How to Make Cuban Coffee: A Journey to the Heart of Cuban Culture

Cuban coffee, also known as “Café Cubano,” isn’t only a drink. It’s a symbol of Cuba’s history and tasty flavors. This article will guide you on How to Make Cuban Coffee with easy steps and info about its customs and traditions.

how to make cuban coffee
how to make cuban coffee

What Is Cuban Coffee?

Cuban coffee, often called “Café Cubano,” is a strong and highly sweetened coffee beverage from Cuba. It is known for its rich, intense flavor and cultural significance. Cuban coffee needs finely ground dark coffee beans, sugar, and a unique brewing.
One typically uses a Moka pot or a stovetop espresso maker to make Cuban coffee. Like espresso cups, the coffee grounds are finely powdered and brewed into a concentrated shot. What sets Cuban coffee apart is the addition of sugar during the brewing process. People mix sugar with a bit of coffee to make a sweet paste. Then, they add the sugar to the rest of the coffee, creating a lovely and strong drink.

In Cuba, people drink Cuban coffee in tiny cups all day. It’s a famous drink that shows Cuban kindness and culture. Friends and family often share it to be friendly and close.

Types of Cuban Coffee

Cuban coffee culture offers a variety of coffee preparations, each with its unique twist on the classic Cuban coffee flavor. Here are a few popular types of coffee:

Café Cubano (Cuban Espresso):

This is the quintessential Cuban coffee. It’s a small, strong espresso pot typically sweetened with brown sugar during brewing coffee. Traditional Café Cubano is known for its robust flavor and intense sweetness.

Cafe con Leche:

This Cuban coffee variation combines Café Cubano with hot milk. It’s a milder and creamier option for those who enjoy the flavor of Cuban coffee but prefer a less intense experience.

Café Cortado:

A “cortado” is a sweet espresso drink cut with a small amount of steamed milk. In the context of Cuban coffee, it’s a shorter, less diluted version of Café con Leche, with a strong coffee taste.

Café Bonbon:

This tasty Cuban coffee treat puts sweetened condensed milk at the bottom and adds a shot of Café Cubano. It looks nice with two layers and the sweetness and coffee flavor mix.

Café Americano:

Although not exclusive to Cuba, the Americano is liked by people who want a milder coffee. You make it by adding hot water to espresso, giving it a more robust flavor than regular Cuban coffee.

Café Bombón:

Like a Café Bonbon, this drink layers condensed milk and espresso but is served in a smaller glass. It’s a delicious, sweet and indulgent way to enjoy Cuban coffee.

Cuban Coffee with Cinnamon (Café de la Casa):

Certain Cubans enjoy adding a bit of ground cinnamon to their coffee, giving it a warm and fragrant taste.

Café con Miel (Coffee with Honey):

In Cuba, some folks put honey in their coffee for a natural sweetener. It gives the coffee a unique and slightly fruity sweetness.

Café de Chorreador:

Not as many Cubans do it this way, but some use a “chorreador,” a cloth filter over a container, to make delicious coffee. It gives the coffee a smoother and slightly different flavor.

Cuban Coffee Cocktails:

Cubans get creative with coffee drinks. They make things like “Café Cubano con Ron” (Cuban Coffee with Rum) and “Carajillo” (coffee with liquor, often rum or brandy).

These are some of the exciting ways to enjoy Cuban coffee. Whether you like a strong Café Cubano or a sweet Café con Leche, Cuban coffee has choices for different tastes and times.

How to Make Cuban Coffee Drinks

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make the perfect Cuban coffee:

Ingredients You’ll Need

To create the perfect Cuban coffee, you’ll need the following ingredients:

1. Cuban Coffee Beans

The key to authentic Cuban coffee lies in the quality of the beans. Look for dark, oily beans, preferably from regions like Matanzas or Santiago de Cuba.

2. Sugar

Traditional Cuban coffee is known for its sweetness. Granulated sugar is traditionally used in the brewing process.

3. Espresso Machine or Moka Pot

You’ll need the right equipment to brew a strong cup of café Cubano. An espresso maker or a Moka pot will do the job perfectly.

Brewing Cuban Coffee: Step by Step

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of brewing Cuban coffee:

Grind the Coffee Beans:

Start by grinding the coffee beans to a fine consistency. This fine grind is essential for the vital flavor characteristic of Cuban coffee.

Prepare the Espresso:

If you’re using an espresso machine, brew a shot of Cuban coffee. If you’re using a stovetop Moka pot, follow these steps:

Fill the bottom chamber of the Moka pot with water, filling it up to the safety valve.

Fill the filter basket with the finely ground Cuban coffee, leveling it without packing it.

Assemble the Moka pot and place it on the stove top on medium heat. The brewed espresso coffee will slowly rise into the upper chamber.

Sweeten the Coffee:

As the coffee brews, blend a bit of it (around a teaspoon or half tablespoon) with granulated sugar to make a thick, sweet paste. You can adjust the sugar to your liking, but traditionally, a heaping teaspoon is used for one serving.

Combine Coffee and Sugar:

Once the coffee is ready, pour the sweetened paste into the brewed Cuban coffee.

Stir well to ensure the sugar dissolves completely into the coffee. This step is essential for achieving the signature sweetness of Cuban coffee.

Serve in Demitasse Cups:

Cuban coffee is typically served in tiny demitasse cups, perfect for sipping and savoring. The small serving size allows you to enjoy the concentrated flavors.

