How to Make Cafe Bustelo (Recipe) 

Photo of Cafe Bustelo being made. How to Make Cafe Bustelo? Cafe Bustelo recipe.

Love Cuban espresso but don’t have an espresso machine? Do you know you don’t need an espresso machine to make espresso? At least, not when you are making Cafe Bustelo. Here’s how to make Cafe Bustelo.

Cafe Bustelo makes it easy to enjoy Cuban espresso using virtually any brewing method. Some brewing methods might include drip coffee, french press, pour-over, stovetop, etc.

This recipe includes step-by-step instructions on making Cafe Bustelo using a drip coffee maker, the most popular coffee-making method in the U.S.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cafe Bustelo offers a versatile way to enjoy Cuban espresso using various brewing methods like drip coffee, french press, pour-over, stovetop, etc.
  • The brand, Cafe Bustelo, was founded in the 1920s by Gregorio Bustelo and is known for its full-bodied, chocolatey flavor.
  • Cafe Bustelo comes pre-ground, making it convenient to use with different coffee-making methods.
  • The recipe provided focuses on making Cafe Bustelo using a drip coffee maker, which is the most popular method in the U.S.
  • Traditional Cuban coffee includes a little bit of brown sugar to balance out the bitterness.
  • Cafe Bustelo can also be made using other brewing methods such as pour-over, French press, Moka Pot, Keurig, and espresso machine.
  • Cafe Bustelo is a healthy choice, containing less than five calories per serving without sugar, and around twenty calories per serving with three tablespoons of sugar.

What is Cafe Bustelo?

Cafe Bustelo was founded in the 1920s by Gregorio Bustelo. He brought Cuban coffee from Spain to New York and became known for his espresso coffee and the values surrounding it that brought the community together.

Since its founding, Cafe Bustelo espresso coffee has become a widely consumed brand throughout the United States. It has risen in the ranks because of its full-bodied, chocolatey flavor that hits the taste buds the way an espresso should.

This coffee comes pre-ground, so you do not need equipment other than the coffee brewing method of your choice.

This recipe is with a drip coffee maker, but with very few adjustments needed, you can use your preferred method.

How to Make Cafe Bustelo: Step by Step

Here’s a step-by-step guide to brewing the perfect cup of Cafe Bustelo coffee in the comfort of your own home.

Ingredients needed

  • Cafe Bustelo Coffee Grounds
  • Cold, filtered water
  • Brown sugar for espumita (if desired)

Equipment needed

  • Drip Coffee Maker
  • Measuring Spoon (Tablespoon)
  • Standard Coffee filter

Traditional Cuban coffee is made with a little bit of brown sugar to even out the bitterness. Give it a try!

1. Add Water

Fill the water reservoir according to how much you are making – Six ounces of water per one tablespoon of Cafe Bustelo espresso

Example: If you are making espresso for four, you will add twenty-four ounces of water

2. Add Coffee Filter and Coffee Grounds

Add a coffee filter to your drip coffee maker, then add coffee grounds – Make sure you add an extra tablespoon for every six ounces of water and ensure it is spread evenly in the filter.

Example: Add four tablespoons of grounds for twenty-four ounces of water

3. Brew Your Coffee

Every coffee maker is a little different, but it will generally take under ten minutes to brew.

4. Make Your Espumita

Before pouring a cup of espresso for yourself, make your espumita.

Single-cup Espumita – Once your espresso has finished brewing, put three teaspoons of sugar in your cup and pour a small amount of espresso over top. Stir quickly until a foamy-like texture has formed. That will be your espumita.

5. Enjoy your Cafe Bustelo!

Now that your espumita is made, pour your espresso into your cup, then sip and appreciate the fine art of Cuban coffee.

If you prefer espresso without sugar, skip making the espumita, but give it a try first. A true Cuban espresso has a rich, foamy layer of espumita, and you may enjoy it more than you think.

Count calories? Cafe Bustelo is a healthy choice. Without adding sugar, it has less than five calories per serving. The total calories in a cup of Cafe Bustelo with three tablespoons of sugar are about twenty calories per serving.


Cafe Bustelo is strong, so you may need to adjust how much you use according to your taste. One tablespoon per six ounces is a baseline suggestion and what Cafe Bustelo recommends.

