How to Make Cuban Coffee

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Cuban coffee is famous for being sweet and strong at the same time. This delicious caffeinated drink is made from a mix of dark roasted coffee that is finely ground and sugar. While that may just seem like an espresso, some differences set it apart. The Cafecito or Cuban pull, are present at just about every meal in Cuba. You can also find hundreds of coffee shops along the East coast that offer this delicious drink for coffee lovers with an exotic taste to enjoy.

There are a few different types of Cuban coffee, each with its own flavor profile. If you are interested in taking an international trip with your taste buds, exploring one of these options is a great way to go about it. The Cafecito is the traditional option. It is a blend of regular coffee beans and sugar, served in the same manner as an espresso.

Colada is basically a large Café Cubano that comes with smaller cups for sharing. Café Con Leche is a Cuban coffee made traditionally but served with steamed milk on the side. A Cortadito, however, is a traditional Cuban coffee served in a slightly larger cup with a couple of tablespoons of steamed milk added to the cup.

What Makes Cuban Coffee Different?

Have you ever met someone who had Cuban coffee? If so, their rave review is probably what started you on the quest that led you here. The strong taste and dark look really set Cuban coffees apart from the rest of the coffee world.

The very distinctive taste comes from the raw brown sugar that is used to infuse the coffee grinds. This sugar, specifically demerara sugar is much richer than most commercial variants of brown sugar. It makes the coffee come out thick, dark, and full of rich flavor.

It is added to the grounds before brewing which also makes the crema layer highly defined. Authentic Cuban coffee is also cultivated in organic soil without the use of chemical fertilizers.

Pouring Cuban Coffee

How Do You Make Cuban Coffee?

The dark-roasted coffee grounds are mixed with sugar before they are actually brewed. The coffee ground and sugar mixture will all go into the espresso holder and get pressure brewed together.

This is one of the main reasons that Cuban coffee has a signature taste and texture. You can always add sugar to espresso after it is brewed, but the method of brewing the sugar and the coffee grounds together under pressure creates a unique flavor profile you won’t find in any other coffee preparation.

What is Cuban Coffee Made Of?

Authentic Cuban coffee comes from Arabica and Robusta coffee beans grown in eastern Sierra Maestra or Escambray Mountain regions. These areas have rich humus soil that is protected to ensure that the beans have a fully organic growth cycle.

The beans are then picked by hand, most retained for domestic consumption, though a smaller portion is exported. In addition to the special organic coffee beans, it has a natural raw brown sugar that is beaten before it is brewed with the coffee grounds directly.

Can You Make Cuban Coffee In A Regular Coffee Maker?

Cuban coffee is brewed using the same pressure method as espresso. Unfortunately, you won’t get the same strength, flavor, or even richness from a regular drip brew coffee machine. If you are simply looking for a taste of Cuba, you can brew drip coffee with Cuban roast. It will simply be a regular cup of coffee, but you will have a shadow of the taste you may be craving. The process of making espresso and Cuban coffee both require very high heat and forced pressure. Without both heat and pressure passing through the grounds, it won’t be possible to make an authentic cup of Cuban coffee.

How to make Cuban Espresso

Do You Need a Moka Pot to Make Cafecito?

If you want to make Cuban coffee at home, you will need either an espresso maker or a stovetop Moka pot. In Cuba, the Cafecito is made on the stove using a Moka pot which creates that rich, dark brew that has made the drink famous all over the world. You can use an espresso maker to get the same result if you don’t have a Moka pot at home. You just need the right beans, beaten raw brown sugar, and of course, water. Adding the mixture together and brewing it in the same method as espresso will give you traditional Cuban coffee without the need for airfare.

How Much Caffeine is in Cuban Coffee?

Cuban coffee is generally about twice as strong as a regular cup of American drip-brew. It is about as caffeinated as espresso, if not slightly more. Cuban coffee is prepared in the same pressure process as espresso, but with brown sugar added to the grinds. A single serving or shot of Cuban coffee, therefore, should have between 40 and 50 mg per shot. You can also have a double Cuban which is the equivalent of two shots, which will have between 80 mg and 100 mg of caffeine per serving.

Once brewed, it is served in a small cup. If you plan to have it plain, it will be served in an espresso cup, if you are planning to add cream, it will be served in a slightly larger, but still small coffee cup. Even if decide to have your Cuban coffee with cream, the caffeine content will remain the same, but the bitterness will simply be cut by the milk.

Is Cafe Bustelo the Same as Cuban Coffee?

Authentic Cuban coffee is a delicacy that is as rich in flavor as it is in culture. There are many places in the US and all over the world where you can grab a legitimate cup of Cuban coffee made from organic Cuban beans and natural raw brown sugar. However, on a larger scale, actual Cuban coffee with authentic ingredients can be hard to come by. Thankfully, other options will allow you to enjoy a near replica of the Cuban staple without the need for a passport.

Cafe Bustelo coffee pays homage to the rich roots of Cuban coffee by providing a Cuban-style coffee that rivals the original in terms of flavor. While it is not exactly the same as Cuban coffee, this Cuban-style coffee blend is as close as you will get to the real thing without using authentic ingredients. When brewed using an espresso maker or even a Moka pot, the result is a wonderfully dark Cuban coffee with a rich golden crema and a sugary sweet flavor. The kick that hits your senses after the first sip is enough to keep you going all day long.

Coffee Bustello to make Cuban Coffee

Final Thoughts

Cuban coffee is a staple in Cuban as well as many parts of the world. Not only is this rich drink flavorful, but it also has a beautiful culture that comes along with it. If you love espresso, then you will love the taste of this golden drink that is infused with organic brown sugar. Perfect for your first sip of caffeine in the morning, or as a luxurious end to your meal. While not every coffee shop offers Cuban coffee, you can make your own at home with the help of Cuban-style coffee brands or pick one up from your local Cuban barista.