Portuguese Coffee – A Comprehensive Guide to Ordering in Portugal 

Are you a coffeeholic planning a trip to Portugal? Or are you already in the country searching for your customary caffeine dose?

Coffeewise, there is no European country like Portugal. Yet, you might feel confused the first few times you enter a coffee shop, and ordering can also be a challenge. 

Before approaching the next passerby to find out where the closest Starbucks is, give the local coffee a fair chance. We promise you won’t regret it. Besides having a rich coffee culture, Portugal is a haven for those who love to drink coffee in the warm sun. The brew served in the country is unlike any other you’ve tasted, and the esplanades are picturesque. 

Below, you will discover all about Portuguese coffee drinks and orders. You might even finish reading this article with a warm caffeinated drink in your hand. Here are the types of coffee you can find in Portugal:

  • Italiana
  • Café Curto
    , Normal
    , Expresso
    , Cimbalino
    ), and Longo
  • Abatanado
    or Americano 
  • Café Duplo
  • Carioca
  • Café Sem Princípio
    or Café Escorrido
  • Café com Cheirinho
  • Café Biberon
    or Café Bombom
  • Mazagran
  • Café Com Gelo
    or Refresco de Café
  • Garoto
    or Pingo
  • Pingado 
  • Meia de Leite 
  • Galão
  • Cappuccino 

Find these coffee drinks and learn their barista pronunciation on our YouTube video:

“Hmm, Café” – What’s so Special About Portuguese Coffee?


is coffee in Portuguese. It refers to the drink itself and the places that sell it. Trust us when we claim that when in Portugal, there is no establishment you will encounter more often than a “café.” 

As if these typical meeting points are not striking enough, Portuguese coffee drinks too differ from all others. Portugal doesn’t grow coffee except for a small plantation in the Azores, but the beverage has long been a part of locals’ lives.

In other countries, it’s common to use mostly Arabica coffee beans, which produce a lighter and more acidic drink. However, Portuguese tradition dictates a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans. This mixture and its custom roast deliver a luscious and balanced drink. You will notice that Portuguese espressos are smoother in the mouth than others. It has a creamy texture, unique taste, and golden color. 

Portuguese people drink lots of coffee, consuming an average of 5,9 kg of coffee beans every year. The industry is now part of the country’s History and identity. Thus, it’s easy to find specialty coffee shops and roasters in most major cities.

Now, let’s find out how to order coffee in Portugal.  

How to Order Coffee in Portugal 

We’ve recorded a podcast episode dedicated to ordering in European Portuguese at a Portuguese “café.” Check it out to learn the essential phrases and practice their pronunciation. You can divide ordering in Portuguese into four stages: the greeting, the order, the payment, and finally, the goodbye. 


Start by greeting the barista or server. You can say “Bom dia”

(Good morning), “Boa tarde”
(Good afternoon), or “Boa noite”
(Good evening) according to the time of day. Alternatively, you can use “Olá”
(Hello) anytime. 


Then, you might place your order. State the amount first and then the item. Regardless of your order, you will always follow it with “por favor,” which is “please” in Portuguese. 

If you want one coffee, you will say: “Um café, por favor.”

To order two teas, you will say: “Dois chás, por favor.”


To ask for the bill, you can say: “A conta, por favor”

(The bill, please.) To know how much your order costs, ask: “Quanto fica?”
(How much is it?) or “Quanto lhe devo?”
(How much do I owe you?).


Whenever you leave the establishment, it’s polite to say goodbye (“Adeus”

) and thank you (“Obrigado” if you’re a man or “Obrigada” if you’re a woman

The Different Types of Coffee Served in Portugal 

Now that you know how to order a coffee in Portugal, discover the types of coffee available in a typical Portuguese “café.” 

Portuguese Black Coffee Beverages 


The smallest of all coffees is the Italian espresso ristretto, taken from a single shot of ground coffee. It’s creamy and bold in aroma with a delicious taste. In Portugal, we refer to it as “Italiana.”

Café Curto

“Café curto” is longer than the “Italiana” and shorter than regular espresso. It fills up less than half the Portuguese espresso cup. 

Café Normal
, Expresso
, Cimbalino

Espresso (expresso) is a favorite among Portuguese natives. It is the most commonly requested coffee drink in the country. You will notice it adopts various names, being a “Bica” in Lisbon and a “Cimbalinho”

or “Cimbalino” in Porto. A bica coffee always brightens your day, whether in the morning, afternoon or after a satisfying meal. 

café cheio em Portugal

Café Longo
or Café Cheio

“Café longo” (long coffee) or “Café cheio” (full coffee) is a longer espresso in which the cup comes filled to the brim. Besides ordering “Um café cheio,”

you can ask for any other coffee to come full with the adjective “cheio.”

Abatanado Coffee
or Americano

café abatanado em Portugal

“Abatanado” is the Portuguese version of a classic Americano, although smaller. If strong black coffee is your favorite drink, a shot of espresso with hot water is the way to go. Call it an “Abatanado” in the South and an “Americano” in the North. 

Café Duplo

“Um café duplo” is a double espresso. You can order it short (“curto”

), regular (“normal”
), or long (“longo”
). The Portuguese word “duplo” means double. 

When ordering coffee in Portugal, add it after the name of your drink to indicate you want two shots of coffee. For example, if you want a double americano, you can ask for “um americano duplo.”



“Carioca” is made with one shot of espresso. The barista reserves the initial brew and serves you the following extraction. Hence, you can expect it to be a weaker coffee. To order it, say: “Um carioca, por favor.”

