Coffee 101: How to Order Coffee in Seville

You probably already knew that Spain has a big wine and beer culture, but we also have a big coffee culture too!

When most people think of drinks in Spain, they think of sipping on a glass of tempranillo red wine or perhaps a cool cerveza in a local square. But coffee is just as important in Spain, and the locals have their own times of day and ways of how to order coffee in Seville. Step into one of the many amazing cafes in Seville and use our guide to work out how to order coffee in Seville!

Ordering coffee in Spain is sometimes more complicated than you'd expect! It pays to know what to say in order to get your coffee just how you like it, so we put together this infographic to help you know exactly how to order coffee in Spain.

Click to expand or embed this image on your site

So first up, what time of day do you drink coffee?

Drinking coffee is a tradition which is engrained into every day life in Seville. It begins in the morning with a coffee to get the day started, it continues throughout the day as a way to take a break or meet with friends, and it moves on into the evening as something to enjoy at the end of the meal while partaking in lengthy post meal discussions with friends and family.

Aside from a coffee first thing in the morning, and enjoying a coffee after a meal, sevillanos have two “official” coffee breaks in their day.

The first is in the mid-morning, around 10am to 11am. At this time many locals take a break from work to have their breakfast. Breakfast upon rising in Seville is light, or for some non existent, so this is when many locals will stop to eat properly, as well as having a coffee alongside it.

The next is la merienda, the afternoon snack, which is taken anywhere between 5pm to 8pm and usually involves something sweet, as well as a coffee to keep the energy levels high.

When you want to order coffee in Seville to accompany your churros, go for a cafe con leche!
Cafe con leche and churros con chocolate – yum! – Photo Credit: Jun

But what type of coffee do you actually order in Seville?

Let’s start with the favorite among locals, and most likely visitors too – a simple coffee with milk. In Spain this is called a cafe con leche. In Seville, a cafe con leche is almost always served in a glass. More times than we can count, we have witnessed locals sending back their coffee because it was served in a mug, or waiters apologizing profusely for coffees served in mugs due to lack of glasses, so don’t be surprised when your cafe con leche turns up in a glass.

Although a cafe con leche is the most common coffee with milk, is it strong. The proportions are not what you would typically imagine for a milk coffee. Usually in a cafe con leche, the serving is 50% milk and 50% coffee.

Next up there is the cortado. A cortado is a coffee served with just a splash of milk. The amount of coffee served is similar to that in a cafe con leche, and the cortado will also be served in a glass, albeit a smaller one than the cafe con leche.

Wondering how to order coffee in Seville? If you want a short coffee like this, with just a splash of milk, ask for a cortado!
Cortado – coffee with a splash of milk – Photo Credit: Charles Haynes

If you prefer black coffee, ordering a cafe solo usually does the trick. This is just a serve of coffee, the same amount as the cafe con leche and cortado, but without the milk. It is larger than an Italian espresso, but if you prefer you black coffee even larger again, you can make it long by ordering a cafe americano, in which case the coffee will be served in a longer glass with hot water added.

If this all sounds too much and you were hoping for a weaker milk coffee, similar to a cafe latte back home, in Seville we have just the solution. It’s the cafe manchado, which literally means “stained milk”. This coffee is a glass of steamed milk with just a small serve of coffee in the bottom of the glass.

In all cases, your coffee will usually be served with sachets of sugar and you will be expected to use it. Even if you don’t usually take sugar in your coffee, you may find yourself giving up and ripping open the sachet after just one sip. Sugar is standard in Seville, quite simply because locally roasted coffee in Spain is bitter.

Want to hear more? Check out this video from our expert Devour guide, Luke on how to order coffee like a true local

When most people think of drinks in Spain, they think of sipping on a glass of tempranillo red wine or perhaps a cool cerveza in a local square. But coffee is just as important in Spain, and the locals have their own times of day and ways of how to order coffee in Seville. Here's how you can order the coffee you are after!

Photo Credit: Anna Mayer

1 Comment

  1. Anne Smith says
    May 20, 2018 at 8:45 am

    But unfortunately it is difficult to find speciality milks for coffee such as Almond, Oat and Soya. They need lessons from Australian Barristas in how to present an attractive swirl in the cup

Leave a Reply