Ordering a coffee in Spanish is almost a science. There are so many ways to say coffee in Spanish that it could be hard even for more advanced learners. Thankfully, our teacher Maider shared her local knowledge on her blog.
An espresso and black coffee in Spanish
In most latin countries, espresso is the most popular way of drinking coffee. In Spain, we drink it after almost every meal. And you shouldn’t be fooled by its size - an espresso is a true shot of energy and caffeine. To order one, just ask for a café solo.
Café solo means ‘coffee alone’ and you should remember it is just coffee. If you are still unimpressed by its size, order a café doble (double espresso) or a café americano (basically an espresso with a lot of hot water added). But we don’t always feel like having just coffee...
Coffee and Milk: a match made in Spain
Coffee mixed with milk is a popular choice for many Spaniards. And here’s where it gets tough: your coffee in Spanish will be different according the amount of milk.
Café cortado is one of the most popular choices. It’s an espresso with a few drops of milk, and the amount of milk shouldn’t be higher than 20%. However, if you feel like having a generous cup of coffee and milk for breakfast, you can order a café con leche instead. It literally means ‘coffee with milk’, and the proportion is approximately 50%-50%. It’s also bigger than a regular espresso.
For those of you who like coffee, milk and cream, the magic words you’re looking for are café estilo capuccino. And if you want to drink coffee but don’t really like it, order leche manchada. Leche manchada is a glass of milk with a few drops of espresso (80% milk - 20% coffee).
Meet Ice and Liqueur
Besides coffee and milk, we also like the combination of coffee with ice and liqueur. Any of the drinks we mentioned above can be ordered with ice (‘con hielo’) or with liqueur (‘con licor’). For example, if you want an espresso with ice, order a ‘café solo con hielo’.
There is just one thing that we don’t have… coffee on the go! Spaniards like to take their time to drink our beloved café.