Cafe con Leche

ImageCoffee is generally the first thing that I put into my body everymorning. Call it irresponsible and/or unhealthy but I can find several million New Yorkers who would say otherwise.

Whith that being said, I like to put a little ceremony and homemade authenticity in my eye-opener. It’s like giving yourself a tangible “good morning”, a nice few minute break in what for many people is the most stressful part of the morning. It’s easy to make, most certainly beats that crappy cup of dollar coffee you buy at the convinience store or gas station every morning, and will have starbucks on the defensive.

Cafe con Leche is comparable to the latte, just with a more humble attitude about it. It’s almost exclusively a breakfast drink, consisting of mostly boiled milk. Spanish brand coffee (like El Pico, above) packs a punch when it comes to caffeine, so it’s a guarenteed wake-up call despite all that warm milk.



Finely ground espresso coffee (preferably a brand like El Pico or Bustelo)




For cafe con leche, you’re going to need a cheap, stovetop espresso maker (or cafetera, in Spanish). These are generally very inexpensive and you can find them at most hardware or kitchenware stores. It looks complicated to use but is literally the easiest, probably most simple way to make good, quality coffee.


Dismantle the espresso maker. There should be three parts to it: the top container, the bottom container, and a strainer like funnel in the middle. Fill the bottom half with about two or three fingers of regular tap water, screwing the funnel like device back on. Fill that device a bit more than half way with your coffe grounds. DO NOT PACK THE COFFEE IN! Screw the upper half back on over the other two, making sure that everything is screwed on securely (it will be a searing hot mess if not). Put it over a low-medium flame.


Fill your coffee mug with the desired amount of coffee. Remember that you’re adding more liquid to this mix so

make sure that you leave enough room for the coffee itself to be added.

Toss it into a sauce pan and put it over a low-medium flame. KEEP A SHARP EYE ON THE MILK. When it boils, itwill rise quickly and, if you’re not paying attention, overflow. As soon as the milk begins to rise, remove from heat.

Check to see if the cafetera is producing coffee by lifting upthe hinged lid. One should be able to tell when the coffee is done by hearing a dry gurgling sound and it should be visible that no more coffee is being produced.

Pour the black coffee from the cafetera into the scalded milk. Return to the heat for a second and let the combination boil/rise again (this should take no more than a minute).

Pour and serve hot. Add sugar to your taste.


One response to “Cafe con Leche

  1. Pingback: Machuquillo | En Hudson, Cocinamos·

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