How to Order your Favourite Coffee in Spain…

coffee in spain

One of the many things we love about Spain is its coffee! Did you know that there are so many ways to order coffee in Spain? People say that the Americans have too many ways of ordering a coffee … but what about the Spanish. Depending on in which region you find yourself, ordering a coffee in Spain can be quite a complicated affair. Thankfully, unlike the extremely polite and sometimes, over efficient Americans, your Spanish waiter is not likely to offer too many options. That is not, however, to mean that you will receive what you think you have ordered!


Here are just some of the ways of ordering the many combinations of coffee in Spain:

  • Café Solo:  A simple shot of strong black coffee in a small cup
  • Café Solo con Hielo: A short black coffee poured over ice (very refreshing in the summer!)
  • Café Americano: The same shot of coffee but in a larger cup with more water added
  • (Café) Cortado: A shot of coffee topped up with a small amount of milk (often served in a glass)
  • Café con Leche: A regular old coffee with milk (although it may be stronger than you are used to).
  • Café del tiempo: In Madrid, that is a cafe solo with ice and lemon
  • (Café) Sombra: A slightly weaker coffee with milk.
  • (Café) Nube : A much weaker coffee with milk.
  • Carajillo: A small shot of black coffee with a generous splash of alcohol. The most typical being coñac although Baileys is pretty nice too!
  • Bomboncito: A small black coffee with condensed milk.
  • Manchado: In Murcia, it is like the Bombón, but with less condensed milk.
  • Trifásico: A small black coffee with condensed milk and a slug of brandy
  • Asiático: A potent mix of condensed milk, double espresso, licor 43, brandy, lemon rind and cinnamon. Also known as a Barraquito in the Canary Islands
As you can see from the above image, the amount of coffee in your coffee is what influences its name. However, if you go to certain parts of Spain and ask for a “nube” (Spanish for cloud), do not be surprised if your friendly waiter looks at you as if you are in cloud cuckoo land …
How many of these coffees have you tried? Which is your favourite? Please let us know of any we have missed off and we will add them to the list.
On another coffee note, this is possibly the oldest poem in praise of coffee by 16th Century Sheikh Ansari Djezeri Hanball Abd-al-Kadir, known as the Saint of Coffee….

“Oh coffee, you dispel the worries of the great,
you point the way to those who have wandered from
the path of knowledge. Coffee is the drink of the
friends of God, and of His servants who seek wisdom.

As coffee steeps in the cup is gives off a musky
aroma and turns the colour of ink. No one can under
stand the truth until he drinks of its frothy goodness.
Those who condemn coffee as causing man harm are
fools in the eyes of God.

Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold it
brings to every man the feeling of luxury and nobility.
Coffee differs from pure, gentle milk only in its taste
and colour. Take time in your preparation of coffee and
God will be with you and bless you and your table.
Where coffee is served there is grace and splendour and
friendship and happiness.

All cares vanish as the coffee cup is raised to the
lips. Coffee flows through your body as freely as your
life’s blood, refreshing all that it touches: look you at
the youth and vigor of those who drink it.

Whoever tastes coffee will forever forswear the liquor
of the grape. Oh drink of God’s glory, your purity
brings man only well being and nobility.

Sheikh Ansari Djezeri Hanball Abd-al-Kadir , Sufi Mystic, 1587

*For a more detailed description of Coffee in the Canary Islands, read this great post: Here

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Lisa Sadleir

Founder at Family in Spain SL
We love Family Life In Spain. Join us as we share experiences and essential updates, advice & assistance related to living in and moving to Spain. ¡ Olé !

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