This post is also available in: Spanish
In Malaga, ordering a coffee is certainly an art! And not only that, it is also a challenge.
There are up to nine ways to order a coffee depending on the amount of coffee and milk–and none of them include the name of this popular drink. So, take notes because this is the most customized coffee menu you will ever find out there:
Let us go back to 1954. Café Central, Plaza of the Constitucion, Malaga. This was a post-war period in Spain and coffee was extremely sough-after due to the shortage of some raw material. D. Jose Prado Crespo saw that, customer after customer, he had to either throw away coffee or brew it again in order to fit his customer’s desires and taste.
His pragmatic mind found the solution. He created a menu with 9 different typologies of serving coffee so that everybody could express what they really wanted and be understood: solo (black coffee), largo (long), semi-largo (about 70% of coffee), solo corto about 60% of coffee), mitad (half coffee, half milk), entre corto (about 40% of coffee), corto (about 30% of coffee), sombra (shadow= about 20% of coffee) and nube (cloud=about 10% of coffee). This formula did extend to the rest of bars and restaurants, even in the whole province. From that moment on, everybody in Malaga had their coffee the way they wanted.
The tradition is preserved to this day, so before you even think about heading to Malaga, ask yourself: would you like a sombra or a nube? Maybe a semi largo or corto? Do not worry; the coffee will be second to none!