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Home » Raf Coffee: One Intriguing Legend And A Taste To Remember

Raf Coffee: One Intriguing Legend And A Taste To Remember

How do you say coffee in Russian? Raf coffee. OK, probably not, but considering Raf coffee’s popularity, you might. As with any mysterious legend, there are debates on the specifics. Some say it appeared in the 90s, while others claim this popular coffee drink was created at the start of the 20th century. Nevertheless, what everybody agrees on is how good this sweet drink is.

Raf coffee is a delicious combo of espresso, cream, and vanilla sugar. Classic vanilla remains our favourite, but nowadays, you can choose between various flavours, such as lavender, pear, citrus, banana, and many more.

So, why not treat yourself to Raf coffee today? Check out our Raf coffee recipe, and you may find a new favourite coffee drink.

What You Need

  • double espresso shot
  • 120 ml single cream
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla sugar

At A Glance

Prep time:

5 minutes


1 serving

How to Make Raf Coffee

As the story goes, Raf coffee was invented at Coffee Bean, a popular coffee shop in Moscow. One regular customer, Rafael Timarbaev (Raf), preferred coffee with milk. So, he asked the barista for a cup of coffee with milk, but not a cappuccino. The barista mixed an espresso shot with cream and sugar and steamed it together. What resulted is now the stuff of coffee legends.

The drink became so popular the manager added it to the menu under the name Raf. Other Russian coffee shops soon followed, and the drink spread outside Russian borders. Here’s our step-by-step recipe, so you can try this delicious brew yourself and check why it’s one of the most popular coffee-based beverages worldwide.

 Raf Coffee recipe

Step 1: Pull an Espresso Shot

Pull a shot of espresso like you usually do.

Pro tip 1: If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can use a Moka pot or a French press. But if you’re brewing with a French press, use 4 tablespoons of coffee for 100 ml of water.

Step 2: Steam All Ingredients in a Milk Pitcher

Once your coffee is ready, add vanilla sugar, cream, and coffee to a milk jug and steam using a milk steamer. When the mixture reaches a smooth foam, you are done steaming. You can also use vanilla syrup instead of sugar, or you can use regular sugar if you’re out of vanilla. Nevertheless, vanilla makes Raf’s coffee taste sweeter and more flavourful than plain sugar.

Experiment with different sugars, syrups, and herbs. Raf’s consistency tolerates all of these. Lavender Raf coffee (the most popular version of this brew) is great for spring, and you can add cinnamon and pumpkin spice in autumn.

Pro tip 1: If you don’t have a steam wand, heat the single cream in a saucepan and then mix all ingredients in a French press. Ensure your press is clean and warm if you’ve used it to brew coffee. Pour coffee into the French press, add the sugar and cream, and close the lid. Plunge the filter repeatedly until the mixture doubles.

Step 3: Serve

Finally, transfer the coffee into a cup, and serve. You can sprinkle more vanilla sugar on top of your extra-sweet coffee.

Voila! Your Raf coffee is ready. Raf coffee contains espresso and heavy cream, but is much more customizable than espresso con panna.

Final Thoughts

Raf, also called Russian coffee, has taken the Russian coffee world by storm. It is now available in coffee shops worldwide, and you can make it easily—only three ingredients and a few simple steps. Refresh your espresso with heavy cream and sugar, and you’re guaranteed a good cup of coffee. Experiment with different coffee beans and syrups; this will become your new favourite brew.


What differentiates Raf from a latte or cappuccino is the preparation method. You need milk to make a latte and cappuccino, pour milk into espresso, and Raf coffee doesn’t use milk but heavy cream. In addition, espresso, cream, and sugar aren’t added separately to the cup. Instead, you steamed them together, and that’s why latte and cappuccino have descriptive layers, but Raf coffee doesn’t.

Raf coffee tastes sweet with a hint of espresso flavour. This drink is made of espresso, cream, and vanilla sugar, steamed together so it has a thick, silky consistency. Its texture is described as resembling melting ice cream. There are different versions of Raf coffee, such as lavender, citrus, banana, and more, where you can also taste these flavours.

Russians like instant coffee. 85% of Russians use instant coffee instead of coffee beans (1). The most popular coffee brew in Russia is cappuccino. Russians are predominantly tea drinkers, but there’s been a steady rise in coffee drinkers each year, especially in large cities such as Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

  1. Coffee Culture in Russia – from Peter I to Present | Kremlin Tour. (n.d.). Kremlintour.com. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from https://kremlintour.com/travel-tips/coffee-culture-russia
Marina Maletic
I grew up surrounded by people who drink Turkish coffee. This was the only kind of coffee I knew for a long time, and wasn’t a fan of because it was too strong. It wasn’t until I started uni that I delved more into the world of coffee by trying out my classmate’s Aero Press. Nowadays, I can’t imagine starting a day without my espresso machine. If I’m not drinking or writing about coffee, I’m connecting with fellow coffee enthusiasts and looking up ways to perfect my dialing in technique.

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