Cup of espresso with beans
Cuban Coffee Vs Espresso: What's The Difference?

A café Cubano, also known as a cafecito, is made similarly to espresso, using finely ground dark-roast beans. But there is a key difference between the two.

With Cuban coffee, sweet demerara sugar is added before the brewing process. A few drops of coffee are whisked with the sugar in a cup to create a pale, foamy paste called espuma.

When the remainder of the coffee is added into the cup, the espuma rises to the top, creating the signature caramel-colored foam that tops a Cuban coffee.

The raw brown Demerara sugar adds flavors of molasses and toffee and gives Cuban coffee a uniquely strong, rich, and sweet flavor. The espuma also adds to the sweetness.

With espresso, sugar can be served alongside the coffee, and is added to the drink after it's been brewed. Unlike Cuban coffee, though, it can be drunk with no sugar.

Espresso does not have the espuma you'd find atop a Cuban coffee, but rather a thinner, silky layer of foam known as crema, created by the pressure of an espresso machine.

The taste of an espresso can range from floral or fruity to smoky — and even spicy. Without the addition of sugar, it tastes slightly bitter or acidic to some.