Types of Coffee in Spain

17 August 2015 0 Comments Category: Living in Spain


One thing you´ve probably already discovered is that getting together for coffee in Spain is not only common but also an essential part of everyday life. In fact, the phrase tomar un café doesn’t actually mean you´ll be having coffee. It could very well apply to having a beer or any other drink. The important thing to remember is to do it in the company of friends. Coffee in Spain is so good and affordable that you wont need to head to Starbucks to get your morning jolt. But you will need to learn how to order it the way you like it and try some different types of coffee as well. Here is a list of the classics and unique ways of serving coffee in Spain.


The Classics

Café Solo is a single espresso served in a small cup. If you want a bigger cup, you´ll have to order a Café Doble, which is a double espresso. Interested in something in between? Ask for a café largo.

A Café Americano is like a Café Solo but with added water, for those who find the first alternative a bit too strong for their taste. For those of you who are used to filter coffee, this is your Spanish alternative.

Café Cortado is a Café Solo with a tiny drop of milk. Cortado comes from the verb cortar (to cut). So, when applied to coffee, it refers to a little amount of milk that “cuts” the coffee.

Café con Leche is another classic and probably the most popular among Spaniards, who drink it throughout the day. It´s basically a cup filled half way with coffee and the other half with milk.

It´s good to know that you can actually decide what temperature you´d like your milk when you order coffee in Spain. If you don´t like it to be scorching hot, ask for leche templada (warm milk) or del tiempo (at room temperature).

If you like decaf, remember you can just add the word descafeinado to any of the above. Café solo descafeinado, for example. Just be sure to ask for a descafeinado de maquina unless you want to be served instant coffee.

Café con Hielo is a café solo with a twist. You´ll be served a cup of espresso together with a glass of ice cubes. You just need to add the sugar to your coffee and then pour it into the glass. A perfect kind of coffee to order during the hot summer months.

Coffee in Spain


Other Types of Coffee

  • Café Suizo is a café solo but topped with whipped cream.
  • Carajillo is a café solo with a drop of brandy, rum or whiskey. But if you´d like to try a real carajillo, head to a coffee shop that serves it the traditional way: by adding heated coffee grounds and lemon peel to the cup.
  • Another alternative is ordering a Trifasico (a specialty in Cataluña), which is a Carajillo with a bit of milk.
  • Café Bonbon is a café solo with a generous dose of condensed milk, served in a glass. Would you rather substitute the condensed milk for a spoonful of vanilla ice cream? Order a Blanco y Negro.
  • Café Belmonte is the perfect mix of a café bombon and a carajillo as it is served with a drop of brandy, rum or whisky.
  • Un café manchado is actually a glass of milk “stained” (manchado) with coffee.

In case you´re wondering, you can actually specify if you want your coffee to be served in a glass (vaso) or a cup (taza).

Oh, one last thing. Remember that each region has their own particular style when it comes to serving coffee and curious names for each. But, rest assured. Wherever you go in Spain, this list will do the trick.

Did you know that there were so many different types of coffee in Spain?

Photo Credits: Evelyn HillJavi