Posted by: puebloman | July 31, 2011

What is Spanish coffee?

How coffee came to Spain

  1. Coffee, like very many good things, was bought to Andalucia by Islamic Arabs.
  2. It was discovered by Berbers around the sixth century, in Ethiopia where it grows wild. The berries produced hallucinations and suppressed the appetite, so until the 10th century coffee was considered to be a food.
  3. Its uses in religion and medicine became well-known by the thirteenth century. It was traded across the Red sea to the Arabian peninsula. Coffee kept you awake. It was an “eye opener,” – it allowed Muslims to keep going during long prayer ceremonies.
  4. During the Muslim expansion between the 8th–16th centuries coffee appeared in Turkey, Spain and North Africa
  5. The Catholic church considered coffee to be a satanic concoction, and the Vatican argued that it was the spawn of the Islamic infidel,until Pope Clement VIII (1535-1605) tasted it, disagreed, and baptised it, pronouncing it a christian beverage (Catholic wankers!).
  6. Spain and Portugal then spread coffee cultivation across South America. Today coffee growers in Latin America account for nearly half of all the coffee exported; however, most Spanish coffee served in Spain comes from Angola and Mozambique.
  7. Today the FEC estimates that more than 24 million cups of coffee are drunk in Spain every year: the equivalent of 599 cups for every person. The following standard versions can be had in most bars

What makes Spanish coffee different?

You can roast coffee beans in two different ways. The most usual is ‘tostado natural,’ which is the simple application of heat to the bean. The second is sold almost exclusively to Spain and Portugal. It is called ‘torrefacto,’ where sugar is added during the toasting process to produce a darker-coloured, stronger-tasting coffee bean. This variety is known as Spanish roast

How to order a coffee in Southern Spain

In the little white villages in Andalucia, southern Spain where we live, you coffee comes in a glass and is made espresso method, very strong. Cups with handles are appearing, but they are for foreigners and for the posh.

Café Solo – single espresso – a “normal“ coffee, and
Café Doble – double espresso are the choice of men in bars. This is often drunk with a glass of water. 

Café con Leche – coffee with milk, half and half proportionally to taste – is breakfast coffee, but i’s much stronger than that soup bowl of tinted milk, the french “cafe au lait” – If you like coffee that weak, try

café nube – a thin stain of coffee in a glass of hot milk.You can also order

Café Cortado – espresso cut with just a bit of milk, or

 Café con Hielo – espresso served alongside a glass of ice, or after a hard day’s holiday making, a 

Carajillo – espresso spiked with brandy or whiskey.

For these and other delights of the Andalusian holiday, see


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