Cuban Coffee (Cafecito)

By The Spruce Eats

Prep Time: 15minutes

Yield: 5 serving

Cuban coffee is sweet, rich, and delicious. Traditionally, it's served after dinner, and there's no need for dessert when you're sharing this beverage with family and friends. It requires a special technique that creates shots of espresso with a thick layer of foamy crema on top. Unlike other espresso drinks, the crema is created with sugar, not milk, and there's no need to have an expensive espresso machine in the kitchen. To make Cuban coffee, a 6-cup or 9-cup stovetop espresso maker or moka pot work best. Brewing the coffee is easy and fine-ground Cuban coffee makes it authentic. Freshly ground coffee beans work just as well. There are a couple of tricks to transforming sugar into the perfect crema and it does take practice. First, watch the pot and use the first tablespoon or so of coffee that's brewed. It's concentrated and almost like coffee sludge, ideal for whisking with sugar to create the thick paste known as espuma (or espumita). To get the desired consistency you need to whip the mix for a couple of minutes. It takes patience and muscle, but the resulting coffee is worth every bit of it.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup coffee (finely ground; or amount needed for pot)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (or amount for coffee pot)
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

Directions

  1. In a large stovetop espresso maker, brew coffee according to the manufacturer's instructions using fine-ground coffee.
  2. In a glass measuring cup with at least 2 cup capacity, add the sugar. Once a little bit of coffee has brewed, add about 1 tablespoon to the sugar. Reserve a little extra coffee concentrate in a small dish to use if needed. Place the pot back on the stove to finish brewing.
  3. Make the espuma by using a small whisk or spoon to vigorously beat the sugar and espresso until it is a pale brown, almost foamy paste, about 2 to 3 minutes. You cannot beat it too much.
  4. When the coffee has finished brewing, pour it over the espuma while stirring to incorporate. Let the foamy crema rise to the top.
  5. Pour into individual espresso cups. Shake the measuring cup a little and use a spoon as you pour to get crema into each cup.
  6. Serve and Enjoy!