Spanish Coffee

I love Spanish coffee, the little white porcelain cups it comes in, the smooth quick practiced motions of the barista that make it, and its powerful punch of caffeine.  Many people think of Spanish coffee as the alcoholic drink but Spain has a rich coffee history and is a part of most Spaniard’s daily living.  While South and Central America are well known for producing coffee not much coffee is actually grown in Spain only consumed.

Spanish Coffee – The Alcoholic Drink

The most common recipe for the Spanish coffee drink includes Rum, Brandy, Kahlua, nutmeg, whipped cream, cinnamon and sugar.  There are different varieties of this drink but all go something like the drink described above.  It is said to originate in Cuba when Spanish soldiers used to put rum in their coffee to give them courage. 

Different Spanish Terms for Coffee

The phrases below are the next most important phrases next to “donde esta…” (where is…).  Spanish coffee is rarely called or ordered as café the Spanish term for coffee.  There are a number of terms used to get the correct coffee.   All Spanish coffee comes from an espresso maker and not a drip pot.  Please note that Spanish coffee is extremely strong and closer to an espresso than an American cup of coffee.  So let’s check out some Spanish terms for coffee.  

Café solo – this is black coffee closer to an espresso than an American black cup of coffee.


Café con leche – this is the most common type of coffee ordered.  It is simply coffee with hot milk.


Café cortado – coffee with a drop of milk in it. 


Leche Manchada – hot milk with a drop of coffee.


Café descafeinado – decaf coffee…if you want it from the machine not in a packet you need to state “de maquina”.


Café Americano – coffee with hot water added.  I am embarrassed to say I do order this from time to time as the regular coffee is so strong it gives me the shakes.  Café Americano is the closest to an American cup of coffee. 


Cafecito – a small coffee.

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