Coffee in Portugal

Coffee in Portugal is a fundamental part of Portuguese culture. Drinking a coffee with someone is a reason to socialize. But drinking good coffee is also a pleasure for the Portuguese people.

But for a foreigner, ordering a coffee in Lisbon or in Portugal isn’t a simple task. In fact, the drink that is usually an “expresso” in other countries may have many different names in Portugal.

In this article, you will learn the different names used for coffee in Portugal. You’ll also get to know the different ingredients that beverages with coffee take.


Bica, café or cimbalino (depends on the region of Portugal): it is a coffee that is usually called by “expresso” in other countries.

Abatanado: it is similar to the famous “Americano” but with less quantity. Two coffees with plenty of water. Some people call it “double”.

Carioca: It’s a weak coffee. The beans are placed in the machine and coffee is taken. Then coffee with the same grains is taken again.

Italiana: It’s a very short coffee. Express medium. One says it is stronger than the normal expresso.

Meia-de-leite: served in a larger cup. It’s a drink with coffee and milk. Take a coffee and then fill a large cup with milk.

Galão: equal to “meia de leite” but served in a glass. It takes more milk and more coffee.

Café duplo: two coffees or two expressos without adding water (so a bit different from “abatanado”).

Café pingado: it’s a coffee with a little bit of milk (a few drops of milk)

Garoto: It’s a coffee with milk foam. This term is more usual in the south of Portugal.

Descafeinado: it is a coffee without caffeine (actually it is a coffee with much less caffeine because this drink still contains some)

Café em chávena escaldada: It is a common expression but in this case the person who is going to drink it wants to have it as hot as possible.

Café em chávena fria. Exactly the opposite of the previous one. Who drinks it, wants the coffee colder. Often, the waitress spills the cup over cold water before taking the coffee.

Café com cheirinho. The famous “cheirinho” means a bit of bagasse in the cafe. Some believe that this drink works as a digestive …

Café sem ponta. We only start filling the cup after the first few drops of coffee.

Coffee with lemon drops. A normal coffee with a few drops of lemon. Some people believe it takes the headaches out.