Coffee is almost a religion in Portugal, especially in Lisbon. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that Alfacinhos have an average of 5 coffees per day – usually espressos. If you’re used to your Caramel Macchiatos, you’re in for a rude awakening – Portuguese people like real café, not that sugary, syrupy crap that’s ice cream dressed up like coffee (yup, I look at you and judge every time I see you with one). However, if you worship the bean, get ready for a fantastic time because Portuguese coffee is delicious. Below is a list of all the types of coffees you can enjoy in Lisbon’s cafes & pastelarias, but before you memorize these (or bookmark this page on your smartphone) you need to know how to order. Simply use the formula below:
Formula: number + type of coffee + Por favor
Example: Um café por favor.
Types of Portuguese Coffee
Café – This is what you’d call an espresso in the US. If you’re in Lisbon, you can ask for a bica and you’ll get the same. This is usually served with just a packet of sugar on the side. It’s strong, it’s bitter, and it is my favorite.
Café Cheio – Take the above espresso, make it double in size. It’s perfect for those days when you drank too much ginjinha the day before.
Café Curto – Take your espresso and remove water. It’s smaller and stronger than your café. It’s also known as an Italiano.
Café Garoto – This is your regular espresso with milk foam. It is served warm and is usually how kids are introduced to Portuguese coffee culture.
Pingado– This is your regular espresso with a touch of cold milk.
Café com Cheirinho – What Cubans would call cortadito. Thi is your spiked coffee, usually with Aguardiente or Brandy. If you go to Madeira or the Azores, you’ll need to order a Café com Música.
Café Duplo – This is your double espresso.
Descafeinado – You’ll need this if you’re ordering a decaf coffee (This word will never come out of my mouth).
Galão – this is as close as you’ll get to a cafe au lait. It’s an espresso with milk foam served in a tall glass.
Meia de Leite – An equal mixture of milk & coffee in a large cup.
Abatanado – This is an espresso in a large cup with extra water, what you’d think of as an Americano.
Carioca– This is good if you’re not ready for a regular espresso. This coffee is made with 2nd use beans, so it is not as rich and not as high in caffeine.
Carioca de limão – Although I love coffee, I am a tea drinking girl. This drink is great for detoxing, it is simply boiled water with lemon.
Chá – Although tea is not as popular in Portugal, you can still get some amazing teas (remember that Portugal had territories in India). If you want tea, simply ask for chá.
Pastel de Nata – these are ridiculously tasty egg custard tarts, and…imho the best thing to accompany your coffee, regardless of the style.
Now that you know everything you need to know about Portuguese Coffee, you’re ready to conquer the world…or at least caffeinate while you travel.
Got questions about Portugal, Lisbon, or coffee? Leave them in the comments.