How Do You Make Cuban Coffee: A Step-by-Step Guide to Brewing the Perfect Cup

Cuban coffee, also known as Café Cubano, is a delightful and highly potent beverage that has captured the hearts of coffee lovers all around the world. Known for its rich flavor, velvety texture, and strong dose of caffeine, the art of making Cuban coffee has been passed down through generations. In this step-by-step guide, I will walk you through the process of brewing the perfect cup of Cuban coffee, allowing you to experience the true essence of this iconic beverage.

Gathering the Ingredients and Equipment

To begin your journey towards the perfect cup of Cuban coffee, you will need to gather a few essential ingredients and equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:


1. Cuban coffee blend: Traditionally, Café Bustelo is the preferred coffee brand for making Cuban coffee. However, you can also use other dark roast espresso blends.
2. Water: Using filtered water is recommended for the best taste.
3. Sugar: Cuban coffee is typically sweetened, so you will need granulated sugar.


1. Espresso maker: You can use a stovetop espresso maker such as a moka pot or an electric espresso machine.
2. Demitasse cups: These small cups are used to serve Cuban coffee. They have a capacity of about 2 to 3 ounces.

Preparing the Moka Pot

The moka pot, also known as a cafetera or a greca, is a classic coffee-making device used in Cuban households. Here’s how to prepare the moka pot to brew your coffee:

1. Disassemble the moka pot by unscrewing the top chamber from the lower chamber.
2. Fill the lower chamber with water, ensuring that it does not exceed the safety valve.
3. Insert the coffee filter into the lower chamber. Fill it with the desired amount of coffee, roughly 1 to 2 tablespoons per serving, depending on your preference for strength.
4. Screw the top chamber back onto the lower chamber tightly.

Brewing the Coffee

Now that your moka pot is ready, it’s time to brew your Cuban coffee. Follow these steps:

1. Place the moka pot on the stove over medium heat. Ensure the handle is not directly exposed to the flame if using a stovetop espresso maker.
2. As the water heats up, the pressure will build, forcing the water through the coffee grounds and into the top chamber.
3. It is crucial to monitor the brewing process closely. Once you hear a hissing sound and see the coffee streaming forcefully into the top chamber, it’s time to remove the moka pot from the heat.
4. Run the bottom of the moka pot under cold tap water to stop the brewing process and prevent the coffee from becoming over-extracted or bitter.

Sweetening the Coffee

One of the defining characteristics of Cuban coffee is its sweetness. To achieve the signature flavor, follow these steps:

1. While the coffee is still hot, add an ample amount of sugar to a separate container or a traditional Cuban coffee cup known as a pocillo.
2. As a general guideline, use about one to two teaspoons of sugar for every shot of espresso brewed.
3. Carefully pour the hot coffee over the sugar, allowing it to dissolve and create a creamy, frothy layer known as espumita.

Serving and Enjoying Cuban Coffee

Now that your Cuban coffee is brewed and sweetened to perfection, it’s time to savor the experience. Follow these final steps for a true Cuban coffee experience:

1. Pour the coffee into demitasse cups, leaving some space at the top for the froth.
2. Stir the coffee and sugar mixture gently to ensure it is well incorporated.
3. Traditionally, Cuban coffee is enjoyed in a social setting, so share the experience with your friends or family.
4. Sip and savor the rich, smooth flavor of your homemade Cuban coffee. Be prepared for a jolt of energy due to its strong caffeine content!


Brewing the perfect cup of Cuban coffee is an art that combines tradition, skill, and passion. By following this step-by-step guide, you can unlock the secrets of this beloved beverage and delight your taste buds with its unique flavor profile. From gathering the ingredients and preparing the moka pot to sweetening the coffee and serving it in traditional cups, every step plays a crucial role in creating an authentic Cuban coffee experience. So, why not give it a try? Brew yourself a cup, sit back, and indulge in the heartwarming flavors of Cuba.

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