, Cuban coffee has a sweet crema. That’s because sugar is added before brewing, which produces a slightly different flavor than adding sugar afterward as you would if you were sweetening a regular espresso shot. 

The brewing method also sets the two apart. Pulling a shot of espresso usually requires an espresso maker, but café cubano is most frequently made with a Moka pot. You can use any coffee machine in a pinch, but for the best, strongest results, you’ll need a Moka pot brewer. 


Cuban Coffee Recipe


  • Finely ground espresso
  • 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • Whisk


Step 1:

Start by using an espresso maker or Moka pot to brew your Cuban coffee. Spoon a bit of coffee into a mixing cup and set the rest aside; you’ll come back to it later.

Cuban Coffee Brewed

Step 2:

Add sugar granules to the mixing cup, and whisk the sugar and splash of coffee together until the mixture’s pale brown and foamy. 

Whisked Coffee And Sugar

Step 3:

Pour the coffee you set aside into a mug, and top it off with the sugar foam, and stir until they’re smoothly blended. 

Sugar Foam Over Coffee

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Now, you’re ready to enjoy your sweet Cuban coffee!

After just one sip, you’ll understand why so many go crazy for the drink. A well-made cafecito is too good to keep to yourself, though. For sharing, combine three to six shots of espresso to make a colada and split it into several demitasse espresso cups. And if you find the sugary sweet Cuban coffee is a bit too strong for you, add a bit of steamed milk to the shot and enjoy a cortadito. 

Happy Caffeinating!

Cuban Coffee Recipe

Classic Cuban Coffee

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

A sweet and bold Cuban coffee drink recipe that is truly inspired by the authentic taste and history of this roasted bean.


  • Finely ground espresso
  • 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar


    1. Prepare coffee in an espresso maker. Add one teaspoon of the espresso into a mixing cup and set the rest aside.
    2. Add sugar to your mixing cup with the espresso and whisk until pale and light in color.
    3. Combine the espresso you set aside with your espresso/sugar mixture and stir. Serve and enjoy! 
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