I am a fully confessed coffee addict. It’s the first thing I think about in the morning and if I can’t get one the minute I wake up my day starts off badly… those around me also tend to then have a bad start to their day as well, any of my friends and family will tell you.
Whenever I am in Spain I always look forward to that first cup a little bit more and always always locate a coffee shop near to my hotel on the day I arrive. A Café Con Leche is most arguably my favourite coffee and Spain is the only place in the world where I order a coffee as the first and also my last drink of any evening. Im so addicted to coffee that the caffeine at night has no effect on keeping me awake.
Spain has a long history with coffee which is understandably why they make such a great cup. The look and scent of the blossom of the coffee plant is reminiscent of Jasmine and the plant and its produce has a fascinating story with its voyage around the world beginning in Ethiopia in 11th Century where it was first discovered. Its first voyage was to the Arabian Peninsula and in the 14th Century coffee plantations had developed in Yemen and was still being consumed following the Ethiopian recipe.
Its next voyage was to Istanbul where a new way of drinking coffee developed. Introduced in 1555 by Özdemir Pasha, the Ottoman Governor of Yemen to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent the Ottoman Empire transformed how coffee was drank by first roasting the beans over a fire, grinding them and then cooking them slowly with water over the hot coals. This is still a popular method of drinking coffee in Arabic countries today.
The coffee drinking culture in the Ottoman Palace soon spread to the general public and coffee houses quickly became part of social culture in Istanbul and remains so to this date.Istanbul was and still is the the trading centre where East meets West and it wasn’t long before merchants were peddling their coffee wears to European traders that soon expanded to the global trade of coffee that we have today.
It was the Turkish immigrants that first brought coffee to Spain and from here Spanish ships soon began to export coffee plants and seeds to the Spanish colonies in the South Americas where they established great coffee plantations. Spain developed a method for roasting the beans to produce extremely dark almost black beans that makes really strong coffee known as Spanish or Dark French Roast, the type of coffee I absolutely crave for.
The Spanish Coffee Federation, Federación Española del Café, or FEC, estimate there are more than 200million cups of coffee drunk in Spain every year. Typically there are different types of coffee on every menu in coffee houses around the world and Spain is no different, so for those of you who love coffee but are not sure what to order here is a list of the most popular.
Café Solo – this is the most frequently ordered coffee in Spain and is a small shot of very strong coffee served black and usually in a small glass. This is a popular mid-morning coffee, served at Almuerzo – brunch usually accompanied by a bocadillo served with cheese and ham.
Café Cortado – this is a café solo but with a drop of milk added.
Café Con Leche – this is half is café solo and half hot milk. A normal day's breakfast or desayuno, is usually just a Café Con Leche, although it is also commonplace to accompany your coffee with a croissant or other pastry. Spaniards are known to drink Café Con Leche at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime!!!
Café Bombon – this is a variation of a café con leche. It is a glass of condensed milk so very sweet with a café solo slowly poured in and then mixed.
Café Suizo – a café solo topped with whipped cream
Café Americano – this is not too different from a café solo but is served in a larger cup with more hot water added so it is not as strong tasting.
Café Con Hielo – this is a popular coffee for the summer as it is an iced coffee. Usually you will be served with a normal coffee and a glass of ice for you to pour your coffee over.
Café Sombra or Café Manchado – this is the perfect coffee if you don’t like it strong. Its more milk with just a small measure of coffee.
Café Carajillo – Traditionally this is a café solo containing a small measure of brandy.
Let us know here at Eat Play Stay Spain which is your favourite coffee.