Other Brewing Methods You Can Use

Pour-Over Method – Cafe Bustelo works well with the pour-over method. For a single cup of espresso, use a tablespoon of Cafe Bustelo and six ounces of water.

French Press – A French Press is simple to use, and you will use the same ratio of coffee to water as you do with a drip coffee maker.

Moka Pot – This is a form of stovetop coffee making. You can make Cafe Bustelo espresso with a Moka Pot by keeping the same ratios as a drip coffee maker without changing how you use your Moka Pot.

Keurig – Cafe Bustelo has an espresso K-cup, so even Keurig users can brew espresso.

Espresso Machine – Of course, you can make Cafe Bustelo espresso in an espresso machine! Espresso machines are usually a splurge, but one that is well worth it!

You can even use Cafe Bestulo for iced coffee/cold brew. However, iced coffee may not bring out the flavors hot espresso does, and you can’t get a foamy espumita without the heat to mix the sugar with the espresso.

The takeaway from this is that Cafe Bustelo is versatile. With it, espresso is easier than ever to make at home.

It’s time to try it!

Cafe Bustelo is the perfect entry into experiencing Cuban espresso at home. Its bold, chocolatey flavor comes through in any brewing method you want to use. With the right portions and a luscious espumita on top of your espresso, you’ll be craving more.

If you aren’t ready to splurge on an espresso machine but want to make espresso at home, Cafe Bustelo is the way to go. It is pre-ground and ready to brew, with zero special equipment needed.

Once you try Cafe Bustelo, share it the way Gorgerio Bustelo intended by bringing people together to enjoy it with you!

FAQ: How to Make Cafe Bustelo

What is Café Bustelo?

Café Bustelo is a popular brand of ground coffee known for its strong and bold flavor. It is often used to make Cuban-style espresso.

How do you make Café Bustelo?

To make Café Bustelo, you will need a coffee maker or espresso machine. Start by adding the desired amount of Café Bustelo ground coffee to the machine’s filter. Then, add water and brew according to the machine’s instructions.

Can I make Café Bustelo without a coffee maker?

Yes, you can make Café Bustelo without a coffee maker. One popular method is called the “stovetop espresso” method. In this method, you’ll need a stovetop espresso maker, also known as a Moka pot, and Café Bustelo ground coffee. Fill the bottom chamber of the Moka pot with water, add the desired amount of ground coffee to the filter basket, assemble the pot, and heat it on the stove until the coffee starts to bubble up and fill the upper chamber.

How much Café Bustelo should I use?

The recommended amount of Café Bustelo is approximately 1 tablespoon of coffee per 6 ounces of water. However, you can adjust the amount based on your personal preference for a stronger or milder cup of coffee.

Can I make iced coffee with Café Bustelo?

Yes, you can make iced coffee using Café Bustelo. Brew a strong cup of Café Bustelo using your preferred brewing method, and then let it cool. Pour the cooled coffee over ice and add milk, sweeteners, or flavorings according to your taste.

What type of coffee beans are used in Café Bustelo?

Café Bustelo uses dark roast coffee beans, which contribute to its strong and bold flavor.

Is Café Bustelo instant coffee?

No, Café Bustelo is not instant coffee. It is ground coffee, which means it needs to be brewed using a coffee maker, espresso machine, or other brewing methods.

How can I make the perfect cup of Café Bustelo?

To make the perfect cup of Café Bustelo, start with the right amount of coffee for your desired strength. Make sure to use fresh, filtered water. Follow the instructions on your coffee maker or espresso machine, and adjust the grind size, water amount, and brewing time to your preference for a perfect cup of Café Bustelo.

Can I make Café Bustelo using a drip coffee machine?

Yes, you can make Café Bustelo using a drip coffee machine. Simply add the desired amount of Café Bustelo ground coffee to the machine’s filter, add water to the reservoir, and brew according to the machine’s instructions.

How does Café Bustelo compare to regular coffee?

Café Bustelo is known for its strong and bold flavor, which sets it apart from regular coffee. Regular coffee can vary in flavor and strength depending on the blend and brand, while Café Bustelo consistently delivers a robust and flavorful cup of coffee.

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Robert Knowlton is an expert barista with more than 15 years of experience. Robert's main goal is to make sure everyone can enjoy the perfect cup of coffee regardless of their skill level.