Going out for coffee with friends is a staple of Mediterranean culture. Don’t get your manchados mixed up with your cafe cortados – read this handy guide to local coffee lingo and you’ll become the king of the cafe.
It’s just a coffee!
The familiar, now-international name for a black coffee, just with a little more water.
Café con Leche
Coffee with hot milk, at about a 50:50 ratio.
Bonus word: Templado
Ask for a café con leche templado (templado = warm) to get coffee with cold milk instead, resulting in an instantly drinkable café con leche.
‘Stained’. Also known as ‘leche manchada’ – literally ‘milk stained’ … with coffee. This one confuses the Italians, because their café macchiato (the literal translation of cafe manchado), is the polar opposite of a leche manchada. For café macchiato see cortado. Confused yet?
Translation: Cut (past tense). This is an espresso with just a splash of hot milk, similar to an Italian café macchiato. There are two theories as to why this drink is called “cut”:
- The milk is being used to dilute (or cut) the coffee
- The white milk cuts through the intense black coffee.
Neither of these theories will necessarily help you remember what the hell it is, though. Good luck!
Café con Hielo
It’s a bit of a gamble over what you’re going to get if you order a café con hielo, but chances are you’ll be presented with a cup of normal hot black coffee, with a glass of ice on the side to add ‘a tu gusto’.
Or deh’cafay’nao if you want to apply the local accent. Self-explanatory decaf coffee. If you’re feeling bold, why not mix it up and ask for a “descafeinado con leche”?
Into the world of specialist Spanish coffees we go! This diabetes-inducing creation originated in Valencia, and consists of espresso and leche condensada (condensed milk) in equal parts. It is illegal to serve this drink in anything but a glass mug, so you can enjoy the visual effect of the separate layers.
Irish coffee. Bit of folk etymology for you here – legend has it that the word originated in Cuba, at the time when Cuba was a Spanish territory. Rum was added to coffee to give the troops coraje (courage) which became corajillo (a little courage) and later adapted to carajillo. And if you un-little the word carajillo, you get carajo, which is a swear word meaning penis.