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If you’ve never ordered coffee in Spain before, you might be in for a surprise! Say adiós to those grande caramel frappuccinos or other fancy coffee drinks and hello to a whole new world of coffee, or shall we say, café?

You might be wondering, what options do I have when ordering a cup of coffee in Spain?

Let’s break it down:

The most common coffee goes by the name café con leche. It’s the closest thing to your typical coffee with milk or creamer. The biggest difference is that the coffee and milk proportions are almost equal. Also, the milk that is added is hot. Add a packet of sugar, and you’ll have yourself a sweet and delicious drink!

Another popular option is a cortado. If you enjoy a good old espresso from time to time, this one’s for you! (It does have a bit of milk added to it, so if you want a true espresso, ask for a café solo.) The cortado is a smaller serving than the café con leche, so don’t be surprised when the waiter brings you a doll-sized cup. It’s a great pick-me-up in the afternoon hours.

Other options include café americano (espresso with hot water added to it) or café con hielo (cup of coffee with a glass of ice on the side).

Another interesting difference from the States is that you rarely see people take their coffee to-go here. Coffee breaks are meant to be thoroughly enjoyed, so if you have some time, find the nearest cafe and relax. Order a croissant or bocadillo as well, and voila! A perfect mid-morning snack. But if you must take your coffee to-go, ask for your café con leche para llevar.

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