That my friends is no ordinary coffee. It's café!
Café makes Betty Crapper very happy and a much nicer person.
Please do not speak to Betty Crapper until she has consumed her morning cafécito.
Cuban coffee is very easy to make with a stove top Italian espresso maker (cafetera). Every grocery store in Miami sells these aluminum cafeteras very cheap, as in less than $10.
Betty Crapper has two. If Betty Crapper's nine month old decided it was party time at 2:00 AM, the next morning Betty Crapper reaches for the big one.
Last night was a good night.
Cuban Coffee Instructions
Fill the reservoir with water, up to the bottom of the steam release valve. Insert the funnel filter. Carefully add your finely ground espresso beans and lightly tamp. Attach the top and do not over tighten.
Betty Crapper made a mess.
The key to great homemade Cuban coffee is espumita. Add sugar to a small pitcher.
Place the espresso maker on high heat and wait.
Espumita is very easy to make, but it requires vigilance. Do not walk away from the stove.
This is what you are waiting for!
Pour the very first drops of café into your sugar. Return the pot to the stove. It needs to finish oozing goodness. With the spoon, vigorously beat the first drops of café until the sugar/café mixture is very light colored and foamy.
Add the rest of the café and stir.
What beautiful crema on top, achieved without the benefit of a fancy and very expensive espresso machine. Although, Betty Crapper dreams of very expensive espresso machines (hint, hint!)
Decisions, decisions ... Good night? Bad night?
Tips and a Cautionary Tale
If you miss the very first few drops of coffee, no espumita for you! Don't sweat it, the coffee still works it's morning magic.
Any espresso roast will do. Bustelo and Pilon are the traditional brands.
Cuban coffee is usually served very sweet. Betty Crapper does not make hers that sweet. When Betty Crapper uses her single serving model, she uses a scant teaspoon of sugar.
Café is served in those teeny tiny espresso cups.
One day, back in her college cramming years, Betty Crapper desperately needed the magic of Cuban café. Betty Crapper was in a hurry and placed her cafetera in the middle of the burner. She figured it would come out faster.
She was right; however ...
Betty Crapper learned the hard way this is not a good idea with a cheap stovetop model. Don't EVER allow the plastic handle to sit directly above the burner. The plastic handle melted all over the burner and set off the smoke alarm.
Not a good day.