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Two cups of cortados. Coffee in Spain

A Complete Guide to Ordering Coffee in Spain

Coffee in Spain is a big deal. Therefore, the streets of Spain are full of places where you can you can get a cup of coffee.

Normally, Spaniards drink coffee at any time of the day and they usually socialize around a cup of coffee.

In order for you to enjoy the coffee culture in Spain, here is a complete guide to learn how to ask for a cup of coffee.

NOTICE: some of the links in this posts are affiliate links. If you purchase something, I will receive a commission. However, your purchase price will remain unchanged.

How do they make coffee in Spain?

First of all, the most popular way to prepare coffee in Spain is espresso. Espresso is a coffee-making method from Italy, which forces boiling and pressurized water through finely ground coffee beans. Unlike other methods, espresso results in strong and concentrated coffee. Therefore, Spaniards serve coffee in small amounts.

In addition, they have a particular way of roasting coffee beans in Spain, which makes the coffee bitter. The process is called torrefacto and it started as a way to preserve the coffee. It consists in adding some sugar to the beans during the roasting process to glaze them. The final product are caramelized and shiny beans with a higher amount of antioxidants.

Where do Spaniards drink coffee?

Spaniards drink their coffee both at home and outside.

In contrast to other countries, drive-thru coffee stands are not as common in Spain.

HOME

Spaniards usually prepare coffee at home with a Moka pot, which brews coffee in a similar way to an espresso maker. This pot is originally from Italy and it is very popular all over Europe and Latin America.

Moka Pot. Coffee in Spain

Also, if they are at home and they don´t have time to make coffee, they then normally use Nescafé clásico Dark Roast. This is an instant coffee from Switzerland.

Nescafé Clásico Dark Roast. Coffee in Spain

OUTSIDE

The most common places where you can get coffee in Spain are: restaurants, bars, churrerías, coffee shops and cafeterías panaderías.

All these places have a similar layout. First, there is a bar where the workers prepare the food and drinks, and where they also serve the customers. In addition, there is a room with tables and chairs where customers normally wait to be served. Finally, some places have also a terrace, where you can enjoy the beautiful weather of Spain while drinking your favorite cup of coffee.

Restaurants

When Spaniards are at a restaurant, they like to take their time and they usually have a sobremesa. The sobremesa is the time to relax and have a conversation around the table after eating. Also, it is the time to have some coffee and sometimes, even some shots of alcohol.

Bars

Bars in Spain are all over and they serve a large variety of products: from food, such as bocatas (sandwiches) or tapas, to drinks, such as alcoholic beverages or coffee.

Churrerías

In Spain there are places called churrerías, where their specialty are churros.

Churros are very common fried pastries that normally is eaten with hot chocolate. However, churros with coffee is also a very popular mix.

Coffee Shops

At coffee shops (or cafeterías in Spanish) you will find coffee and other drinks like soda or juice and food, such as pastries and sandwiches.

Cafeterías panaderías

Finally, cafeterías panaderías (literally translated as coffee shops bakeries) are places where you can get drinks like coffee, but also pastries, breads and sandwiches.

How to order coffee in Spain?

Typically, people in Spain don´t order coffee to go. The common thing to do is to sit down and enjoy the drink at the place.

When they serve the coffee they don´t add any sugar. Instead, you will receive a packet of sugar and you will have to add it yourself. However, if you want more sugar, you need to expressly ask for it.

Below, there is some basic vocabulary that will help you when you order coffee in Spain.

NOUNS

SPANISHENGLISH
La cucharilla
Teaspoon
El hielo
Ice
La leche caliente
Hot milk
La leche fría
Cold milk
La leche templada
Not too hot but not too cold milk
El sobre de azúcar
Packet of sugar
La taza
Cup
El vaso
Glass

PHRASES

SPANISHENGLISH
Un café, por favor
A coffee, please
¿Cuánto te debo?
How much do I owe you?
¿Cuánto es?
¿How much is it?
¿Cuánto cuesta?
¿How much does it cost?
La cuenta, por favor
The check, please
Me gustaría un café, por favor
I would like a coffee, please
Ir/salir a tomar un café
Go out to get a coffee
¿Me pone/s un café, por favor?
"¿Do you put me a coffee, please?"
¿Me puedes/podrías poner un café, por favor
"¿Can/could you put me a coffee?"
¿Me trae/s un café, por favor?
¿Can/could you bring me a coffee, please?
¿Me trae/s la cuenta, por favor?
¿Could you bring me the check, please?
Quiero/quisiera un café, por favor
I want/would like a coffee, please
¿Qué te debo?
¿What do I owe you?

What coffee to order in Spain?

Next, you will find a list of some of the most common coffees you can order in Spain.

CAFÉ SOLO

A café solo is a shot of espresso that they serve in a small cup or glass.

Photo by Sara sara from FreeImages

CAFÉ CON HIELO

A café con hielo is the same as café solo, but they serve it with a glass full of ice cubes on the side. Then, you add the coffee into the glass.

This is usually the coffee they choose in the summer.

CORTADO

To make a cortado, they use a shot of espresso with a small amount of foaming milk. Then, they serve it in a small cup or glass.

Cortados. Coffee in Spain.

CAFÉ AMERICANO

Café americano consists of diluting espresso with hot water.

CARAJILLO

This is a coffee made with espresso and some type of liquor. They normally serve it in a small glass.

TRIFÁSICO

A trifásico is the same as carajillo, but with a little milk.

CAFÉ CON LECHE

A café con leche consists of espresso and steamed milk served typically half and half proportionally. They serve it in a bigger cup or glass.

Café con leche. Coffee in Spain

CAFÉ DESCAFEINADO

When you order café descafeinado in Spain, the waiter will usually ask you: de sobre or de máquina?

If you order café descafeinado de sobre, they will bring you a cup of hot milk with a small package of instant coffee. However, if you order café descafeinado de máquina, you will get a machine-brewed decaffeinated coffee.

CAFÉ BOMBÓN

Café bombón is the sweetest coffee. It consists of a shot of espresso with condensed milk usually in a 1:1 ratio. They usually serve it in a small glass.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you are able to understand better how to order coffee in Spain.

Now, I would love to hear from you. Have you ever had Spanish coffee before? Do you know any other types of coffees from Spain?

Share your answers in the comment section below!

Before you leave, are you interested in Spain and its language? Then, you may find our online Spanish classes helpful. With these classes, you will practice your speaking and listening skills with a native speaker from Spain.

Hola and hi, I am Inés and I am the author of all the posts in the ConvoSpanish blog. My goal is to offer free content for people to practice their Spanish. Creating and maintaining the blog takes a lot of my free time however, due to my love of sharing Spanish with you, I will keep adding and updating the content in the blog. If you like the content of this post and believe that it helps you, please consider donating. I need coffee to keep me going while creating the posts. Aren´t they worth at least a cup of coffee? 😛 Any amount is appreciated. Donations will be used to support the free blog.

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