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how to order coffee in Malaga

How to order coffee in Malaga

If you’re on holiday in Malaga and want a coffee, forget your simple café con leche. This is a city where a cup of coffee has a different name depending on how much (or how little) coffee and milk is in the cup. Check out our guide on how to order coffee in Malaga.

Coffee in a glass or a cup

A time-old Spanish tradition serves coffee in a glass rather than a cup. This makes your dose of caffeine more authentic but personally I hate coffee in a glass – there’s no handle to hold so it’s easy to burn your hands and for me, a glass is synonymous with very average coffee and no barista milk foam on the top.

If you’d like your fix in a glass – ask for it en vaso – and if you want a cup en taza.

And if you’re hankering after a paper cup, lots of cafés and bars serve take-away coffee (café para llevar) and Starbucks has a couple of venues in the city. El Último Mono on Calle Duende (off Calle Nueva) serves coffee in paper cups too.

coffee in Malaga

Black coffee only

Fans of no milk in their coffee can ask for café solo (similar to an Italian espresso) or if you fancy a longer and weaker shot ask for a café americano. This comes in a bigger cup or glass and you get hot water in a jug so you can weaken the coffee to your taste.


White coffee

But it’s the milk that brings lots of options into the mix when you order coffee in Malaga.

Not very much milk – if you prefer yours mostly coffee then you need to ask for un café largo. This comes practically all black with just a dash of milk.

Half and half – order un mitad – this is half coffee and half milk. Usually what you get if you ask for a café con leche.

More milk than coffee – this is where things get complicated:

  • An entre corto comes in at 60 per cent milk and 40 per cent coffee
  • A corto at 70 per cent milk and 30 per cent coffee
  • A sombra at 80 per cent milk and 20 per cent coffee
  • And a nube at 90 per cent milk and 10 per cent coffee.

I’ve never seen a waiter measuring out the percentages so this is a pretty hit and miss affair, and explains why a sombra coffee (my usual order) comes out darker in some bars and lighter in others. As we said at the beginning, it isn’t easy to order coffee in Malaga…


If you need some visual help with the different terms, check out the tiled mosaic on Calle Santa Maria off Plaza de la Constitución, one of our favourite squares in Malaga.

how to order coffee in Malaga

This classic café in Malaga also has a video that gives a great idea of which coffee is which.

How much does a coffee cost in Malaga?

Bars off the beaten tourist track charge €1, but it’s much more common to pay €1.20. Expect to pay slightly more (€1.40 to €1.80) if you’re on a terrace in a touristy area (e.g. Plaza de la Constitución) or at a high-end venue. Coffee from places where they serve it in paper cups only starts at €2.80. Read more about what things cost in Malaga.

Where can you have the best coffee in Malaga?

Our Guide to Malaga lists what we think are the best places for coffee in Malaga, although there are lots more venues. We like the (barista) coffee in:

  • Bertani in Calle San Juan
  • El Señor Lobo in Calle Somera in Soho
  • Santa Coffee on Plaza Enrique Herrero and Calle Tomás Heredia 
  • La Bella Julieta in Puerta Nueva and Calle Córdoba
  • Mums on the western seafront
  • Picnic in Calle Barrosa in Soho

What about if you want to take coffee home?

You can buy great coffee (beans or ground) at Bertani in Calle San Juan. And their coffee capsules fit in a Nespresso machine… If you want something local, buy a packet of Santa Cristina coffee.

Our Guide to Malaga lists the best places for morning coffee plus over 200 other venues in Malaga. All tried and tested for quality and value.

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