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How to Order a Coffee in Malaga

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Rove Society

Sitting down and taking the time to enjoy your morning coffee is a daily ritual you should not miss when visiting Spain, and especially Málaga. If you ask us, there is no better way to truly observe the way people live than by sipping a cup of joe at the corner café.

Ordering coffee in Málaga can be a little tricky. Ever heard of a cloud or a shadow?

Here’s a simple guide so you can impress any Malagueño :

Solo: Black coffee.
Largo (large): A cup of coffee with a dash of milk.
Nube (cloud): A cup of milk with a dash of coffee.
Sombra (shadow): A nube with a bit more coffee.
Corto (short): Half a cup of black coffee.
Mitad (half): Half and half

This measuring system, developed by Don Jose Prado from Café Central, is unique to the city. While « a finger of coffee » was the traditional way of ordering a coffee in Malága, one can argue that the “finger measure” can be subjective. They solved the problem with this very precise system, and very quickly every other coffee shop in the city adopted it.

Of course, you can ask for your “Americano” or “Café con leche”, but they’ll be impressed if you use their nomenclature!

A little Spanish lesson :

(Waiter) : Qué le (or te) pongo? (What do I pour you)

(You) : Quiero un _____, por favor. (I want a ______, please).

(You) : La cuenta cuando pueda.  (Litterally, « the bill when you can », but it’s usually how it’s asked by locals).

How do you ask for your coffee back home?

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