Gastronomy - Coffee

© Michelle Chaplow Cups



Spain is a mecca for coffee lovers and Spanish coffee is invariably superb and the best value in Europe. It's served in cafes, ice-cream parlours, bars and restaurants and is freshly made, piping hot and actually tastes of coffee beans (unlike the British or, particularly, the American dishwater). A normal coffee in Spain is an expresso which is served black (café solo) while a coffee made with all milk is a café con leche, usually drunk by Spaniards for breakfast. Coffee with a dash of milk is a café cortado. If you want a large black coffee ask for a doble or a grande. Should you wish to drink weak milky coffee ask for a manchada, which is literally 'stained milk' - ie milk with a small amount of coffee added.



Decaffeinated coffee is widely available, although it's likely to consist of a sachet of instant coffee poured into a cup of hot milk.

Iced coffee is also available and is usually served black. In some areas a coffee is routinely accompanied by a glass of cold water. A coffee generally costs between 1 euro and 1,5 euro depending whether you are in Malaga or Marbella.

In Andalucia you may need to learn a slightly different vocabulary in order to order your coffee just like you like it. As an example, here's a guide to coffees in Málaga:

  • Manchao: Literally "stained". Just a few drops of milk in your coffee.
  • Nube: Literally means "cloud". This is just enough coffee to flavour your hot milk.
  • Sombra: Literally "shade". Slightly more coffee.
  • Corto: Literally "short". Less than half the glass is coffee.
  • Entre Corto or Semi Corto : Literally between short (and a half)
  • Mitad: Literally "half".
  • Solo Corto: Literally "a short alone".
  • Semi Largo: Literally "semi long" between a "mitad" and a largo.
  • Largo: Literally "long". More than half a glass of coffee.
  • Solo: Literally "alone". no milk at all.