Ordering Coffee like a Spaniard: Do it right!

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Whether you’re on the go or have time to sit and enjoy a coffee in a local café, it’s essential to learn the Spanish lingo to know exactly what you’re ordering, and what your options are in case you wanna change things up every now and then. You can’t go wrong with any of the options below, but just know that the true “Spanish way” to take your coffee involves relaxing (usually mid-day or after a big meal) at a restaurant, terrace, park, or even at your kitchen table sharing stories and the comfort of good company.


cafe-soloCafé Solo

Very simply, a small cup of strong, black espresso shot perfect for that quick fix – and ask for a café solo doble to receive an extra espresso shot if you need an immediate energy boost


cafe-cortadoCafé Cortado

This term refers to a mixture of mostly strong coffee cut with a splash of steamed milk, for those who can’t fully handle the bitterness of café solo 😉


cafe-americanoCafé Americano

The closest thing to filtered coffee you’ll find in Spain, Americano essentially refers to a weaker café solo served in a slightly bigger size; a powerful shot of espresso softened by the addition of extra water


cafe-con-hieloCafé con Hielo

A staple of Spanish coffee during the summer months, ordering this will get you a cup of hot coffee served alongside a glass filled to the brim with ice to mix together – and if you take it with milk be sure to specify!


cafe-con-lecheCafé con Leche

With the perfect ratio (1:1) of espresso to steamed milk, this is the most popular coffee order Spanish coffee shops receive daily, and usually comes with a packet of white or brown sugar on the side


cafe-bombomCafé Bombon

A little on the expensive side, (although coffee is one of the cheapest things you could possibly ask for in Spain!) this sweet mixture of condensed milk and espresso is my personal fav. If you normally take your coffee on the sweeter side, you have to try this unique Spanish twist!



This term refers to the mix of espresso with not milk, but instead it is mixed with brandy (usually), whereas whisky and rum are popular substitutes



*Pro tip:

If you typically take your coffee with a specific kind of milk for whatever reason, be it allergies, veganism, or personal taste, it may help to know how to order the potential alternatives in Spanish. Soy milk is known as leche de soja, almond milk is leche de almendra, lactose free milk is leche sin lactosa and hazelnut milk is leche de avellana. The barista may also ask if you prefer your leche fría (cold) or caliente (hot). To neutralize the temperature of your drink, you can also ask for café con leche templada, meaning lukewarm!

– Marisa

Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. After falling in love with Madrid, she started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth! In her spare time you will find Leah at some of Madrid's many museums and cultural exhibitions.

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