Café on the Camino de Santiago


When preparing for the Camino de Santiago, you will find endless practical information about the best socks to wear, which guide book to choose, whether you need hiking sticks or not, where to sleep, and etc… You can even find many guidebooks that delve into your spiritual journey.

However, the one thing many of our clients still don’t know when they stop off at their first bar for their first Credential stamp is “How do I order my coffee?”

Let me first start with saying- All coffee in Spain is good. There is no one place to go for the best coffee. There are no Starbucks or Café Nero’s on the Camino, only small bars offering out that extra burst many pilgrims need to reach their destination at the end of the day.

To make sure you are ready to order your coffee as a peregrino, we are breaking down for you the ways to order it on the Camino. This is very important information if you are indeed a coffee drinker.

Main types of Coffee

Espresso – This word works in every language, including the smallest villages along the trail.

 Americano – This is a shot of espresso watered down to create a drink like your typical filtered coffee. If you want to add milk and sugar, make sure you ask con leche y azucar.  Do not expect to be able to order a large Americano. One size fits all, but with some mugs costing only 1 Euro, ordering 4 coffees is usually less expensive than your mainstream coffee joint!

Café con leche – or your typical Latte, one shot of espresso with steamed milk. Should you want your milk to not be heated, you only should add the words, leche del tiempo. This is by far the most popular drink along the Camino and you will see most locals enjoying a few brews in the morning.

Café Cortado – Coming from the verb to cut in Spanish, this drink is 1 shot of espresso with just a drop off heated milk. If you want less milk and more coffee, this is your order. It can also go down quickly as you stamp your passport and move on!

Café Largo – This is a café con leche but with more café! It has 2-3 shots of espresso which brings your milk portion down. If you like more coffee and caffeine, this is the way to go.

Descafeinado – This is a decaf coffee. Be warned, if you order this in most places, it will come in an instant packet that you make yourself which can be disappointing for some. We often suggest just sticking to an espresso and adding a chupito, or local alcohol shot, to help counter act the caffeine!

Unusual Coffees

That brings it the Café Carajillo –  a shot of espresso mixed with either rum, brandy or whiskey.  This drink can put tired walkers right to sleep after a long day of walking.

Café con heilo – This is your Spanish version of a Frappuccino. When you order this cold café you will get a café con leche with a separate glass of ice.  Iced coffee is not a known thing here in Spain so mostly foreign pilgrims order this drink on a hot sunny day on the trail. The most difficult part about the drink is pouring your coffee into the glass of ice without a spill!

Ok, now that our coffee is taking care of, let’s get back to talking about blister treatment…..