Two people hold their Ember Cup in Black and Copper Edition filled with a Cafecito.

What is Cuban Coffee? Cafecito Recipe and Tips

August 24, 2022

Cuban coffee, often referred to as café Cubano or Cafecito, is a style of coffee that embodies the culture of Cuba and speaks directly to its history.

Bold, sweet, bitter, and incredibly delicious all at once, knowing how to make Cuban coffee is essential for any aficionado or coffee lover who savors introducing different styles of the brew to friends and family.

Here is what you need to know about café Cubano.


What is Cuban Coffee?

A café Cubano is a strong, dark roast espresso variant hailing from Cuba. What makes this particular beverage unique is that it is sweetened with a sugar foam called espuma which is created by mixing the first small bit of the espresso with sugar until it is a foamy paste-like consistency.

Cuban coffee is characterized by its rich and bitter flavor. However, the espuma balances the brew, transforming it into a robust, creamy, delightful beverage.

Café Cubanos are traditionally served in a demitasse as a dessert or alongside a coffee and dessert pairing, helping to put the pep back in your step.

Additionally, Cuban coffee is a well-known digestif, which is also why it is a perfect after-dinner drink. For those who are unfamiliar with digestif drinks, these are beverages that aid in digestion. Cuban coffee is an excellent digestif because of its caffeine content. 


How to make Cuban Coffee?

While making Cuban coffee is slightly more involved than something like a Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe, it is certainly worth the added effort.

Drinking Temperature

Served at 135°F (57°C)


  • 1/4 cup finely ground coffee (or amount required for pot)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (or amount required for pot)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar


  1. Using a fine-ground, dark roast espresso, brew the coffee according to the manufacturer’s instructions in a stovetop espresso maker.
  2. Place the sugar into a glass measuring cup. Add the first tablespoon of the brewed coffee to the sugar and place the pot back onto the stove to continue brewing.
  3. Vigorously beat the sugar and espresso with a whisk or spoon to create the espuma. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is a pale brown foamy paste.
  4. Once the coffee finishes brewing, pour it over the espuma while stirring. Allow the crema to rise to the top
  5. Serve in a demitasse and spoon the remaining crema into each cup. Enjoy!

 Making the Most of Your Cuban Coffee

Since Cuban coffee is generally served after dinner, some folks like to sip it. However, a significant amount of flavor is lost as the brew cools. Therefore, if you want to get the full flavor from your café Cubano, consider serving it in an Ember Cup, which is designed specifically for espresso-based drinks.

The Ember Cup allows you to keep your Cuban coffee and other espresso drinks at the ideal temperature, thus providing a premier experience that lets you savor your brew all the way through.


Crafting a Café Cubano

Cuban coffee is a wonderfully rich, bittersweet experience best served as an after-dinner pick-me-up and among good company. Be sure to drink your Café Cubano from an Ember Cup to enjoy it from the first sip all the way to the last drop.

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