Coffee with Milk (Café con Leche) is strong black coffee (similar to espresso) that is poured into scalded milk. Sugar is then added, according to your taste. Authentic Puerto Rican Coffee with Milk entails many simple steps to produce an aromatic rich tasting coffee.
Basically, I never drank a cup of coffee prepared in a percolator or coffee maker when I lived in Puerto Rico for many years. In my household, the black coffee was always prepared in a saucepan with ground coffee and boiling water before it was strained with a cloth strainer (colador de tela). Furthermore, any remaining black coffee was poured into a glass jar for future use.
A Little Bit of Food History!
Puerto Rican coffee is grown in the mountains of Central Puerto Rico. The most popular bean harvested in Puerto Rico is the Arabica for its sweetness and smoothness. I had the opportunity to visit a friend up in the mountains and admire the beauty of the colorful coffee beans (red, green and orange).
I will be using Café Bustelo to make our black coffee but you can use other brands like Café Rico. Café Rico is listed as the top 10 best Puerto Rican coffees.
Preparing the Black Coffee!
In a saucepan, pour 2 cups of water and bring the water to a boil.
The water is boiling so add 2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee.
I usually add 1 heaping tablespoon for every cup of water. However, you can adjust the quantity, according to how strong you prefer your coffee.
Stir ground coffee well into liquid and continue stirring during the boiling process until the coffee starts to foam.
The coffee is starting to foam.
Lastly, reduce heat to medium and simmer for approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
We just finished brewing our coffee after 3 minutes of simmering. The next step is to strain the coffee.
Straining the Black Coffee!
We can now strain the coffee. I normally strain the coffee in a stainless-steel pitcher but decided to use a glass pitcher so you can observe the dripping process. Rinse the glass pitcher with hot water to avoid cracking and certainly use a glass pitcher that is safe for high temperature.
Place the cloth strainer into the opening of pitcher and gently pour the coffee.
If the coffee is too hot, the glass pitcher will immediately start to fog up.
At the end of the dripping process, squeeze the bottom section of the cloth strainer to extract the last few drops.
After straining the coffee, you will have approximately 1½ cups of black coffee.
Adding Sugar to Sweeten Your Coffee with Milk!
I normally drink coffee without sugar if prepared with a regular coffee maker. When prepared in a saucepan and then strained (café colado), it is a much stronger coffee and therefore, I need to sweeten the coffee with some sugar.
If you feel the same way, then add 1 tablespoon of sugar into a cup along with 1 teaspoon of the brewed coffee. Similarly, you can add amount of sugar, according to your taste.
Stir until a paste is formed. This will allow the sugar to dissolve quickly when the hot coffee with milk is poured into cup.
Heating the Milk for Our Coffee!
Pour 1 cup of whole milk over medium heat into saucepan and stir continuously. Stirring prevents the milk from forming a thin layer of fat on top. In our culture, the Spanish term is nata.
As the milk heats up while you are stirring, small bubbles will start appearing around the edges of saucepan. This is an indication that the milk is scalded. The temperature for scalding milk is 180°F.
At this point, gradually pour the entire brewed coffee (café colado) into milk.
Continue simmering for approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
We just finished preparing our coffee with milk (café on leche) after simmering for 3 minutes. This recipe yields 2 cups of coffee with milk.
Serving a Cup of Coffee with Milk (Café con Leche)!
We are ready to pour the Coffee with Milk into the cup.
Note: Adding sugar or sugar-coffee paste mixture to your coffee with milk is optional.
Pour yourself a cup of this delicious aromatic rich tasting coffee with milk.
Enjoy a strong cup of Puerto Rican Coffee with Milk (Café con Leche) with our traditional bread (Pan de Agua or Pan Sobao) served with butter.
Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Prepare Coffee with Milk (Café con Leche)!
Recipe and Nutritional Facts!
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.Print
Coffee with Milk (Café con Leche) is strong black coffee (similar to espresso) that is poured into scalded milk. Sugar is then added, according to your taste.
- 2 tablespoons ground espresso coffee
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- Boil water in a saucepan.
- Add 2 tablespoons of ground espresso coffee. Stir until a foam starts to form.
- Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Strain the black coffee with a cloth strainer over a glass jar.
- Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of brewed coffee into a cup. Stir until a paste is formed.
- Pour milk into saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until bubbles starts appearing around the inside edges of saucepan.
- Gradually pour the entire brewed coffee into saucepan with milk. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Inside a cup, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of brewed coffee. Stir until a paste is formed. You can also just add regular sugar, according to your taste.
- Pour Coffee with Milk into cup.
Nutritional Facts without Sugar for 1 cup: 91 Calories, Total Fat 4.3g, Cholesterol 12.2mg, Sodium 77.1mg, Total Carb 8.8g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 6.2g and Protein 4g.
- Category: Beverages
- Method: Boiling
- Cuisine: Puerto Rican