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How to make a good Cuban coffee?

man preparing a cuban coffee with milk

There are millions of coffee fans around the world, but in Latin America, where there are large producers, they also have their own particular way of preparing it. A very clear and recognized example is Cuban coffee, its Arabica variety is one of the tastiest and that is why it is so popular. If you were wondering what is cuban coffee and how is it prepared?, keep reading!

Over the years, Cuban coffee is not only drunk on a daily basis in Cuba but also all over the world. Especially in those with a large community of Cuban members, such as the United States, Spain or Italy.

Perhaps at first sight it may seem similar to a normal shot of espresso, but we will see that Cuban coffee has its own particular way of preparation that differentiates it from the rest. It has become one of the most traditional drinks in Cuba.

You are probably asking yourself: what is Cuban coffee, does it contain rum, is it made with any of its delicious fruits? And the answer is no: Cuban coffee is a coffee that is made on its own, in an Italian coffee pot, slightly sweet and with a layer of frothy cream on top.

Its preparation has some little tricks, which we are going to tell you about, but the result is a slightly caramelized coffee, delicious and with a light foam. It should be prepared with a dark roast coffee to highlight the intensity of the coffee and its sweetness.

What will we need?


  • Ground coffee
  • Water
  • Sugar, one teaspoon per cup.
  • Italian coffee machine
  • 1 teaspoon
  • Porcelain or pyrex pitcher.

These and many other products can be found at the “el mercadito” and in our agri-markets!

Preparation of Cuban coffee:

  • Place in a heat-resistant pitcher one tablespoon of sugar for each cup to be prepared.
  • Hacer el café en una cafetera italiana siguiendo todos los pasos y, mientras está subiendo, retiramos unas cucharaditas de café por cada dos de azúcar y la echamos en la jarra. 
  • When all the coffee has finished rising, we remove the coffee pot from the fire.
  • Beat the sugar with the teaspoons of coffee until you have a homogeneous cream.
  • We put all the coffee on top of our cream and serve.

How to make a perfect coffee in an Italian coffee maker?

As we have seen before, making a good coffee in an Italian coffee pot is essential to be able to carry out the Cuban preparation. Perhaps you have never used one or you already do it in a different way; if so, it will be good for you to refresh how it was and we leave you some keys so that it will be very tasty.

Its origin dates back to Italy in the 1930s, when espresso machines were already being perfected for professional use, but there was not yet a device that would make it easier to prepare it at home. 

With this idea, in 1933, the engineer Alfonso Bialetti patented the coffee maker that we know today. Its arrival would provoke a beautiful revolution and, little by little, every Italian household got one.

Today we can find many coffee makers that follow the same mechanism, including those used for the preparation of Cuban coffee, with some aesthetic changes and from other manufacturers. They continue to be very popular. Coffee pots are classified by the number of cups they can fill and also by the material.

How does the coffee maker work?

The mechanism is very simple and at the same time ingenious. The coffee maker is divided into three parts: a base or reservoir, a funnel for the coffee beans and an upper chamber. 

Once we place the coffee and water, we take it to the fire, the water is heated up to 90°. The hot water rises, goes through the coffee funnel that infuses it and continues to rise through the pipes until it reaches the upper decanter. When the base is almost empty, bubbles are formed and this generates the particular sound that this coffee maker has, which also warns us to remove it from the fire. Translated with (free version)

Step by step to prepare a coffee:

  • Choosing the coffee: each person has his or her own taste and will know what coffee he or she likes, but we recommend that it be of the best possible quality.
  • Fill the reservoir with hot water: It will help keep the coffee beans from getting too hot before brewing.
  • Filling the coffee funnel: Unlike other coffee makers, it is not necessary to press it.
  • Close the coffee pot: We must close it well, without excessive force and very carefully so as not to burn ourselves.
  • The coffee pot on the stove with the lid open: it is important to place it on a medium or low heat.
  • Close the lid and remove from the fire: Once we see that the coffee has come out, we remove the coffee pot from the fire so that it does not continue to heat up.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Clean the coffee maker as soon as possible: we must avoid leaving it dirty for a long time, since this affects its operation and it will not be completely clean afterwards.

Cuban coffee variants

Let’s take a look at other ways of drinking and preparing Cuban coffee:

  • “Cortadito”: In this case it is half coffee and half evaporated milk, which makes it very sweet and rich
  • Coffee with milk: we prepare the classic Cuban coffee and add it to a cup of warm milk.
  • Cappuccino: In this case the first thing you have to make is the espresso coffee. While it finishes brewing, you heat the milk. Then you put it in a cup and add the coffee.
  • Coffee “bombón”: It is a mixture of Cuban coffee with condensed milk in equal parts.
  • Coffee “Moka”: It is a variant of the normal coffee with milk, but with the addition of a pinch of chocolate.
  • Cuban coffee with rum: For this recipe, white rum or aguardiante can be added to a Cuban coffee. To keep in mind: the coffee should occupy ¾ of the cup and the rest for the liqueur.

Remember that you can find Cuban coffee at home with Mandao App without leaving your house!

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