Spanish Coffee (Sigh?)

Spaniards love their coffee! Long before coffee became such a popular thing in the UK, coffee was a big deal in Spain. For decades, Spaniards have been ordering the many permutations of this brew. There’s café solo con agua caliente (espresso with extra hot water on the side), café manchado (stained coffee or espresso with just a tiny splash of milk), leche manchada (milk with a little coffee), café con leche (a cup with one-third coffee and two-thirds of milk), or café con hielo (iced coffee).

Spanish coffee is probably one of the most fascinating types of coffee you will ever find. Of all the Spanish coffee variations, the most popular would be café con leche and the flaming Spanish coffee cocktail. Here are two recipes for you to try. With one, you will end up making the creamy coffee that many Spaniards adore (café con leche), and with the other you will have a Spanish coffee recipe for a coffee cocktail you may want to surprise your friends with.

Café Con Leche

If you really want to prepare café con leche like a Spaniard, pay attention to the following important pointers:

1. Use only the best coffee. Freshly ground coffee beans of a strong variety, such as French Roast will work well with café con leche because this type of roast results in the strong dark coffee needed to form the base of your beverage.

2. Be particular with your water.  When you are making coffee, you can never say water is unimportant. The taste of your water will manage to affect the over-all quality of your coffee. Make your coffee only with water that doesn’t have too many chemicals in it.

3. Use an Espresso maker. You don’t need to buy a truly expensive machine, even a simple stove-top espresso maker will do. This costs as little as £25 and will be a good investment.

coffee beans
Choose your coffee beans carefully

Making the Coffee

When all your materials are ready, you can begin to tackle the Spanish coffee recipe that will make you sign with contentment.

• Start by filling the bottom of your espresso maker with cold water. Fill the metal filter area in the centre with finely ground coffee and put the two pieces together. Heat the pot till the water boils and fills the top chamber. When air starts to spurt and the top is full, the coffee is done. Turn off the burner.

• Heat the milk. You can do this in a pan (and deal with cleaning up after the coffee), or you can microwave it in a large cup just until it is almost but not quite boiling. Do not let the milk bubble over and boil to prevent it from forming a cream film when it cools.

• Once the coffee is ready and the milk is hot, put half a cup of milk in a mug, and then slowly add the hot coffee. Stir gently with a spoon and add about a fourth of a cup of milk. The usual proportion for café con leche is 1/3 cup of coffee to 2/3 cup of milk but you can play around with this till you get the taste you want.

Flaming Spanish Coffee

Spanish coffee also happens to be the name of a classic coffee cocktail, which is often prepared with fire-filled theatrics. Do try this particularly dramatic Spanish coffee recipe and impress your dinner guests.


3/4 oz. 151-proof rum
1/2 oz. triple sec
2 oz. Kahlúa
3 oz. fresh-brewed coffee

Have the following things on hand: a good kitchen lighter, a tempered Irish coffee glass rimmed with sugar, lightly whipped cream and ground nutmeg.


Place the triple sec and the rum in the sugar-rimmed glass and carefully ignite. Add Kahlúa and allow the flame to die out. Pour the hot coffee in and garnish with cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Sit back and listen to the sighs!