How coffee is drunk in Spain


The best part of traveling is discovering cultures, traditions, and customs different from our own. This, of course, also applies to coffee drinking methods.

An Italian going abroad absolutely must know the customs of the place concerning coffee, so he or she knows what to order and how to consume the drink. Let’s find out together how coffee is drunk in Spain.

How coffee is drunk in Spain: traditions and customs

Italians think it must be universal, but in every part of the world, the coffee break takes on different contours and passes down fascinating stories. Drinking coffee in France, for example, is not the same as drinking coffee in Norway, because each country has its own distinct ritual.

In Spain, for example, they gave up the old custom of consuming coffee at the counter. Spanish custom dictates that the time devoted to coffee should be “slow”: choose a table, take a seat, order what you prefer, and enjoy it leisurely.

Also, Spaniards want to drink coffee in the morning or during the afternoon, never after lunch. The latter remains a typical Italian habit.

How many types of coffee do we find in Spain?

Before ordering, make sure you know all the varieties of Spanish coffee. There aren’t a few, but we’ve got you covered.

Café cortado

In Spanish, the term “cortado” means “cut” and refers to an espresso coffee that is precisely “cut” with milk. Of the many offerings on the menu, this is probably the one that comes closest to one of our lattes.

Cafe solo

If you want to get as close as possible to the Italian espresso, then you should order a café solo: slightly longer than a classic espresso and with a less intense aroma.

Café descafeinado

For all those who cannot take caffeine, the order is simple: a café descafeinado.

Café con leche

There’s nothing different from a café con leche. Café con leche is strictly served in a large cup, but be careful not to confuse it with cappuccino!

Café carajillo

This is the typical “corrected coffee” of Spain, characterized by the addition of cognac, rum, or liqueurs. The preparation is very special: while the coffee is being prepared, the liquor of choice is also heated along with a few coffee beans and a lemon peel. Then the liquor is strained and combined with the coffee.

Cafe con horchata

Typical of the warm season, café con horchata is a perfect drink at any time of day. Horchata is a Valencian specialty prepared with chufa, a tuber from which comes a fruit very similar to hazelnut. Water and sugar are added to the chufa, and the result is this very fresh and tasty drink.

Café del tiempo

This variation is very reminiscent of our Leccese coffee. In fact, if you order a café del tiempo, you will see a cup arrive with espresso and an empty glass with ice. You will have to sugar the coffee first and then pour it into the glass. If you wish, you can have a slice of orange or lemon added to top it off.

Some tips for ordering the perfect coffee in Spain

Do you follow a particular diet? Are you lactose intolerant? Here are the right terms for ordering the perfect coffee for your needs.

If you want to have a latte macchiato with soy milk, you will need to ask for “la leche de soja.” If, on the other hand, you prefer oats, then you will order “la leche de avena”. In any case, if there is an intolerance, it is good to specify that you want a coffee with “leche sin lactosa.”