In Spain you can ask for quite some different kinds of coffee, varying in the amount of coffee, milk and liquor. Now here is an easy overview you can use the next time you are ordering your café.
Café sólo contains more coffee than the Italian espresso, but it is less strong. It’s usually served in a small cup.
Cortado exists of the same amount of coffee as a café solo, but with a hint of milk.
Carajillo is coffee with a liquor, usually brandy, whisky or Baileys. There is a chance that the waiter will bring the bottle of liquor to the table and asks you how much of the liquor you prefer. It will always be served in a glass.
Trifásico is basically the same as a carajillo, but with a bit of milk.
Bombón is a café solo with leche condensada (condensed milk). It’s really delicious (at least if you are a sweet tooth). There is no need to add sugar. A bombón is usually served in a small glass to give it an extra visual touch.
When I was writing this post, I actually was enjoying a homemade bombón. This one I made with nonfat leche condensada to feel a little less guilty.
Café con leche is served in a big cup and normally exists of 50% coffee and 50% milk.
Manchado is like a café con leche, but with fairly less coffee. Manchado means “stained”, this refers to the milk which seems to be stained by a small amount of coffee.
Cappuccino differs from a café con leche as it only has the amount of coffee of an Italian espresso and it contains a big quantity of milk foam.
Besides all these variations you can also ask for a café solo con hielo (with ice) or a cortado con hielo, but when you do, you shouldn’t expect some fancy frappuccino, but instead the waiter will bring you your hot coffee and an extra glass with ice cubes. Now you can pour your hot coffee in the glass with the ice cubes and there you have your coffee con hielo. Tip: if you drink your coffee with sugar, put the sugar in the hot coffee, stir and afterwards pour it over the ice.
I hope this will help you the next time you’re going to ask for a coffee in a bar or restaurant and if you want to stay friends with the waiter, please don’t ask for a café desgraciado (miserable coffee), as the waiters call it: decaf coffee (make clear whether you want it as instant coffee or from the machine, de sobre or de máquina), skimmed milk and sacarina as a sweetener. “Quiero un cortado descafeinado de sobre, con leche desnatada y sacarina.”