One curiosity about Malaga and its gastronomy is that wherever you go, you’ll get a great cup of coffee. For breakfast with churros, after lunch or as a “merienda”, which is a small snack during the late afternoon, a coffee is always welcome.
Coffee and Churros at Casa Aranda
Ordering Coffee in Malaga
Another fact you need to know is that we have a very particular way of ordering coffee in Malaga, and only in Malaga, with terms and names you won’t find in another city. It’s so characteristic that it got an authentic tradition which started in one of the best-known bars in Malaga, the “Café Central”.
It was after the civil war when many goods were difficult to be obtained. This was the case of coffee, a very valuable and expensive product. So in the mid 50’s the owner of this coffee shop, José Prado, was facing a problem he needed to solve: in order to meet the needs and particular tastes of his clients, he needed to adapt each of the coffees served by sometimes adding more coffee or leaving a rest over, that resulted very costly for him.
Black Coffee (“Solo” in Spanish) at Café Central
The preferences were unlimited, varying the proportion of coffee and milk from one client to another. But he detected a pattern and created his very own names for every possible combination, identifying and organizing like this the tastes of his clients.
The result are 9 expressions for ordering coffee from “cloud” with very little coffee and a lot of milk, to “black”.
Like that he knows exactly how much coffee to brew, none of these valuable goods are spoiled and the clients always receive the coffee exactly how they like it.
9 expressions for ordering coffee (The 10th translates as No coffee please)
The terms created are the following, starting with the one that contains less coffee: cloud (nube) , shadow (sombra), short (corto), semi-short (entrecorto), half and half (mitad), expresso (solo corto), strong (semi largo), extra strong (largo) and black (solo). The 10th expression that shows on the pictured above No me lo ponga is a joke that translates as “no coffee please”.
So if you are looking for a creamy one with just a hint of coffee, we recommend you to try the “sombra” , because it’s just a little coffee (20%) with a lot of milk (80%). Delicious!
So, to order coffee in Malaga properly , you just need to use the following expression:
Un + your choice + por favor
“Un sombra por favor” As simple as that!
Those Expressions are shown on the wall of the Café Central