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Navigating Café Culture in Portugal: A Guide to Ordering Coffee

Ordering coffee in Portugal can be challenging for foreigners. Coffee plays a crucial role in Portuguese culture, and sharing a cup is a reason to socialize. Additionally, savoring a good coffee is a pleasure highly valued by the Portuguese. However, for a foreigner, requesting a simple coffee in Lisbon or anywhere in Portugal may not be a straightforward task. In fact, the beverage commonly known as “espresso” in other countries can have various names in Portugal. This article aims to acquaint readers with the different terms used to refer to coffee in Portuguese lands, providing an understanding of the diverse ingredients found in various coffee-based drinks.

THE NAMES AND INGREDIENTS OF COFFEE-BASED DRINKS

A. Bica, café ou cimbalino (depending on the region of the country): it’s a coffee that foreigners commonly refer to as “espresso.”

B. Abatanado: It is similar to the famous “Americano” but in a smaller quantity. Two espressos with a good amount of water. Some people call it a “double.”

C. Carioca: it’s a weak coffee. The beans are placed in the machine, and a coffee is extracted. Then, another coffee is pulled using the same beans.

D. Italiana: It’s a very short coffee, half an espresso. It is said to be stronger than the regular espresso.

E. Meia de leite: Served in a larger cup, it is a coffee and milk drink. An espresso is pulled, and then the larger cup is filled with milk.

F. Galão: Similar to meia de leite but served in a glass. It has more milk and more coffee.

G. Café duplo: Two coffees or two espressos without adding water (so a bit different from abatanado).

H. Café pingado: It’s a coffee with a little milk (a few drops of milk).

I. Garoto: It’s a coffee with milk foam. This term is more common in the south of Portugal.

J. Descafeinado: It’s a decaffeinated coffee (actually, it’s a coffee with much less caffeine because it still contains some).

K. Café em chávena escaldada: It’s a regular espresso, but in this case, the person drinking it wants the beverage to be hotter.

L. Café em chávena fria: Exactly the opposite of the previous one. Those who drink it want the coffee less hot. Often the waiter rinses the cup with water before pulling the coffee.

M. Café com cheirinho: The famous “cheirinho” means a bit of brandy in the coffee. Some believe this drink works as a digestive.

N. Café sem ponta: The coffee is pulled normally, but the cup is only filled after the first drops of coffee come out.

O. Café com gotas de limão: A regular coffee with a few drops of lemon. Some believe it helps with headaches.

Excellent
Based on 122 reviews
Amandine Martinez
Amandine Martinez
2024-05-21
Frederico classes are very good and interesting ! I've followed the A1 level and currently and currently in A2. The mood in the class is very good too :)
Cally
Cally
2024-05-05
O curso A1 é ótimo! Frederico é um professor excelente e muito simpatico. Vou aprendar A2 na escola em Julho. Eu recomendo.
Joey Carmello
Joey Carmello
2024-05-04
My wife and I took the 3 week A1 Portuguese lessons with Lisbon Language cafe. We loved it! It was important for us to find a small class size so we’d be able to participate and receive frequent feedback. And only 3 weeks later we already find ourselves confident in using the language in public. We plan on signing up for the next A2 course ASAP. Obrigado!
William Newmark
William Newmark
2024-04-12
I've been taking classes with Frederico from A1 through B1, and I have learned so much. I really appreciate the conversational style of the class and the emphasis on what's important for day-to-day conversation, and what can be learned over time. I truly enjoy coming to class each week, and highly recommend the Lisbon Language Cafe.
Lucy Mair
Lucy Mair
2024-04-05
This was an amazing first experience learning Portuguese. I just completed the intensive A1 and loved every minute. Frederico and Sara were both brilliant teachers with a passion for teaching and sharing knowledge of Portuguese language, society and culture. Lisbon Language Cafe deservedly has the best reviews of any Lisbon language school and I highly recommend it to all students.
Samira Krodel
Samira Krodel
2024-04-05
Great A1 Class in a small group to get started with Portuguese! Both teachers, Sara & Frederico, were lovely - they were always structured & prepared. Not only did they manage to teach us the Portuguese language but also convey Portuguese culture and insights! I can highly recommend joining the Language Cafe :)
Harrison Phillips
Harrison Phillips
2024-04-05
Frederico is a great teacher. Great vibes and great class atmosphere. The best thing is he tells you what you need to learn and what you don't need to worry about which is so crucial for A1 & A2. Don't get bogged down with the stuff you don't need to know yet, focus on what matters.
Arielle Gingold
Arielle Gingold
2024-01-22
I learned so much in the A1 class and loved the teaching style. Looking forward to taking more classes!

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