The initial brew makes great “galões”

and “meias de leite.”
also use them for sweet items like chocolate cakes and the traditional “bolo de bolacha.”

Be aware few places make good “Cariocas.”

Most coffee shops make it with the coffee grounds remaining in the portafilter from the previous order.

Café Sem Princípio
or Café Escorrido 

“Café sem princípio” (coffee without beginning) is a mid-term between a regular espresso and a “Carioca.” It’s a good choice if you want to decrease caffeine but still enjoy the taste of roasted coffee. 

Café com Cheirinho

“Café com cheirinho” is a regular espresso topped with an alcoholic beverage, depending on the region and establishment. You might find yourself drinking coffee with rum, brandy, “aguardente”

(literally “fire water”), or some other local liqueur. 

Café Biberon
or Café Bombom

“Café Biberon” or “Bombom” (bonbon coffee) is an espresso with condensed milk. It originated in Spain, but you will find it in some Portuguese “cafés.” 


Not every coffee shop in Portugal will have this tasty refreshment that originated in Algeria. It pairs strong black coffee with ice, lemon, and sometimes rum. Alternatively, you can ask for “café com gelo” or “refresco de café.”

Café Com Gelo
or Refresco de Café

“Café com gelo” is the Portuguese espresso with ice in which the coffee comes in a separate cup and the ice in a tall glass. Put the two together to make an iced coffee that perfectly complements Portugal’s warm weather. 

Portuguese Milky Coffees

If you love to drink creamier beverages, these are the ones to try when you order coffee in Portugal. Adjust the beverage to how much milk you prefer by adding “claro”

(light) or “escuro”
(dark) after your order.

or Pingo coffee

“Garoto” comes as an espresso cup filled with foamed milk topped with a drip of coffee.

Café Pingado


means “dripped.” So, when you order a “Pingado” coffee, you will get a Portuguese espresso with a drip of warm milk. 

Spanish refer to it as a “cortado,” which you occasionally heard in Portugal. You can use the word “pingado” to order black coffee drinks with an extra bit of milk. 

Meia de Leite

The name “Meia de Leite” comes from “meia chávena de leite”

(half a cup of milk). Hence, this cafe au lait, made with espresso or filter brew, is half milk and half coffee. Like a flat white, it is a smooth, light-colored beverage served in a large cup.

café galão em portugal


A galão coffee is another way to order coffee with milk in Portuguese. This cozy drink served in a tall glass has ¼ cup of coffee and ¾ cup of steamed milk, the same as a latte. Like the “meia de leite,” you can enjoy “um galão” made with espresso or filter brew. 


In the last few years, more places in Portugal started serving cappuccino. If you crave a balance between milk, foam, and strong coffee, it’s the perfect pick.

Other Beverages Available At Portuguese Coffee Shops 

Carioca de limão

Despite its name, carioca de limão has no coffee whatsoever. It is a lemon peel tea made directly on a small cup with hot water from the espresso machine. 


All “cafés” have a variety of herbal teas you can enjoy. From green tea to chamomile and lemongrass to mint, you can find it all in your local coffee shop.

Alcoholic Drinks

You might be surprised that coffee shops in Portugal sell alcoholic beverages. Try the most famous national beers, typically served with boiled and salted lupins or peanuts. 

Would you like to learn more about Portuguese culture and language? Discover our interactive language course, The Journey, where you can learn European Portuguese the fun way.

Particularities of Ordering Coffee in Portugal 

Decaf Coffee vs. Regular Coffee

You can order all these Portuguese drinks with a regular blend of coffee beans or decaffeinated coffee. However, we strongly advise you to try the blends from Portuguese coffee brands and roasters, like Café Nicola or Fábrica Coffee Roasters

Cold or Hot Cup?

When ordering coffee in Portugal, you can specify the temperature you want the espresso served. If you prefer your drinks to be warm, ask your coffee to come in a cold cup (“em chávena fria”


If you enjoy a lava-hot coffee, order it “escaldado”

(literally scalded). Then, the barista will fill your cup with hot water from the espresso machine before preparing your beverage. 

Tasty Extras

Portuguese natives love ordering coffee with a sweet pastry. Most cafés have the famous “pastel de nata”

and many other delicious pastries.

Conclusion on Ordering Portuguese Coffee

In Portugal, coffee is a vital part of everyday life. You will find coffee shops everywhere, from major cities to the smallest villages. Besides, there is nothing similar to Portuguese coffee blends and drinks. 

Whether you’re already in the country or planning a visit soon, save this post so you can order Portuguese coffee in European Portuguese. Don’t forget to share it with your friends who love coffee and require a healthy dose of caffeine to brighten their days. 

Have you enjoyed this article about Portuguese coffee culture? Then, discover The 17 Best European Portuguese Phrases to Know if You’re Visiting Portugal in 2023.

Share your coffee-ordering stories with us below! 

Learn European Portuguese the Instinctive Way!

For the last decade, we’ve been working on putting together the best possible European Portuguese course. After much research, feedback from our students, and several iterations, we think we’ve got it! 😉

At the base of it all is a sound conviction that languages are better learned instinctively, so the process needs to engaging, varied, and enjoyable. Throughout, we used scientifically proven techniques to help you master pronunciation, phrase construction, oral understanding, grammar, and all the necessary bits to get you to fluency. And still, the whole thing is presented as an adventure. It’s a course like no other, trust us!

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