ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s dark, it’s sweet, and it’s consumed in small portions.
We’re talking about cafecito, a Latin American take on coffee packing a caffeine punch.
News 6 reporter Ezzy Castro introduced the coffee confection to the newsroom when she started working at News 6 in 2017. Working the early morning shift, Castro has perfected brewing cafecito and often makes some for her colleagues when she’s not out in the field reporting.
“I love making cafecito, and if they’re not asking, I’m offering it. It’s something I like making for my co-workers, my friends, my husband. It really is my love language,” Castro said.
Castro said she learned how to make cafecito when she made the move from South Florida to Texas early in her career to bring a little bit of home with her.
“It’s definitely a Miami thing and it comes from the Cuban background. I read that the Cubans actually got it from the Italian immigrants that landed in Cuba many, many years ago. It’s been passed down for many generations,” Castro said. “It brings people together. The moment you smell it or hear someone is making cafecito you’re like ‘I’m there. I want to be part of this.’”
Cafecito means ‘small coffee’ in Spanish and is usually enjoyed in small espresso-like cups.
Castro makes her cafecito in a cafetera, which is different from a traditional coffee pot. The base has a detachable filter-like cup that sits on a hollow base that’s filled with water.
“I was born and raised in Florida. I’m from Miami. My parents migrated from Nicaragua over 40 years ago. There was a war in Nicaragua so they both ran away from home, got married in Honduras and migrated to Miami. That’s how my family ended up getting here,” Castro said.
Castro said she prefers only two types of brands for her cafecito: Pilon espresso ground coffee (made from cuban coffee beans), and Cafe Bustelo.
While cafecito is derived from Cuban culture, Castro said anyone can make and enjoy it.
“Here I am, Nicaraguense, making Cuban Coffee. Anybody can do it. That’s what you learn living in South Florida, because there’s so many people from different Latin American countries. It really does bring everybody together,” Castro said.
The secret to a great cafecito is the espumita, according to Castro.
“It’s the foam that you make out of the sugar and mix with the coffee,” Castro said. “By making it with love, that’s what makes the coffee. That’s what makes it so delicious at the end of the day.”
Check out the Florida Foodie podcast. You can find every episode in the media player below:
Ezzy Castro’s Cafecito Recipe
- Espresso ground coffee (preferably Pilon)
- Cafetera or espresso maker
1. Fill the bottom chamber with water.
2. Add ground coffee or espresso to filter. (Don’t be stingy)
3. Place on a stovetop or hot plate for four to five minutes. (The coffee will bubble and move from the base to the pot. Take off heat when the pot is full.)
4. Create the espumita: In a separate container mix five large spoonfuls of white sugar and one large spoonful of the coffee liquid. (Sorry, Ezzy doesn’t use exact measurements). Stir aggressively until it creates a thick, frothy, gel-like consistency.
5. Add the rest of the coffee liquid to the espumita and stir carefully.
6. Pour in 1-2 ounce servings and enjoy.