Don’t let the sweetness of café Cubano (aka cafecito or Cuban coffee) fool you. This stuff is hardcore—which is why we’re guilty of drinking at least one a day to keep us energized. But not all Cuban coffee is made the same, which is why it’s imperative that you have the right tools and follow the right recipe.
That’s why we tapped Ariete chef Devin Braddock for her go-to recipe. First thing’s first: You’ll need a stovetop espresso maker (we like the Bialetti Express Moka Pot). You’ll also want to load up on brown and white sugar. Lots and lots of sugar.
And before you start brewing, it’s important to note that the best Cuban coffee has a layer of frothy espumita floating on top of a robust espresso—so start flexing those arm muscles because you’re going to need ‘em. A colada is a larger version of this drink, typically made with a few more shots, and, well, more sugar.
“I use Café Bustelo (which is my favorite!), but any ground dark roast will do,” says Braddock. “I also use a mix of 50/50 natural brown sugar for sweet molasses notes and white granulated sugar to make the espumita (foam). I mostly do this by eye instead of weight, just like my grandmother does—however, I’d say about ¼ cup sugar mix will suffice.”