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Types of Spanish coffee

Spanish people tend to make things difficult to foreigners! If you are already confused about the overall conception of tapas, then try to order a cup of coffee there. We dare you! Coffee is a significant part of Spanish culture and people spend a lot of time socializing while enjoying this drink. As Spain is a big country, every region and island can be proud of the authentic recipe and you can try an excellent new way of coffee all over the Iberian Peninsula. However, you will need these Spanish knowledges for sure!

Types of Spanish coffee
Types of Spanish coffee

Coffee Basics

The main rule to remember – there is no such thing as black coffee. If you want something similar, you can ask for café solo which is a small cup of pure espresso or café doble – double espresso. In case this option is too intense for you, there is café americano – this coffee contains the same amount of caffeine as an espresso but has more water. Keep in mind that this option gives you a label of tourist as americano isn’t very popular amongst the locals.

An amazing option for hot Spanish afternoons is a simple espresso coffee served with ice cube called café con hielo. If you order it, you will get two glasses – one with hot espresso shot and another with ice cubes, so you have to pour coffee over the ice, wait a few minutes and drink it. But if you visit the northern part of Spain during the winter and need something to warm up, then try carajillo – cup of espresso with a shot of rum, brandy, whiskey or another strong but not sweet liquor.

Advanced level: experienced tourist

Spanish people love coffee with milk, and they can drink it anytime a day. If you want to look like a local one, ask the waitress for café con leche. Those who feel comfortable to speak in Spanish, can specify their order and ask for leche caliente (hot and steamed milk), leche fría (cold milk or milk with ice cubes) and leche del tiempo (room temperature milk). Also, you can order a café cortado as it is a little espresso with a bigger portion of hot and whipped milk. Finally, if you love milk more than coffee but still want to look like an adult, you should try leche manchada which, basically, is just a cup of milk with few drops of espresso to give that milk more flavour.

Some types of coffee drinks look more like deserts and they are nothing but sweet afternoon sins.  One of those coffee-deserts are called leche y leche (the literal meaning is milk and milk) and it is a glass of espresso mixed with half or regular milk and half of condensed milk. If you want something with more calories, ask for café bombón – bitter cup of espresso with a lot of condensed milk. But if you have a serious sweet tooth and crave for real pleasure, you might grab a café barraquito. This coffee is made of one shot of espresso, condensed milk, hot milk, cinnamon, lemon zest and shot of Licor 43 which is an absolute favourite all over the country. Don’t expect to get an extra-large cup of this coffee because the traditional barraquito should be made in a small glass with clearly visible layers.