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Rod on the Job: Making Spanish coffee at Huber's Cafe

Rod visits Portland's oldest restaurant and learns how to make the iconic Spanish coffee.

PORTLAND, Ore. — If you were asked to name Portland's most iconic beverage you might think of Huber's Spanish coffee, in part due to the perfectly choreographed tableside performance that comes with the drink. Meteorologist Rod Hill stopped by to try his hand at one of Portland's most beloved bartending creations.  

Established in 1879 at the corner of 1st and Morrison, Huber's Cafe is Portland's oldest restaurant.

Originally known for its turkey sandwich and arched stain-glass skylights, in 1975 third generation owner Jim Louie came up with a new idea — a drink poured tableside with a performance to boot. Huber's Spanish coffee was born.

The Spanish coffee tradition isn't that old, at least when you compare it to the 140 year history of the restaurant. Louie says the idea evolved over time and credits a number of people, including former Portland State classmates with the recipe.

Customers loved the drink and show so much that after 45 years it remains one of the most popular items on the menu.

The interior of the restaurant is as recognizable as the coffee. In 2000 it served as the backdrop for a scene in Men of Honor, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert De Niro. Louie had the chance to meet Cuba Gooding Jr. and noticed De Niro in the restaurant on two occasions shortly after shooting wrapped.

Here's how you can make Huber's Spanish coffee on your own

You'll need:

  • 3/4 oz - 1oz of 151 Rum (Huber's uses Cruzan)
  • 1/4 oz of Triple sec liqueur (Huber's uses Bol's)
  • 1.5 oz of Kahlua coffee-flavored liqueur 
  • Fresh brewed coffee to fill the glass
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Super-fine sugar 
  • Whipped cream
  • A match 


1. Prepare the glass by running the lime wedge around the rim and press glass into sugar.

2. Add a touch of triple sec followed by 3/4 oz - 1 oz of 151 rum, depending on preferred strength of drink. 

3. Carefully ignite triple sec and 151 rum, turning the glass until sugar has begun to caramelize. 

4. Add Kahlua coffee liqueur and top with fresh brewed coffee.

5. Add whipped cream and nutmeg for garnish.

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