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How to Make Authentic Cuban Coffee Using a Moka Pot: Step-by-Step Guide

On some mornings, you don’t just want coffee. You want a shot of the best coffee you can make at home.

Cuban coffee isn’t the usual espresso shot as it uses a different ground size and brewing process. You won’t believe how easy it is to make it at home. Imagine, you only need a moka pot and a stove.

Do you have a moka pot already? Great!

The Healthy Recipe Channel will show us how to make Cuban coffee in nine easy steps. We’ll also look at the process of making the distinct Cuban mixture called espuma.

What You’ll Need

  • Finely ground coffee
  • Brown sugar
  • Coffee pot
  • An espresso cup
  • A spoon
  • A moka pot
  • Water


1. Pour water into the boiler (bottom chamber)

Disassemble the moka pot, and take out the filter to reveal the bottom chamber. Pour water into the bottom chamber. Use the bolt on the side to guide you on the level of water to add. It shouldn’t go beyond the bolt, as it’s the pressure release point. Put the filter back into the boiler chamber.

pour water into the boiler

The smaller-sized moka pots make one to three cups, while the ten-ounce moka pot makes six cups.

2. Pour coffee into the basket

Pour about three to four spoonfuls of finely ground coffee into the filter.

pour coffee into the basket

The size of your filter will tell you how many spoonfuls you need to fill it up.

3. Tamp the coffee down

Level the coffee to avoid having some grounds caught between the filter and the percolator.

tamp the coffee down

The percolator part of the moka pot rests on top of the bottom chamber. Hence, tamp the coffee down for the two parts to close firmly to contain the pressure of the boiling water. Be gentle as you do that since you still need space for steam to pass through the coffee.

4. Fix the percolator

Screw the bottom chamber and the percolator together, sandwiching the filter with coffee.

fix the percolator

When the water boils, it will pass the pressure through the coffee grounds in the filter to create Cuban coffee in the percolator.

5. Pour sugar into the tea/coffee pot

Put enough sugar for the cups of coffee you’ll make, depending on how sweet you like it.

pour sugar into the tea coffee pot

Cuban coffee is different because it’s highly concentrated and sweetened. If you’d like some espuma, we have highlighted how to make it below this section.

6. Place the moka pot on a stovetop, on high heat

Open the percolator to see the progress, and take the pot off the stove when coffee percolates sufficiently.

place the moka pot on a stovetop on high heat

7. Pour brewed coffee into the teapot with sugar

The hot coffee will melt the sugar to sweeten your colada.

pour brewed coffee into the teapot with sugar

8. Mix coffee with sugar

Stir the coffee with a spoon to mix it with sugar. Do this when the coffee is still hot before you pour it into a cup.

mix coffee with sugar

9. Pour yourself a cup of Cuban coffee and enjoy

pour yourself a cup of cuban coffee


How do you make espuma?

Make it a few seconds before your coffee is ready so that you can pour in the first drops of coffee from the percolator.

Espuma needs sugar, so pour about one to two tablespoons of sugar into a cup. The more the sugar, the easier it is to make espuma, so be generous with your portions.

Place your moka pot on the stove, and as soon as the first drops of coffee percolate, pour them into the sugar. If you add too much, you’ll not get foam, and if the amount is too little, your mixture will be too hard to press together with the back of a spoon.

Therefore, add a few drops, muddle the mixture and add some coffee drops. As you do that, the sugar dissolves, and air bubbles form. Now, place the moka pot back on the stove for it to brew more coffee as you continue muddling the mixture.

Once the coffee is ready, pour some into the cup to dissolve all sugar. The mixture that forms is espuma. It’s ready to add to your coffee.

What is a Cuban coffee maker called?

It’s called a cafetera moka. There’s an electric design and another one that makes coffee on a stove. This pot has three chambers. The bottom chamber is the boiler that turns water into steam pressure, and the middle chamber is a basket or filter for coffee grounds.

When you heat the bottom chamber containing water, the pressure forces it upward into the filter to mix with coffee and onto the top chamber where the coffee percolates. It comes out rich and flavorful, almost like espresso.

A moka pot is also efficient as it has an easy cleaning process, so it’s an everyday appliance. Plus, you can estimate the number of coffee cups it’ll make as it has a small water chamber.

Why is my Cuban coffee bitter?

One of the reasons coffee tastes bitter is over-extraction. If the water to coffee ratio is off, say you have too much water, you risk over-extracting the grounds. That being the case, pour enough coffee into the filter of your moka cup. Brewing it for too long can also mess up its taste.

Can you make Cuban coffee in an espresso machine?

Yes, you can use an espresso machine to make any Cuban coffee. For a complete experience, pour the first drops of coffee into a cup to make espuma.

Is Cuban coffee stronger than espresso?

Cuban coffee is an espresso shot but with added ingredients like sugar. The brewing process is the same, but there are a few more steps when turning the brew into colada, cafecito, or another type of Cuban coffee.

Final Thoughts

It’s possible to enjoy good things in life, at home, without a mind-boggling or expensive process. For instance, the Healthy Recipe Channel shared a family recipe he’s loved for years, and what to say but thank you.

You don’t have to go to the store for new cooking supplies as you’ll use the same moka pot you’ve had for years. Maybe, you do need to swap the grounds you have for a finely grounded brand. But, that’s all.

In about half an hour, you’ll have a fresh cup of Cuban coffee complete with espuma. Once you make your first cup, tell us about it.

Krista Haws

Known among her friends as 'the caffeine fiend', Krista loves all things coffee. From an extremely short, strong espresso to a 3 day cold brew, Krista loves them all.

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