If you follow these steps, you can make a great cup of Cuban coffee with its rich flavor and sweet taste. Enjoy the incredible smell and the cultural experience this famous drink brings to your taste buds.

Best Cuban Coffee Brands

Picking the perfect coffee brand is very important to taste real Cuban coffee. Here are some of the best Cuban coffee brands known for their excellent quality and how they show the Cuban coffee culture:

Cafe La Llave:

Cafe La Llave is a renowned Cuban coffee brand known for its dark and rich espresso. They sell various coffee products, like coffee grounds and coffee pods. This way, coffee lovers with different coffee-making methods can enjoy it.

Cafe Bustelo:

While not Cuban-owned, Cafe Bustelo has a strong Cuban influence in its coffee. It’s famous for those seeking a bold and robust Cuban coffee experience. Their finely ground coffee is perfect for making Cuban espresso.


Pilon is a Cuban coffee brand. People like it because it keeps the old Cuban coffee taste. They say it’s smooth and firm, and many coffee homes and Cuban Restaurants use it.

El Criollo Coffee:

El Criollo Coffee is an expert in Cuban-style coffee beans. They have different roast levels to suit different tastes. People who love Cuban coffee trust them because they focus on quality and authenticity.

Cafe Santo Domingo:

Even though Cafe Santo Domingo is from the Dominican Republic, they make coffee with a Cuban touch. Their coffee is famous for being smooth and having a rich flavor. People who like milder Cuban coffee like it.

Cafe Pilon:

Cafe Pilon is a brand known for its Cuban heritage. They work hard to make coffee that shows Cuban culture. They offer both ground coffee and coffee pods for convenient brewing.

Cubita Coffee:

Cubita Coffee is a Cuban coffee brand proud of its history and how it makes coffee the Cuban way. They have different coffee products, like whole beans and ground coffee, for people who like different things.

Cafe Gitano:

Cafe Gitano is famous for its Cuban-style coffee blends. They make Cuban coffee taste strong and smell great. They sell ground coffee and coffee capsules for modern brewing.

When picking a Cuban coffee brand, think about how dark you like the roast, how it’s ground, and how you’ll brew it. Remember, some brands aren’t Cuban-owned, but they still capture Cuban coffee’s unique taste and smell for you to enjoy.

The Cultural Significance of Traditional Cuban Coffee(Café Cubano)

The cultural significance of Cuban coffee, often referred to as “Café Cubano,” goes far beyond its role as a beloved beverage. It’s closely connected to Cuba’s identity and customs. It stands for being friendly, a sense of belonging, and sharing our heritage. Let’s explore its cultural importance:

1. A Symbol of Warmth and Welcome:

In Cuban culture, giving guests coffee is an old tradition. It’s a friendly way to make them feel at home. They often say, “Have a little coffee,” to show how warm and welcoming they are.

2. A Daily Ritual:

Cuban coffee isn’t just for the morning; it’s part of daily life. Cubans often have many cups daily, like small shots called “coladas” or “cuban cafecito.” This daily habit makes people feel close and friendly.

3. Connection to Cuban Identity:

Cuban coffee makes Cubans proud. They grow good coffee beans in places like Matanzas and Santiago de Cuba. Making coffee is like an art to them. Cubans love their coffee.

4. A Social Experience:

Enjoying Cuban coffee is a social event. Friends and family often gather to share coffee and conversation. Coffee breaks aren’t for caffeine; they’re chances to connect, become closer, and build relationships.

5. Reflection of Resilience:

Cuban coffee reflects the resilience of the Cuban people. Despite challenges and economic hardships, the tradition of enjoying a good cup of coffee has endured. It symbolizes perseverance and the ability to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

6. Part of Celebrations and Special Occasions:

Cuban coffee plays a role in celebrations and special occasions. Whether it’s a birthday, a holiday, or a social gathering, a pot of Cuban coffee is often brewed to mark the event. It adds an extra layer of festivity to these moments.

7. An Artistic Expression:

Making Cuban coffee is like an art. It’s a particular skill that families have taught for years. The coffee makers, called “cafeteras,” have different styles and sizes, making them even more artistic.

Cuban coffee isn’t just a drink. It’s a treasure that reveals Cuban kindness, history, and strength. It teaches us that even in hard times, sharing coffee can unite people and preserve a lively and welcoming culture.


In conclusion, making Cuban coffee isn’t just about a recipe. It’s about a tradition that joins people with a hot, sweet coffee. So, when you want to feel Cuban culture, make a cup of Cuban coffee and enjoy the flavors from many years.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I use coffee beans to make Cuban coffee?

While you can use other coffee beans, it’s recommended to use Cuban coffee beans for the most authentic flavor.

2. Is using an espresso machine or a Moka pot essential?

Yes, these methods are crucial for achieving the robust flavor that defines Cuban coffee.

3. How much sugar should I add to sweeten Cuban coffee?

The sugar can vary depending on personal preference, but traditionally, a heaping teaspoon is used for a single serving.

4. Are there any variations of Cuban coffee?

Yes, variations like “Café con Leche” (coffee with milk) and “Cortadito” (a Cuban espresso) are prevalent in Cuban coffee culture.

5. Where can I purchase authentic Cuban coffee beans?

You can find Cuban coffee beans in specialty stores or online retailers that offer coffee from Cuban regions.

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