Spanish Coffee Culture: When, Where, and What to Drink
There’s just something so comforting about starting your day off with a perfect cup of coffee. For many, it’s not just a way to wake up, but a morning ritual that brings comfort and calm. However, in Spanish coffee culture, a cup of joe isn’t limited to just the early hours. If you’re a true coffee addict, it’s time for you to visit Spain!
When to drink coffee in Spain
Unsurprisingly, the day begins with a café con leche for most Spaniards. However, what is surprising is that this is usually their only sustenance before running out the door in the morning. Many like to drink a cup of coffee to get a caffeine buzz going, and wait to have a real breakfast later on in the day. Spain is known for its unique timetable, including the notoriously late lunch and dinner times, so a mid-morning breakfast consisting of a small sandwich or croissant and a second coffee are quite the norm.
Spanish coffee culture is also a big part of the afternoon. To power through the rest of the day, another cup of coffee is key. When having a leisurely afternoon lunch, many Spaniards will have another cup of coffee immediately following the meal to continue chatting and digest a bit.
Alternatively, snack time is held religious in Spain, and many seize the opportunity to have a coffee with an afternoon snack. Since dinner isn’t even thought of until 9 or later, a cup of coffee and a merienda are just the things to hold you over throughout the afternoon.
Where to grab a cup
In Spain, you can get a cup of espresso just about anywhere. Since Spanish coffee culture is a part of the country’s daily habits, you can get a coffee in just about every restaurant, bar, and café around. While it’s true that many big cities in Spain have big coffee chains like Starbucks or Costa Coffee, skip these and head to a little neighborhood bakery or café instead. Coffee chains are way overpriced and the quality isn’t worth it. Strong, Spanish torrefacto coffee might take some getting used to, but it’s always freshly-made just the way you like it. Need help choosing which style of Spanish coffee is for you? Check out our handy guide!
What to drink and eat with your coffee
A delicious cup of coffee is fantastic on its own, but the perfect snack to accompany it can really be a game-changer. In the morning, breakfast is usually light and carb-centric. Most people have a pastry, like a croissant or ensaïmada, that they can eat along with their coffee. Another popular morning choice is a bocadillo, or a baguette stuffed with Spanish ham, cheese, or maybe a simple egg omelet.
As an afternoon snack, or merienda, Spaniards love to have a sweet treat along with their coffee. A magdalena (Spanish muffin) or napolitana (chocolate croissant) are perfect for dunking in a café con leche. Do Spanish coffee the right way and always opt for something sweet to go with it!
Love Spanish coffee culture? Join Food Lover Tour on a tasty food tour to try the best coffee and snacks around!