Ingredients and kitchen utensils:
Cuban or Espresso ground coffee
4 tbsp white granulated sugar
1 Cuban or espresso coffee maker (cafetera), or espresso machine. (Coffee maker size: 1 full cup (8 oz), that yields about 4 full (2 oz) espresso cups)
1 mixing cup or mug
1 small spoon
Directions when using the traditional Cuban coffee maker or an espresso coffee maker. (To use an espresso machine, follow manufacturer’s instructions):
Open the cafetera or coffee maker and fill bottom vessel with tap water, just up to right below the steam release nut. If coffee maker size yields 4 (2 oz) cups, you should pour about 1 cup (8 oz) of water into the bottom chamber, but it depends on the size of the coffee maker.
Insert the funnel and fill it (packed) with about 5 tablespoonful of dark roast ground Cuban or espresso coffee. Tap lightly with the spoon to keep coffee pressed down in place. Screw on the top portion of the coffee maker very tightly.
On a separate cup or mug, add the 4 tbsp of sugar and set aside. (The amount of sugar depends on the size of the cafetera. In this case, we are using 8oz cafetera; Cuban coffee has a very sweet and intense flavor).
Place the coffee maker on top of the stove over high heat. Keep the top lid open. Watch carefully, for in a few minutes, the first brewed drops of coffee will begin to flow out. Remove cafetera immediately and pour about 1 little shot (about 1 tsp) of that first brew into the mug with sugar. Return the cafetera back to the stove and close the lid.
While the rest of the coffee finishes brewing, use a small spoon to stir together the sugar and the brewed shot of coffee. Do this very rapidly until you obtain an almost pale-tan (almost white-beige color) and thick paste. (Some people prefer to use the handle of the spoon, instead of the spoon itself, to stir).
Once the coffee is done, remove the cafetera from the stove and pour all the coffee gradually into the mug, stirring slowly to mix it well with the sugar paste. At this point, you should have a dense and frothy foam formed on top of the coffee; that is what Cubans call “espumita”.
Carefully, pour the coffee into individual 2oz espresso or demitasse cups and serve immediately. Enjoy.
To Make “Cortadito”:
On a small cup (about 1/3 cup) of Cuban coffee, add about 2 tablespoons of hot milk.
To Make Cuban “Café con Leche” (Milk with coffee or café au lait):
Prepare a cup with very hot or steamed milk. Add about one shot or 5 to 6 tbsp of Cuban coffee. You can add sugar to the milk if desired, but taste it first, for coffee is already sweetened enough.