Going for a coffee (ir a tomar un cafe) is a common expression in the Spanish language. It actually translates into the many types of coffee that bars offer. Many times it is even applied to go for a drink, or just go for a walk with an old friend.
Tradition survives the massive influx of Starbucks and similar franchises. You can still find acceptable coffee for just over a euro, although you need to know where and what types of coffee are suitable at any given time. If you walk into a bar and it’s full of what seem like regular customers, that’s a good sign. Remember that a high price doesn’t have to mean better quality of the coffee they serve you.
Here we explain the 10 types of coffee that are usually found in a bar.
- Café Solo – The equivalent of Italian espresso, although with a more earthy taste and a price a few times lower than that of its transalpine cousin. If you are one of those who wake up with the sheets glued and need a good shake to start the day, this is your coffee. Professional waiters, those who usually have a moustache, will make it in tenths of a second.
- Café Cortado – The cortado is a solo with a little milk (but less than the café con leche). It can be served corto(with a little milk) or largo(with a little more). Served in a small cup.
- Café Bombón – For sweet lovers: a good amount of solo coffee with a generous dose of sweet condensed milk on top. It is served in a crystal glass and when mixed it forms a delicious caramel flavor. This is one of our favorite types of coffee for sweet moments.
- Café con Hielo – With the overwhelming heat of summer, there had to be a solution for coffee lovers. The iced coffee offers it. Ice cubes give coffee a special charm.
- Café con Leche – With less strength and more milk than the cortado is one of the most popular in Spanish bars. If the bar is one of the good ones, they will ask you exactly how much milk you want and the cup will be larger than the solo one.
- Café Carajillo – It is an endangered species. It is already difficult to find a real carajillo, in spite of its great tradition. In many bars, they simply believe that it is to add brandy to the coffee. But that’s not the case. Traditionally, the brandy would be heated together with some coffee beans and lemon peel, then the freshly brewed coffee would be added to the mixture and then the coffee beans and lemon peel would be filtered. One of the best ways to finish a long dinner.
- Café Belmonte – A Mediterranean classic. It is a bonbon with a splash of brandy. Another type of coffee to remember.
- Leche Manchada – Doesn’t caffeine suit you? This type of drink is basically a cup of boiled milk with a note of delicious coffee.
- Leche y leche – Similar to coffee with milk, but has half milk and half sweet condensed milk in it.
- Descafeinado –The quality of decaffeinated usually surprises foreign visitors, especially those from the Anglo-Saxon world. Always ask for the machine, if you trust the appearance of the bar and avoid the sachet.