Coffee in Spain
Language Resources

Vocabulary: Coffee in Spain

There are some things where Spaniards are different from everyone else, but like most people in the world we love a cup of coffee. Of course, we have our own ways of taking one and we’re going to show you some here.

  • Asiático: we start with a specialty that is unknown to many Spaniards. In Murcia, if you ask for this coffee they will bring a delicious mix of coffee, condensed milk, liqueur and cinnamon.
  • Barraquito: this is a specialty from the Canaries consisting of a mix of coffee, condensed milk, steamed milk, lemon, cinnamon and liqueur.
  • Belmonte: in Andalusia they use this term to describe a condensed ‘café con leche’ with added liqueur
  • Carajillo: this is a coffee to which a touch of liqueur has been added, preferably brandy. It’s very popular during winter.
  • Con leche: this is the name given for what other countries call a ‘latte’. Remember that in Spain the milk poured into the coffee is also hot, so be careful with your tongue!
  • Cortado: a black coffee served in an espresso cup, steamed milk is then poured into the cup until it’s full.
  • Del tiempo: in Valencia this is a single coffee with a lot of ice and served with a slice of lemon. It’s very refreshing, although the strength of the lemon can surprise many.
  • Descafeinado: a coffee without the caffeine. It’s usually served with milk, never by itself.
  • “De sobre” :in many bars if you ask for a descafeinado you will be given the option of having it from a machine or ‘de sobre’. The latter means they will give you a coffee cup and a sachet of soluble decaffeinated coffee.
  • Goloso/bombón: a coffee with only condensed milk. Liqueur-, foam- and cinnamon-free. Simple but delicious.
  • Manchado: a version of the ‘cortado’, but the opposite. In this case it’s the milk which goes in first, and a little bit of coffee which is added in.
  • Sólo: Good old black coffee, short and blunt.

As you see, asking for a coffee in Spain isn’t complicated if you know what you want, although we can also ask for the waiter’s advice. In any case, this isn’t something we should lose sleep over!

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