Picture of Making Cuban Coffee
Cuban Coffee is a type of espresso that is popular in many Latin countries. It is fairly easy to prepare, and incredibly delicious. Since moving to Miami I have fallen in love with the stuff, and I am trying to spread the joy of this wonderful coffee drink.

Step 1: Ingredients and Cookware

Picture of Ingredients and Cookware
Here's what you need.

Espresso: I believe any kind will do, but in my opinion Supreme by Bustelo is best.
Sugar: Plain, white sugar. Not powdered, not the raw stuff.

Espresso maker: I use a stove-top espresso maker. If you have a plug-in automatic type then more
power to you.
Mixing container: I use a metal cream/milk pourer, but you can use a coffee mug.
Teaspoon: A tablespoon is too big.
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IsmaryF1 month ago
CafeA1 month ago
I'm stiring the sugar. How does the foam come to the top as mine is black on top with no foam. Don't quite get the last process to produce foam
Great Instructable (+1) I also live in Miami and the foreign language department at my school is constantly brewing the stuff and sending it to teachers all over campus. Love the stuff, great way to start the day. just one little suggestion; when we make it at home, we usually take the first few drops to come out of the machine to make the froth. I don't know if this affects flavor, thats just how we do it.
blksheep (author)  technodude927 years ago
Using the first few drops is also how they make it where I work. I haven't noticed any difference in taste. I think it's usually done so you can froth the sugar while the espresso is brewing.
Saint blksheep7 years ago
The first coffee to get through the filter is also the strongest, so I can imagine it affecting the taste of the froth.
blksheep (author)  Saint7 years ago
It might, but honestly the flavor of the espresso is very strong overall. There really is no way to taste a difference in the foam considering you drink it all down at once. But... if you were to make the foam as a topping for a dessert, like ice cream or something, then you probably would taste a difference between the start and end of the brew
Alajas01 blksheep3 months ago
The first bit of coffee that comes out of the maker is called the ink and it is important to use it to mix the sugar as opposed to a bit of the fully brewed coffee... It is thicker and more concentrated and makes the sugar whip into a thicker paste... If done correctly each of the 5/6 shots out of the batch can have up to a cm of foam at the top

Missing the Cuban culture, and great food. Thanks for the lesson!

ChristopherG111 months ago

Cuban coffee?? this is the way it's been done for years in every other country. P.S: Travel more

blksheep (author)  ChristopherG111 months ago
Wow. Thank you for your insightful comment.

PS: 'Cuban Coffee' is just a common term for the preparation of the espresso. It isn't to say that this espresso is unique to Cuba. Here's a whole article about it.


Damn this sounds so good..Though fast metabolism & that much sugar
would not be a nice bodily experience.
I wish it were feasible with maybe half the sugar content, but I'm assuming that would screw up the ratio..
Anybody tried it it that way???
Ti42 years ago
I didn't know that this is called "Cuban Coffee" in USA. Many people do the same also here in Italy :)
I do it with brown sugar: I think that the caramel aftertaste it leaves is delicious.
Just an advice: to make the sugar-coffee "paste", use the very first drop of coffee that comes out. It's more aromatic!
And an information: the italian "stove-top espresso maker" real name is "moka" and, in Italy, the coffee it makes is not "espresso". Espresso is ONLY the short coffee made with the "steam espresso machine" like the ones you can find in bars or the smaller machines with similar functioning for home use.
acoleman33 years ago
this actually sounds good. nice 'ible!
kutz5 years ago
lol, i have mine black
 tastes terrible but it'll pick u up real quick!
small cup and one teaspoon of sugar
Zombie_BBQ kutz4 years ago
sorry to say but if it taste terrible you must have done it wrong or used bad coffee
mcsmiley3 years ago
Just to add a suggestions of the particular brands of coffee that seem to do the trick. Try either Bustelo, Pilon or Llave.
Karyes3 years ago
This is a terrific instructable! I've always wanted to make Cuban coffee at home, it's the best medicine for low energy, so thank you!
My personal (if unconventional) tip: After making the (unrefined) sugar/espresso paste and adding in the rest of the espresso, I use a little wire whisk to whip up the espuma in the stainless pot -- which I've placed on the still-warm burner after removing the traditional Italian espresso maker. I've found it's easier to get a good foam this way, especially living at a high altitude, where everything seems to cool off much more quickly.
Zombie_BBQ4 years ago
wow very nice,i miss Cuban Coffee. used to live in Florida about 23+ odd years ago .
ser_pez5 years ago
 another easy way to add the sugar is to spoon it directly into the top part of the espresso maker.  that way, when the water boils and the espresso is collected in the top part, it will mix with the sugar and then all you have to do is stir the coffee with a small spoon and then pour.  
blksheep (author)  ser_pez5 years ago
You could do it that way, but I wouldn't get the foam on top. But if you don't want the foam, it would be quicker.
I use a press for most of my coffee, with the sugar in with the coffee.
I use unprocessed (raw) sugar and I still get a gorgeous thick espuma (aka crema)
From what I understand, it is a foam of emulsified coffee oils in water, and so is independant of where or what type the sugar is.
Making sure the coffee is fresh and oily, and that the water is hot enough to make the oils emulsify should be enough to guarantee a decent espuma
 Thanks for the instructable! I just drank my first attempt at Cuban coffee and it was really god! Not quite as good as the little hole-in-the-wall (literally) that I used to get my cafecitos from in Miami, but I'm get it down pat, I'm sure. 

