Cafe Cubano

What's Cuban coffee, anyway?

According to the dictionary, Cuban coffee is a small shot of strong espresso sweetened with brown or white sugar. According to Cubans, it's a lifestyle.

Cuban parents dip pacifiers in espresso shots to give to their children. Their children grow up to wake up to the smell of a brew at 6 a.m. and go to bed after having three shots. This beloved espresso has woven its way into Cuban culture, making itself known in songs and poems for over two centuries.

Here's the basic recipe for Cuban coffee:

1. About five to seven tablespoons of dark roast ground coffee, special for espresso. At my house, we prefer La Llave, but you can use Café Pilon or Café Bustelo.

2. About five tablespoons of sugar. This can vary on how sweet you like the espresso.

3. About half a cup of water.

4. An espresso machine.


1. In the espresso machine base, place the half cup of water until it reaches the bottom of the small button.

2. In the strainer, place the tablespoons of coffee and press down. Put as many tablespoons are you can so that the coffee reaches the rim of the strainer.

3. Put the strainer in the base and seal it very tightly. Place the machine on your stove with the heat on high.

4. Add the sugar to a cup. Open the lid of the espresso maker and watch for the first few drops of coffee. When the first drops come out, pour them into your cup with the sugar and whisk. This whisk is called espumita in Spanish, which means foam.

5. Place the espresso maker back on the stove, close the lid and let it brew. When it's done, pour the espresso into the sugar mix and stir.

6. Serve and enjoy!