If you have ever been on holiday in Spain and have “tried” to order a coffee you will know that, depending on the area you are holidaying in, the coffee can be called one way or another. Ordering a spotted or long coffee can mean just the opposite of what you want.

That’s precisely why in Málaga we can find a system for naming cafés, which at first may seem a bit difficult to remember, but if you think about it it makes a lot of sense. Up to nine names can be found, depending on the proportion of coffee or milk you want. Do you know the system to order a coffee in Malaga? We’ll tell you!

Café Solo. A coffee prepared with 100% coffee without any milk.
Café Largo. This second type includes 90% coffee and only 10% milk, which is equivalent to the classic coffee with a milk stain.
Café Semilargo. Prepared with 80% of coffee, together with the Café entrecorto they form a couple that are really from Malaga and are always exquisite.
Café Solo Corto. This type of coffee is not half and half as the proportion of coffee in it is 60% and milk 40%.
Café Mitad. This is the real 50% & 50% coffee and 50% milk.
Café Entrecorto. Malaga’s Entrecorto is made with 40% coffee and 60% milk.
Café Corto. If you like your coffee rather plain but does not taste too much like milk, Café Corto should be your choice as it includes 30% coffee and 70% milk.
Café Sombra. As iconic as the one below, ordering a Shadow in Malaga is to choose a drink that contains only 20% coffee and a good proportion of milk (80%).
Café Nube. With slightly less coffee than is included in the Shade, the Nube in Malaga is prepared with 90% milk and only 10% coffee, i.e. a glass of milk stained with coffee…
Café, don’t put it on. This is undoubtedly the most fun because, as its name indicates, it includes 0% milk and 0% coffee.

coffee in Malaga

Café Central: best coffee in Malaga

The birth of this original idea dates back to 1954, and has a clear birthplace: the Café Central which, in fact, is still there in the centre of Malaga and has a tiled mural inside to remind the absent-minded or visitors how to order coffee there. Of course, the system soon spread, and today there is no bar in Malaga that does not work with this particular coffee code.

As there was one missing to complete the two rows he wanted to make, José Prado Crespo – the owner – included one last suggestion from his most humorous customers: “don’t put it on”.

60 years later, it has become the Malaga standard for ordering a coffee.

So even though the city’s virtues are not few to deserve a visit, its peculiar system of classifying coffees undoubtedly adds to the attractiveness of the city for those who, like me, love coffee.

In your area or city how do you name the cafés?