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Coffee Guides

How to Make Coffee in a Cafetera

If you’re a coffee lover, you probably have your favorite method of brewing coffee. Even so, there is always room to try new approaches to spice things up. Generally, there are various ways to brew coffee in the United States. They include French press, Moka pot, percolators, Chemex, Aeropress, siphon, and single-serve pod machines. Basically, every coffee enthusiast is looking for a better way to brew their cup of joe. This explains the wide variety of coffee brewing methods.

That said, Spaniards have their way of making their cup of joe. Most Spanish coffee enthusiasts use brewing equipment known as cafeteras Italianas or cafeteras to make their strong coffee. Compared to the stovetop percolators commonly used in the U.S., cafeteras brew coffee fast. Additionally, the Spanish coffee makers can make you actual espresso. This article is a guide on how to make coffee in a cafetera. Read on!

cafetera Spanish coffee maker

What is a Cafetera?

A cafetera refers to a Spanish coffee maker. The coffee maker is a result of the cafe con Leche culture. You’ll find cafeteras in almost every Spanish home and on Spain’s streets. Usually, a cafetera consists of three parts. They include:

  • The base – this is the cafetera part where the water is added
  • The filter or middle funnel – this is the cafetera part where the coffee grounds are added
  • The top chamber – this is the cafetera part where the coffee or espresso is brewed

The Spaniards use Cafeteras to make different types of coffee, which we’ll discuss later in the article. Let’s take a look at how you can make coffee in a cafetera.


Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make Coffee in a Cafetera

To prepare coffee in a cafetera, follow the following steps:

  1. Detach the cafetera parts – the base, middle funnel, and top chamber.
  2. Fill the base with water up to the notch. Ensure the water isn’t higher than the notch. This may lead to diluted espresso.
  3. Re-attach the middle funnel to the base.
  4. Add some grounded coffee to the middle funnel. The strength and richness of your espresso depend on the number of coffee grounds you add.
  5. Re-attach the top chamber to the cafetera.
  6. Place the cafetera on medium to high heat and bring the water to a boil.
  7. Remove the cafetera from the heat once you hear a gurgling sound from the cafetera.
  8. Enjoy your Spanish coffee.

Here are some tips for making better-tasting coffee using your cafetera.

  • You can fasten your coffee brewing process by pre-boiling the water using an electric kettle instead of using your cafetera
  • You’ll need to press the coffee grounds tightly into the filter or middle funnel for a more even extraction and better-quality coffee.
  • Handle your cafetera carefully when checking whether the roast is ready. This is because the top chamber of the cafetera may be hot to touch with your hands.
  • Ensure that the coffee grounds you add are just enough for your brew. As mentioned earlier, the number of coffee grounds you add determines the strength and weakness of your cup of joe. Basically, the more coffee grounds, the more intense your coffee is. On the other hand, the less the grounds, the weaker your coffee is
  • While serving your coffee in a mug, ensure that you do it slowly and with an arched angle to avoid messing up your countertop with coffee.
  • When making a Cafe Con Leche ensure that you preheat your milk before adding it to your Spanish coffee, cold milk will result in cold coffee.


Types of Coffee to Make in a Cafetera

If you’re bored with your regular cup of joe and want to try new coffee experiences, you’re in the right place. The good news is that you can enjoy different types of coffee using your cafetera. They include:

  • Cafe Con Leche

Cafe con Leche refers to a combination of half espresso and half milk. As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to preheat your milk before adding it to your espresso if you want your cafe con Leche hot. Alternatively, you can make Leche Fria using cold milk or Leche del Tiempo using room temperature milk.

  • Cafe Solo

Cafe solo, also known as Un espresso, is another beverage you can make using a cafetera. Cafe solo or un espresso simply means a shot of espresso. Usually, most European cafes use the term when ordering an espresso shot. Cafe solo is served in a small glass, similar to shots in American cafes.

  • Cafe Corto

Cafe Corto is a coffee type made “intentionally improper,” using more coffee grounds and less water to make a strong shot of espresso. Basically, cafe Corto is a more robust cafe solo version.

  • Cafe Cortado

Cafe cortado is mostly enjoyed after meals – preferably after lunch if you don’t want to interfere with your sleep. This beverage is stronger with higher notes compared to the cafe con Leche. Cafe cortado is a combination of espresso coffee and heated milk in a 4:1 ratio.

  • Cafe Americano

Cafe Americano is another beverage that you can make using your cafetera. It’s simply Un espresso that’s diluted using hot water. Cafe Americano is the closest beverage you’ll get to American coffee using a cafetera.

  • Carajillo

Carajillo is another favorite Spaniards beverage. It’s made with Un espresso, sugar to sweeten the beverage, and one part of rum, brandy, aguardiente, or Licor 43.

  • Cafe Con Hielo

Cafe con Hielo is the iced version of Spanish coffee. This beverage is a mixture of Un espresso and ice. You’ll need to drink your cafe con Hielo fast since the ice tends to dilute the espresso shot.

  • Cafe Manchado 

Cafe Manchado refers to stained coffee that’s combined with heated milk. This beverage is similar to Cafe con Leche but with less coffee. The drink is ideal for anyone looking for a light roast cup of coffee.



A cafetera is a Spanish coffee maker used in most Spaniards’ households. Generally, making Spanish coffee using cafeteras is an art that requires practice and patience to achieve the best results. However, this doesn’t make cafeteras hard to use. In fact, cafeteras are among the easiest and most adventurous coffee brewers you’ll get. Additionally, you can enjoy a variety of coffee types using the Spanish coffee brewer. You no longer have to stick to your regular cup of joe.