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How to Order Coffee in Barcelona

order coffee Barcelona
Written by Jeremy

In case you haven’t noticed, coffee is a part of everyday life in Barcelona. You can get all sorts of coffee drinks on practically every street in the city, where you’ll find loads of Spaniards hunkering down over a quick shot of espresso and a bocadillo or croissant. It can be easy for visitors to dismiss coffee shops in Barcelona. Some search for the more popular coffee chains that serve expensive drinks decorated in shameless amounts of chocolate and caramel. Easier still if your Spanish vocabulary for coffee extends little beyond “café.” Without a general grasp how to order coffee in Barcelona, asking for anything besides the ubiquitous café con leche might seem daunting, so ShBarcelona has taken the liberty of breaking down some of Spain’s coffee terminology so you can kick the Starbucks addiction and order coffee like a local.

Related Article: Best Brew: A Coffee Enthusiast’s Guide to Barcelona

Café Solo

coffee terminology

Photo via Pixabay

For the purists out there, the café solo is your standard single espresso shot. Order a café doble (double espresso) if you need the extra kick.

Café con Leche

Café con leche is probably Spain’s most popular coffee drink, and this is always a safe fallback if you can’t remember how to say any other drink; one part espresso, one part milk. If a bar or café can’t properly execute a café con leche, nothing else in the place is worth trying. Period.

Café Cortado

A café cortado is a single shot of espresso with just a “stain” of milk—the equivalent of a café macchiato in Italy. It’s been argued that in Barcelona you should order your cortado “con poco leche,” or run the risk of getting too much milk (basically a less milky café con leche).

Cortado con Leche Condensada

A café solo with sweetened condensed milk, similar in taste to Vietnamese coffee. If the barista looks confused at your request, order using its other name, “café bonbon.” Be warned: this drink is very sweet. Order it “con hielo” and pour it over ice.

Café Manchada (Leche Manchada)

The exact opposite of a café cortado, this is a glass of milk “stained” with a little coffee—a nice drink but lacking in strength.

Related Article: The Best Cafés in Barcelona


An espresso spiked with a dash of whiskey, brandy or rum. Think of it as Spain’s version of an Irish coffee. This comes in handy when you’re exhausted from a long workweek, but still want to go out on Friday.


Catalan’s remix of the above carajillo, with an added drop of milk.

Café Descafeinado

As the name suggests this is your standard decaf espresso. We suggest ordering it “de maquina” (from the machine), unless you don’t mind packets of powdered coffee (“de sobre”).

Other Tips…

coffee barcelona

Photo via Pixabay

-Azucar blanco/moreno (white/brown sugar)
-Leche de soja (soy milk)
-You can order pretty much anything “con hielo” (with ice).

Did we forget anything? Add your favorite coffee drinks in the comments below.

About the author


Jeremy Woodson holds a degree in professional journalism and has a vast experience a blogger and copywriter.


  • In Catalonia, if we order in Catalan, we can say “a coffee” (Black coffee) or “a expresso”; also we can order a “tallat” (a single shot of espresso with just a “stain” of milk); or a cafè amb llet (white coffee).
    Thank you!

  • I am from Barcelona and I have to say, telling tourists to order coffee in spanish in the Catalan capital is just as misleading and wrong as telling tourists to order coffee in spanish in Paris…A Latte would be ‘Un cafè amb llet’ which would be followed by ‘siusplau’ ( please)
    A lot of foreigners must think of Catalan as a regional language that only a few folks speak….that is far from being the case. Catalan is the main and only language in Catalonia and its capital, Barcelona, and only immigrants and foreigners use spanish…a lot of us actually find it more respectful if tourists speak to us in English rather than Spanish as they are both completely foreign to us but at least that way you show that you aknowledge our culture and dont get us mixed up with the Saniards….Catalan actually resembles French and Italian more than it does Spanish…yet you wouldn’t come to Barcelona as ask for a ‘café au lait’ just because the French are our neighbours or because the language shares some similarities…

  • Your intention is good but in Barcelona you would call it ‘un entrepà’ not bocadillo…you were right about croissants ( which we pronounce ‘crusan’ as it is also a Catalan specialty) and coffee with milk would be cafè amb llet….you could also order a ‘tallat’ 🙂

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