Coffee Culture in Spain

Dear John,

We’ve talked about it before and we have even explained how to make your own, but let’s face it—in today’s day and age almost everyone loves coffee and we could go on about it. In addition, in Spain, there is a really strong coffee culture and we believe that coffee shops are really important here—we even wrote a blog post about it here. However, the coffee culture in Spain isn’t what you probably expect!

That’s why today we are sharing with you a video where we dive into our insights of coffee in Spain:


In this video we talk about:

How coffee in Spain is different to coffee in the U.S. but also other European countries too

It is really easy to expect Spanish coffee culture to be the same as Portuguese or Italian coffee culture because they are all neighbors. However, this is simply not true and there are many small differences (from the size of the coffee to the type of milk people use) that distinguish these countries.

Why you might think Spanish coffee is bitter (trust us, you’re not alone)

Traditionally coffee in Spain was preserved using sugar that was subsequently burnt during the roasting process, resulting in that burnt or bitter flavor you can often taste in Spanish coffee. And while this process isn’t necessary today, we often see that it is still used because people are attached to the flavor.

How people drink coffee in Spain and what you should know about Spanish coffee culture

A typical coffee order in Spain might be anywhere from a café sólo (like an Italian espresso but slightly different if you ask the experts) to a café con leche or a coffee with milk. In the middle you’ll find coffee such as a cortado (espresso with a touch of milk) or a manchado (a cup of milk with a touch of espresso). Details like how much milk is added to the drink and whether it is hot or cold—or potentially both—are things that can change from region to region. You also might see drinks such as cappuccinos (Italian) or a flat white (British) but they might not be what you are expecting.

In addition, you should know that people go out for their coffee and actually drink it in the coffee shop. Likewise, giant to-go cups are not common here so don’t expect to find them unless you are in a tourist place. We recommend taking advantage that a quick cup of coffee offers you to sit down and relax or interact with the local shop owner—it might help you see things from a Spanish perspective.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and we hope you enjoy your café, however you happen to take it!