My rig is a 1.5 cup stovetop coffee maker. I used 4 tsp. good coffee, 1 smashed whole clove (that was a good suggestion, thank you, too, fishhead455) and 3 rounded tsp. of plain ol' sugar. I didn't get any foam, but I attribute that to adding too much coffee to the dissolving step. Still, it tasted so good that I'm going to go for another batch - perfect for a wintery day studying contracts!

By the way, your fine instructable provoked me to register so I could say Thanks! 
is there anyway to make this without an espresso maker? im broke...
Would this help?

Espresso Without a Machine Using a Single Serve Coffee Maker

ab: I don't know of any. But they come in many sizes and prices. Check thrift stores. many people buy these and never use them then toss. Others will toss when the seal is worn and it begins leaking steam. If you find one in this condition go to a coffee specialty house and match the seal. It can be removed with a sharp knife. If you find the old Italian aluminum types they are OK for awhile--but keep looking for a stainless model. The aluminums build up crud/corrosion inside the base and must be scoured. The aluminums can be spotted by the sharp octagonal edges on its top and base.
blksheep (author)  austinburke.6 years ago
Well, you have to use hot espresso. I suppose you could buy an espresso from a coffee shop and then mix it up, but the espresso needs to be really hot to melt the sugar. Usually the stove-top espresso makers are pretty cheap, between $10 and $20, maybe less.
jokavi6 years ago
You must like your coffee cold.
and7barton6 years ago
Is this the same as Cafe Stretto ? - The stuff they sell in Italian cafes ? Immensely strong with an oily slick on the top.
Zootch6 years ago
I like strong, bitter coffee, do I need ANY sugar? I am used to black Turkish coffee and triple espressos...
tandem25 Zootch6 years ago
When I lived in Florida, my an inlaw of mine made this for me quite regularly. I tried your version. it is VERY similar. Killer! Thank You. I use less sugar but very close.
blksheep (author)  Zootch6 years ago
If you don't add any sugar, then it's just plain espresso. Cuban Coffee is just the name for how the espresso is prepared. This definitely isn't bitter coffee, although it does still have a strong flavor.
Archergal526 years ago
I kinda wish I'd never read this instructable. After I made one cup, I've been making 2-3 cups/day. That much sugar and caffeine can't be good for me, but oh it's so delicious.

blksheep (author)  Archergal526 years ago
Glad you like it. And... no, it can't be good for you, but hey who wants to live forever?
uberchoob7 years ago
I've got a question. You mention how much sugar you use (5 1/2 heaping teaspoons), but how much espresso does that sweeten?? Could you give me the amount in ounces please?
I use a one-to-one ratio, e.g. 6 tsp for my 6-cup stovetop maker. Well, 6 tsp and a little more, just for fun. :) I love cuban coffee.
myrtle506 years ago
Fabulous - I always wondered what Cuban Coffee was!
RainForRent7 years ago
Dammit, I had almost forgotten how great cortaditos are. I need to get back to Miami. The coffee shop loved the gringo who always came in ordering huge amounts of cortaditos and coladas.
joeny19807 years ago
Excellent instructable. I have been looking for directions on making cuban espresso in a stovetop espresso maker and this is by far the best I've found. I have a problem though. I can't get foam at all. I've tried this a half a dozen times and I cant get it no matter what. I am using filtered water. I am putting the stove at about half way. How high do you have your heat? I have it half way up so the pot finishes in about 5 minutes. I am using a 2 cup pot, I believe yours is a six. Can you confirm? It is important to know especially if you are using 5 and a half teaspoons of sugar. I am using canned espresso coffee as well, I've tried 3 brands and same results everytime. I whipped up the sugar and it looked identical to your photo, when I poured in the rest - it is just straight black. Help me out.
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