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Cuban Coffee Recipes

Cuban Coffee Recipes

Cuban Coffee Recipes are sacred. They are a torch that is passed down from one generation to the next. Learning to make Cuban Coffee is a right of passage that most Cuban kids walk, and the passage is paved in espuma.

The Cuban coffee recipes you find, are not going to vary too much. Most Cuban coffee recipes are going to call for the same three things: Cuban Coffee, Water and Sugar. You will of course need an Espresso Maker of choice to brew the coffee and a measuring cup or other cup to make your Espuma (see below). We love THIS espresso maker a classic with a modern spin:

Espresso Maker

Where Cuban Coffee Recipes are going to vary is in how much sugar you want to use, and of course, your dedication.

You may be asking yourself, why do cuban coffee recipes need dedication? One word, Espuma. Espuma is when you take the first drop of the cuban coffee that brews and mix it in with your sugar to form a caramel colored foam that will be the base of your cuban coffee.

A good espuma can only reached by total and utter dedication to the cause. Yes, you can make a decent espuma just by the simple act of mixing coffee and sugar together. But you have to be willing to mix them until they have not just come together, but are melded together so intricately that the ingredients have elevated into a smooth rich luscious espuma that is now worthy of cuban coffee. If you are new, don’t worry. You can develop a great espuma form, with practice. Do you have that kind of dedication in you?

Recipes that go great with any Cuban Coffee? Postre of course! Our Arroz con Leche, Tres Leches, Abuela’s Flan or our Mango Pastelitos would go perfectly!

If you won’t be making Cuban Coffee for yourself, you can easily find a “ventanita” (Cuban coffee window) in Miami. The tricky part about the ventanita is knowing what to order. The truth is (even with experience) they all kind of sound the same. The three classic Cuban Coffee on the menu are “Cafe Cubano” “Cortadito” and ” Cafe con Leche”. If you aren’t accustomed, this can cause panic. Fear not, we are here to explain the difference and show you how to prepare each

Three Classic Cuban Coffee Recipes:

Classic: Cafe Cubano: this is the good stuff. It is pure Cuban espresso mixed with espuma.

This is usually what people are referring to when they talk about Cuban Coffee. It is in the picture above. It’s a shot of espresso that could probably fuel a rocket to the moon.

If you’re in Miami, walk up to any “ventanita” and say “Un cafe cubano, Por favor”.

If you want to make it at home, as mentioned above, all you will need to make this is Cuban Coffee (we prefer Pilon but El Bustello and La Llave are all good), water and sugar. This Cafe Cubano Recipe is based on a 4 cup Espresso Maker

  • Brew the espresso in the gadget of your choice. We prefer a traditional stove top espresso maker. But if you have a nespresso you can use that as well.
  • While your Cuban coffee is brewing, pour two tablespoons of sugar into a cup in preparation to make your Espuma.
  • Make your espresso with “espumitas” by pouring out the first thick drops of coffee into the large cup with the sugar. Do not pour too much. You do not want to drown the sugar. Beat quickly so it forms a thick paste. Once it is starting to turn a caramel color, you’re almost there. Beat just a little longer to really make it nice and thick and creamy.
  • Pour in the remaining coffee into the espumitas and mix together. It should be dark on the bottom and frothy on the top. 
  • Enjoy!

Cortadito: A cortadito is the perfect balance of coffee and milk. In some countries they call this a cortado, in Cuba, it’s a cortadito. 

The word comes from cortando or “to cut” because you are cutting the coffee with steamed milk. You can make a cortado with any milk but the most delicious and typical way is with steamed and frothy evaporated milk.

If you’re in Miami, walk up to any “ventanita” and say “Un cortadito, con azucar, leche evaporado bien caliente. Servido en una taza.”

If you’re home and want to try it for yourself here’s how it’s done:

  • 2 shots of Cafe Cubano
  • 1/4 cup of evaporated milk
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • Brew the espresso in the gadget of your choice. It can be a traditional Cuban coffee maker or even a nespresso. 
  • Make your espumitas (see how in Cafe Cubano)
  • While your espresso is brewing, heat up the milk in a small pot or the microwave. 
  • Pour the coffee into individual coffee cups and add a tablespoon or two of the steamed milk on top. 

Cafe Con Leche: A delicious treat, simply cafe cubano poured into a mug of steamed hot milk and any sugar you would like to add. Can turn any morning around.

Cafe con Leche is a just a latte but with the extra Cuban coffee kick. It is hot and delicious and goes perfectly with a Cuban tostada that you can dip in (if you’re into that).

If you’re in Miami, walk up to any “ventanita” and say “Un cafe con leche con leche bien caliente” They will bring you out a mug of steamed milk, and a carafe of Cafe Cubano for you to pour as much or as little as you like. Don’t forget the sugar!

If you’re home and want to try it for yourself here’s how it’s done:

  • 2 shots of Cafe Cubano
  • 1 cup of steamed milk (your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Brew the espresso in the gadget of your choice. It can be a traditional Cuban coffee maker or even a nespresso. 
  • While your espresso is brewing, heat up the milk in a small pot or the microwave. 
  • Make your Cuban Coffee with espumitas ( see above for Cafe Cubano directions)
  • Pour milk into your mug
  • Pour in as much of the Cafe Cubano as you would like (we like it dark)
  • Add in your sugar

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