Cuban Coffee (Cafecito)

Cuban Coffee

The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 4 to 6 drinks
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
72 Calories
0g Fat
17g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 148mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 100mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cuban coffee is sweet, rich, and absolutely delicious. Traditionally, this strong drink—also called a cafecito or café Cubano—is served after dinner, and there's no need for dessert. But you can really drink it any time of day, with or without food.

Making the perfect Cuban coffee requires a special—but easy!—technique of whipping sugar and a tiny amount of espresso together to create the espuma—the foamy crema that tops the drink. Unlike most other espresso drinks, you don't need an expensive espresso machine to make Cuban coffee—just a stovetop moka pot (espresso pot) and a whisk for making the espuma.

How to Brew Espresso for a Great Cuban Coffee

A 6-cup or 9-cup stovetop espresso maker or moka pot work best for making Cuban coffee. Use a finely ground dark roast. Feel free to grind your own coffee beans fresh using a manual or electric coffee grinder. Or pick up a container of finely ground Cuban coffee, such as the legendary Café Bustelo.

The Trick to Making the Perfect Cubano Espuma

The hallmark of Cuban coffee is the creamy espuma (or espumita), which is made by whisking sugar and a small amount of espresso together until a thick, foamy paste forms. There are a couple of tricks to transforming sugar into the perfect espuma 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 a thick paste.
  • Next, get your desired consistency by whisking the mixture for a couple of minutes.

It takes patience and muscle, but the resulting coffee is worth it.

How to Serve a Cubano

Once you've made the espresso and espuma and combined them, all that's left to do is pour the mixture into demitasse cups—called copa tacita or pocillo in Spanish—and enjoy!

"If you like bold, strong, and sweet coffee, this cafecito is the recipe for you. I will admit that my arm was a little sore from whisking to make the espuma, but it was 100 percent worth it. " — Megan O. Steintrager

Cuban Coffee (Cafecito) Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/4 cup finely ground coffee, or amount needed for pot

  • 1 1/2 cups water, or amount needed for pot

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Cuban Coffee

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

  2. In a large stovetop espresso maker, brew coffee according to the manufacturer's instructions.

    Brewing Coffee in a Stovetop Espresso Maker for Cuban Coffee

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

  3. 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 of the coffee 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.

    Making Espuma for Cuban Coffee

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  4. 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.

    Making Espuma for Cuban Coffee

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  5. When the coffee has finished brewing, pour it over the espuma while stirring to incorporate. Let the foamy crema rise to the top.

    Forming the Ideal Crema for Cuban Coffee

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  6. Pour the mixture into individual demitasse cups. Shake the measuring cup a little and use a spoon as you pour to get espuma into each cup.

    Pouring Cuban Coffee

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

  7. Serve and enjoy.

    Cuban Coffee in cups

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How Strong Is Cuban Coffee?

Cuban coffee consists of strong coffee and sugar, so it has the same amount of caffeine as a strong cup of black coffee (50 or more milligrams per 1/2 cup serving, depending on the beans, roast, and coffee maker). Cuban coffee can also be made using decaf coffee.

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