What is Raf Coffee and How to Make this Russian Creamy Vanilla Drink

Photo of author

Johny Morrisson

Raf coffee is an indulgent espresso-based drink that combines the rich and bold flavor of espresso with the creamy sweetness of condensed cream and Vanilla syrup, creating a dessert-like hot coffee delight.

Raf coffee is a delightful beverage for those seeking a unique and delectable coffee experience. It is a Russian coffee drink that is similar to a latte but with a twist of vanilla.

Raf coffee

How to make Raf Coffee

Here’s how you can easily prepare sweet and creamy Raf coffee at home

What you need

The Recipe of Raf Coffee typically includes a few key ingredients that can be adjusted to suit individual preferences.

  1. Double Espresso Shot
  2. Cream (10%)
  3. Milk – Whole Milk preferred
  4. Sugar
  5. Vanilla sugar

What Coffee Beans Are Best for Raf Coffee?

Dark roast coffee beans are best for Raf Coffee because the deeper, richer roast brings out the bold, intense flavors that complement the sweet flavors of Raf Coffee. The dark roast’s intense flavors can stand up to, and cut through, the indulgent vanilla and creamy milk for a perfectly balanced coffee drink.

What Milk is used for Raf Coffee?

Despite the original recipe of Raf Coffee requires dairy milk, modern Russian cafes prepare Raf coffee with 10% cream to give it an ice cream-like texture.

10% cream has a lower milkfat content compared to heavy cream. This lighter texture makes it a popular choice for milk-based coffee drinks. If you don’t want to use cream just use whole dairy milk.

How to make Vanilla Sugar for Raf Coffee?

Vanilla sugar is made by combining granulated sugar with vanilla extract or vanilla beans. Vanilla sugar is available in markets, but you can also make it at home by mixing granulated sugar with vanilla extract or by placing a split vanilla bean in a jar of sugar and allowing it to infuse for a few days.

Step-by-Step Recipe:

1- Prepare Espresso: Brew a shot of espresso using 14-18 grams of coffee grounds in the espresso machine. Ensure it’s strong and rich in flavor.

You can also make strong coffee in Moka Pot or French Press if you don’t have an Espresso machine.

2- Gather ingredients: Add the freshly prepared Espresso shot, two tbsp of Vanilla Sugar, one tbsp of normal sugar, 100 mL Cream, and 60 mL whole milk to the steaming pitcher.

3- Steam the mixture: Mix and steam all the ingredients with the steaming wand until it reaches a temperature of 140 to 150 degrees and smooth foam appears on top.

4- Serve: Pour café Raf coffee into a Glass and top with a light sprinkling of cinnamon or cocoa powder.

For a stronger coffee flavor, you can add an extra shot of espresso to your Raf Coffee recipe. You can also use different types of milk, such as almond or soy milk, for a dairy-free option.

Raf coffee recipe

What is the history of RAF coffee?

Raf Coffee has its roots in Russia and is a popular drink among the locals. It is believed to have originated in the 1990s in St. Petersburg, Russia.

One story surrounding the creation of Raf coffee involves a man named Rafael Timerbaev.

According to this version, Rafael visited a coffee shop and requested a “good cup of coffee with milk”. The barista improvised by mixing a shot of espresso with cream and sugar and steaming it all together, creating a new and unique beverage that Timerbaev soon became addicted to.

As Timerbaev’s friends began to try the drink and fall in love with it, they began requesting “the same drink you prepare for Rafael!” or simply “Raf”. That’s why it is known as Raf coffee.

The popularity of this creamy drink continued to spread, and it soon became a staple beverage in coffee shops and households all over Russia.

Today, Raf Coffee is well-liked in Russia and has also become a trendy drink worldwide. The cultural significance and unique taste of Raf coffee have made it a favorite among coffee lovers who want to try something new and exciting.

What does RAF coffee taste like?

Raf Coffee has an extremely sweet taste; The mixture of Vanilla and powdered sugar adds heavy sweetness to the coffee, making it perfect for those with a sweet tooth. The frothy milk and cream mixture adds an ice-cream like texture to the coffee, making it more indulgent.

Unlike Europe, Sweet coffee is generally popular in Russia, with many Russians enjoying their coffee with some degree of sweetness. And this is reflected in the popularity of Raf coffee, which contains a lot of sugar.

It lies somewhere between dessert and regular milky espresso drinks. It can also be perceived as hot ice cream.

While Raf coffee is undoubtedly a delicious drink, its high sweetness level may not appeal to everyone, particularly to those who prefer a stronger and more distinct coffee flavor.

I personally love trying new coffee drinks, and Raf Coffee was no exception. The first time I tried it, I liked the indulgent taste of the drink with its wide range of flavor notes, but I found it to be too heavy and the coffee flavors were totally lacking.

However, If you’re a coffee lover like me, I highly recommend giving Raf Coffee a try.

Raf Coffee serving

Check out 30 different types of Espresso drinks

Final Thoughts

Raf Coffee is a delicious and unique coffee drink that you must try. I would like to call it a Dessert rather than a coffee drink.

Let me if you give this recipe a try or if you have any pro tips for taking Raf Coffee to the next level. I’m always looking to up my coffee game!

You’ll love to read about other Milk Espresso drinks


How many calories are in RAF coffee?

Here is the amount of calories in different ingredients of Raf coffee
Sugar: 49 Kcal per tbsp
10% Cream: 115 Kcal per 100 mL
Whole milk: 60 Kcal per 100 mL
Espresso shot: 5-6 Kcal for a double shot
Based on that data, a typical serving of Raf coffee has around 250 to 350 calories.
It’s important to keep in mind that Raf coffee is a sweet and indulgent drink, and therefore, it should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

What syrups or toppings you can add to RAF coffee?

Raf coffee can be personalized with a variety of syrups and toppings to add extra sweetness and flavor.
Chocolate syrup is a popular choice for those who love chocolate, adding a rich and indulgent taste to Raf coffee. Caramel syrup can also be a great addition, offering a sweet and buttery flavor.

What is the difference between RAF and cappuccino?

Raf Coffee is a very sweet drink made with espresso, cream, and vanilla sugar. While Cappuccino has a more coffee-forward taste and is made with equal parts of Espresso, steamed, and foamed milk.

Raf Coffee Recipe

Here is a simple recipe to make Raf Coffee at home
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • Espresso machine
  • Steaming wand


  • 60 mL Espresso shot
  • 100 mL Cream (10%)
  • 60 mL whole milk
  • 2 tbsp Vanilla Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Normal Sugar


  • Start with preparing a double shot of espresso. Once the shot is prepared pour it into the steaming pitcher.
  • Add two tbsp of Vanilla Sugar, one tbsp of normal sugar, 100 mL Cream, and 60 mL whole milk to the same steaming pitcher
  • Mix all the ingredients with the steaming wand until it reaches a temperature of 140 to 150 degrees. This will give the drink a little frothy texture.
  • Finally, sit back, relax, and enjoy your delicious Raf Coffee. You can sprinkle some cocoa powder or cinnamon on top for an extra touch of flavor and presentation.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating