Stovetop Espresso Makin’

Growing up, I have always woken up to the smell of Folgers in your cup Cafe Cubano and Spanish chatter. It is still my favorite routine when I visit my grandparents in Florida, or my parents a few miles away. A couple years ago my aunt gave me my own stovetop espresso maker and a set of tiny tea cups. I am not as experienced as my Cuban relatives yet, so here is a tutorial that my abuela helped me with. 🙂

 The espresso makers used by my family range from this style to the current style displayed above. And then of course the kind they used in Cuba.

What you will need:
Stovetop Espresso Maker/Percolator
Espresso grounds
 [label should read something like “finely ground for espresso,” etc]
My family tends to use Cafe La Llave or Cafe Bustelo. I have also seen Pilon, which is actually referred to as “Cuban Espresso.”

Unscrew the top.
Fill the “filter” with grounds and pat it down.
My grandma told me to fill the bottom with water just to the top of the screw.

Screw the top back on and put it on the stove [on high!].
If you like your coffee strong and bitter, you can stop here and simply wait for it to finish percolating.
If you want it sweet and “foamy,” do the following:
Grab a measuring cup or mug and put 2.5 teaspoons of sugar in it
and wait for the first drip of coffee.
 [usually takes 10 minutes – my grandma leaves the lid up so she can watch for it]
Pour that first drop in with the sugar.
Here are some estimates my grandma showed me.
These are amounts for a 4 cup espresso maker. Proportion accordingly… 
looks like .5 tsp?
the photo above is of my coffee after i added some milk.
she’s just giving a visual here.
Stir up this mixture.
Until it looks like this:
Note: That stuff is TASTY. Like coffee candy. All that sugar and a bit of coffee. I used to steal a fingerful as a kid.
Once the rest of your coffee has made it’s way from the bottom compartment to the top, pour it into the sugar mixture and stir it up.
And serve.
I usually add a splash of milk to my espresso.
OR a lot of milk and make it a cafe con leche.

Either way, it hits the spot.



  1. I steal a spoonful of the sugary goodness!

  2. Love this post!! It makes me sort of long for traditions like this in my family. So when my kids grow up and think of breakfast, they'll think of my morning traditions. Right now, that tradition is mommy carrying around decaf and having my kids spill it on me all the time when they climb on me. 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh! This looks so yummy! Might have to try it this weekend. 🙂

  4. My granpa used to do coffee like this too..
    We are italians,so we love espresso, but i enjoy american coffee more..once in awhile i like having espresso with a frind or my hubs..
    I like espresso from the moka better than from my mom's bialetti espresso coffee machine, too strong!
    Love you blog,

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