Café Café Café!

Yup, the most important thing about living in Spain: drinking lots and lots of coffee.

I have found some lovely cafés in Spain thus far and, considering how lazy I am today, will be bragging about my wealth of caffeination.

Half-drunk coffee at the café literarios, my fave  This is a Spanish coffee–very small and equally strong. The American concept of “house coffee” does not exist in Spain–a “café solo” is a single shot of espresso. Yummy!

Fun fact: An “americano” was invented post-WWII when American ex-patriots continuously asked for coffee and bitched about it being too strong. Apparently the Portlandian obsession with strong coffee didn’t exist, ha! So the European bartenders invented a “café americano,” by pouring hot water over the espresso shots, approximating a cup of house coffee.

Now, the most popular drink over here is “café con leche,” which is a small foamy latte. And I do mean small: most café con leches are 4-6 ounces. I could easily down the entire thing in one gulp (well, if I didn’t start cursing because I’d burnt my mouth).

This was my breakfast in Madrid, right after escaping the airport.

Also, for those of you with a vanilla latte fixation–nope, doesn’t exist. If I went into a café-bar and asked for vanilla in my coffee, I’d get that all-too-familar look of, “What the hell are you talking about you crazy American?” Coffee is not supposed to be flavored in Europe, a norm which I can totally get behind.

However, every cup does come with a sugar packet. And too often I’ll watch my friends upend the entire thing into their itty bitty cups. Shudders, over sweetened coffee.

Regarding my job again: we have a café-bar in the basement of the school, with a full-time barista. The universe is once again conspiring to caffeinate me! Why do I always work right next to coffee? Yet, I haven’t paid for anything in the school café–and not because people keep buying me drinks (that happens too all over Spain).  I am unsure if they let the profesores (I’m techically one, I guess) drink for free, or I’m going to get a coffee bill at the end of the month.

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