How to make an authentic cup of Cuban coffee that’s both rich and sweet

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In Cuban culture, coffee isn’t just a jolt of caffeine to kickstart your morning. Drinking coffee and eating Cuban baked goods is a social activity, bringing people together both after meals and around lunchtime. And with coffee that tastes this good, it’s no wonder it’s a major part of the day.

Cuban coffee or café Cubano is all about the preparation. To celebrate Caribbean American Heritage Month this June, we’re teaching you how to make a traditional cup of Cuban coffee that’s sweet and topped with a deliciously rich foam called espuma.

“Cuban coffee is something that’s always been served at my house and at my abuela’s across the street,” In The Know video producer Daniel Menendez said. “As an adult, prepping it and drinking it always brings me back to my childhood in Miami.”

To make Cuban coffee we use a Moka Pot, which is a stove-top coffee maker that was originally invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933. It works by creating lots of steam, enough to push water through ground coffee, and brews within five minutes or less. Today, you can find a Bialetti Moka Pot on Amazon that makes six cups for about $40.

Shop: Bialetti Moka Pot (6-cup), $39.99

Credit: Daniel Menendez / In The Know

“The best part about this homemade method using a Moka Pot is that you get rich flavor from the foam on top, so it tastes really smooth and creamy,” Menendez said.

Besides a solid coffee maker, all you need is your favorite Cuban coffee or espresso like Pilon or Cafe Bustelo, a little bit of sugar and water. Plus, having a few Cuban pastries or treats to go along with it wouldn’t hurt.

Check out the video above to see exactly how it’s made, or follow along with the ingredients and instructions for creating the perfect café Cubano below.




  1. Fill the bottom chamber of the Moka Pot with cold or room temperature filtered water.
  2. Next, fill the coffee filter loosely with finely ground espresso or coffee (we use espresso!). Make sure not to pack it in.
  3. Then, screw the base to the top, place the Moka Pot on the stove over medium heat and bring to a boil. Your coffee will flow from the center post on the top, letting out a satisfying gurgle as it brews.
  4. As it starts to brew, add sugar to a measuring cup or mixing bowl with a spout to prevent spilling.
  5. Then, open the top of the Moka Pot and look for the first few drops that brew. Pour two teaspoons of the coffee into the sugar and mix well. Place the Moka Pot back on the stove to finish brewing.
  6. Once it’s done brewing, pour the espresso into the sugar mixture, little by little, mixing as you go. Stir until the sugar is completely absorbed.
  7. Finally, pour your café Cubano into espresso or coffee cups, and enjoy.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like to read about the health benefits of coffee.

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