I fell in love.
I fell hard.
I fell fast.
I love my cortado. I learned how to order coffee in Spain very quickly once I knew the correct lingo.
I have always loved the taste of coffee – I’m a native Colombian for goodness sake. Its in my blood. My DNA is made of coffee. I often tell people this story because it is what seems to define my experience and my love of coffee. We moved to Canada when I was 5 years old. It was the 1970’s and I was living is suburban Montreal. My best friend was Gillian Sinclair and she lived three houses down from my house. When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I was invited over for dinner. It was all very exciting for a little girl from Colombia. The food was different and the customs were different too. I was so excited to be in their house having dinner with them. The family had four kids (one older brother, Gillian then two younger girls). I am quite sure having Colombians for neighbours was a complete anomaly to them. But to be fair, they were always kind to me and my parents.
So this one evening, I find myself at their house for the first time and we had just finished dinner. Something exotic like meatloaf and macaroni and cheese was served. I was in heaven. I was in a regular Canadian home having a regular Canadian dinner. So back then (and I am sure in some homes today), the parents made a pot of coffee at the end of the meal to have with their dessert. Pretty standard stuff. I was happy to see that they made a full pot. I loved it the smell of coffee it was a scent very familiar to me and I felt right at home thinking about having a coffee with dessert. So I asked for a cup of coffee…
What you say?
An eight year old having coffee?
That is what my friend’s mom must have thought when I asked if I too could have some coffee. I didn’t think this was an unusual request. Remember where I was born people.
I am going to give Mrs. Sinclair a lot of credit because instead of saying something logical like: “I’m sorry Margarita, children in Canada DON’T DRINK COFFEE at night or ANYTIME for that matter” or “No dear, COFFEE IS ONLY FOR ADULTS” or “What kind of mother do you have?”. She simply looked at her husband, then she picked up the phone and she called my mother. Its not like she didn’t know my mother, she did. We were neighbours after all. Gillian was my best friend.
So very calmly, without any laughter in her voice, or judgment in her tone she asked my mother if it was alright for her to give me coffee. My mother (without skipping a beat and I’m sure with some confusion with the question) said of course I could have some coffee. As long as it was not a ‘tinto’ (straight black coffee with sugar) but instead a perfectly acceptable ‘cafe con leche’ (coffee with a lot of milk). I still remember Gillian’s mom complying and giving me ‘my cafe con leche’ and my dessert (probably an even more exotic) chocolate chip cookie or maybe even a brownie!
My love of coffee has been around since I can remember and I clearly remember having it as a child with lots of milk. Coffee is consumed all over the world but we all seem to consume it differently. Whether it is a cuppa Joe from Tim Horton’s, a caramel macchiato from Starbucks, an espresso, an ice coffee or a simple cafe con leche. Coffee is the nectar of the gods where I am from.
So you can imagine my surprise when I get to Spain and I am sitting at a lovely restaurant in the seaside resort town of Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava in Spain and it is the end of a wonderful meal. We are about to end with dessert and coffee. As I sat with my travel blogging colleagues, they begin to order coffee. A simple espresso and a cafe con leche I assume…. nope, not even close. We are eleven people and they manage to order 6 variations on a cup of coffee.
How to Order Coffee in Spain
Single shot of espresso
Smaller than a Cafe con leche but larger than a
Single shot Cortado
a shot of Espresso
Cafe con leche
Coffee with more milk than a cortado
Cortado (above and below)
Espresso with a shot of hot milk
you can also order a Largo which is larger version
Cafe Americano (above)
Espresso with a lot of water but no milk(unless you add it later)
I am not sure you can get a cup of ‘bad’ coffee in Spain. I managed to get many cups (especially my favourite ‘cortado). I wish I had paid closer attention to all the variations and combinations and sizes but you will see that in one table never will you have the same order for a ‘cup of coffee’. Never, in a million years.
This is a (not-so) Wordless Wednesday Linky. Please link up your posts I would love to see them.