Cuban espresso
Café Cubano is a type of espresso
Espresso is a concentrated beverage brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee. Espresso is widely known throughout the world....

 which originated in Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 after espresso machine
Espresso machine
An espresso machine is used to produce the traditional Italian coffee beverage called espresso.-History:The first machine for making espresso was built and patented by Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy, who demonstrated a working example at the Turin General Exposition of 1884. He was granted patent no...

s were first imported there from Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Specifically, it refers to an espresso shot which is sweetened with demerara sugar
Natural brown sugar
Natural brown sugar is brown sugar made by partially refining sugar cane extract, whereas most brown sugar is made by adding molasses to fully refined sugar, which may come from sugar beet....

 as it is being brewed, but the name covers other drinks that use Cuban espresso as their base.

Drinking café cubano remains a prominent social and cultural activity within Cuba as well as the Cuban exile
Cuban American
A Cuban American is a United States citizen who traces his or her "national origin" to Cuba. Cuban Americans are also considered native born Americans with Cuban parents or Cuban-born persons who were raised and educated in US...



Traditional Cuban-style espresso
Espresso is a concentrated beverage brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee. Espresso is widely known throughout the world....

 is made by adding demerara sugar to the container into which the espresso will drip, allowing the espresso to mix with the sugar as it is brewed – compare Vietnamese coffee preparation. Some people believe that this results in a smooth, sweet espresso.

A method commonly used to prepare a café cubano is to initially add only the first few drops of espresso to the sugar and mix vigorously. This results in a creamy, light brown paste. The remaining espresso is then added to this paste and mixed, creating a light brown foam layer, or espumita, atop the coffee. A proper cafecito can be made using either an espresso machine or an Italian moka pot, macchinetta.

The heat from the coffee-making process will hydrolyze some of the sucrose
Sucrose is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar and sometimes called saccharose. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role in human nutrition. The molecule is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose with the molecular formula...

, thereby creating a sweeter and different tasting result than adding sugar at the end.


Cortadito, which in Spanish literally means "small cut", is an espresso topped with steamed milk. It can be between 50/50 to 75/25 espresso and milk. It is similar to a cortado
A cortado is an espresso "cut" with a small amount of warm milk to reduce the acidity. The ratio of milk to coffee is between 1:1 - 1:2, and the milk is added after the espresso...

 served in other countries, but pre-sweetened.

Café con leche
Café con leche
Café con leche is a Spanish coffee beverage. More similar to the Italian caffe latte than to the French café au lait, café con leche is a coffee beverage consisting of strong or bold coffee mixed with scalded milk in approximately a 1:1 ratio...

, or "coffee with milk", is a Cuban espresso served alongside a cup of hot or steamed milk. Originally served separately, the cafecito is poured into the glass of hot milk and, then, stirred. It is the traditional Cuban breakfast beverage, served with slices of buttered, toasted cuban bread
Cuban bread
Cuban bread is a fairly simple white bread, similar to French bread and Italian bread, but has a slightly different baking method and ingredient list ; it is usually made in long, baguette-like loaves...

 which can be dunked in the coffee cup. In addition, traditional Cuban "café con leche" contains a dab of salt (popularized by the Chinese immigrants who arrived in 19th century Cuba) and a pinch of butter, giving it a unique taste.

Colada, 4-6 shots of cafecito served in a large cup along with small demitasse
A demitasse is a small cup used to serve Arabic coffee or espresso. In some languages it is called fincan, fildžan, filxhan or φλιτζάνι . In Spanish, it is called a pocillo....

glasses. It is meant to be shared.

A common variant is that the drink is sweetened while the espresso is being brewed. In this version, the sugar (most often brown sugar) is packed above the coffee grounds in the espresso machine and allowed to pass with the hot water through the espresso puck while brewing.
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