How To Order Coffee in Malaga

When you order coffee in a bar or cafeteria in Malaga, you may not be aware that it may be different here than in other parts of Spain. It seems they have more words describing coffee than in other places.

All coffee in Malaga is served in small glasses and not cups. You can burn your fingers if you are not careful. The Café Central is an old and big cafeteria at the Plaza de la Constitucion that has a ceramic mosaic inside that was created by the famous Malaga ceramic artist Amparo Ruiz de Luna. It describes how to order coffee by the amount of coffee that is placed in the glass. The mosaic shows 10 different glasses, each with a different amount of coffee in the glass, and gives the name used in Malaga for each glass (the tenth glass was added by the artist to give both a joke and an even layout). All coffee is recently ground coffee made in the espresso machine.


Name Amount of Coffee in Glass
 Solo About 90% of the glass - no milk is served with this.
 Largo About 80%
 Semi Largo About 70%
 Solo Corto  About 60% 
 Mitad About 50%
 Entre Corto  About 40 %
 Corto About 30%
 Sombra About 20% 
 Nube About 10%
 No me lo ponga (Don't bother) No coffee just milk!

When the coffee is served, the waiter will then pour hot milk to fill the glass. “

Café Americano” is what Americans are used to - watered down coffee. (About 50-50 water and coffee)

If you want decaf, ask for “descafeinado hecho en maquina”, which is decaf coffee made in the machine. If you want decaf from an envelope, ask for “descafeinado de sobre”.

If you want the milk not to be too hot, ask for “con leche templada”, which is warm milk (half hot milk and half cold milk).

If you want saccharine, ask for “sacarina”.

If you want your coffee in a cup, ask for “café en una taza”.

“Con leche caliente” means with hot milk.

“Con leche fria” means with cold milk.

“Con hielo” means with ice.

“Carajillo con coñac” means with brandy. Yes, many people ask for this early in the morning! It helps them get through their day! Do not be shocked!

“Carajillo con ron” means with rum.

“Carajillo con anis” means with anise.

A first time visitor will have to experiment to find out which strength of coffee he likes.

This video explains the Malagueno system and the history behind it brilliantly - video of Malaga coffee, cafe central