Morning caffeine in Spanish hotels

Apr 2nd, 2009, 07:09 PM
  #1  
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Morning caffeine in Spanish hotels

My husband and I are travelling in Spain for 3 weeks in May. I don't want to sound obsessed, but I really like my morning cup of coffee. I'm not a big breakfast-eater, but I do need that cup of caffeine. European hotels don't seem big on in-room coffee-makers, and the hotel breakfasts seem very pricey for someone who really only needs a cup of coffee.

Do hotels offer a coffee-only option, or does one have to purchase the whole breakfast? Are nearby cafes usually available, and if so, what time do they generally open?

Am I the only one with this fixation?
kcfromcanada is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 07:16 PM
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yk
 
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I'm like you, sort of. I can get by with just coffee in the AM without breakfast, and I need my caffeine. There are certainly plenty of cafes in the city where you can go in for a cup. Locals usually just stand at the bar and order one (usually espresso). However, when I travel, sometimes I do enjoy eating a good breakfast as I don't always know when/where lunch will occur.
yk is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 07:22 PM
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I guess it all depends on where you will be staying, but every neighborhood I've ever been in have cafes where you can have your morning coffee, and juice if you want.

And yes, having an in-room coffee maker is a rarity in Spain, but a number of hotels now have the Nespresso coffee machine in the lobby. The Hotel El Prado in Madrid has one and only charges €1.50 EUR/cup. All of the AC Hotels should have one by now.
Robert2533 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 07:48 PM
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Perhaps you're a bit fancier than I am. I do love good coffee, but I always travel with a cup and one of those coils that you plug in. I heat the water and use instant coffee. I have a coil that I bought in Europe, so it's the right wattage. The coffee isn't very good, but what the hey...

I make myself a cup when I get up in the morning and then go for coffee or breakfast later.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 07:49 PM
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You should not worry about lack of caffeine in Spain.
As Robert mentions there are many places.

And fortunately or unfortunately there are plenty of Starbucks

I personally love spanish coffee.
amsdon is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 08:05 PM
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Immersion heater.
Bottled water.
Taster's Choice freeze-dried

Not "real" brewed coffee, but about an 8 on my scale.
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 09:41 PM
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Coffee is not a problem in Spain. You can get it anywhere, anytime and usually it is very good.
Spaniards are not keen on breakfasts. Breakfast is very often a cup of coffee and perhaps a croissant. The breakfast in a big hotel is a different thing, not typically Spanish.
One more thing to remember in Spain: usually you drink Cafe con leche (coffee with milk) until two o'clock (lunch time) and cafe solo after that.
walksntalks is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 09:42 PM
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We avoid the hotel breakfasts where we can, too, in lieu of local cafes. But I (duh) figured something out when we were traveling in Spain. The hotel had a full breakfast, which we weren't getting, but after an early-morning walk, I noticed the woman at the front desk drinking a café con leche. I asked if I could possibly have a café con leche to take to my room - she made me one, added it to the room bill, and I very happily drank it in my room. I've since done that at other places, with no problems.
Lexma90 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 10:17 PM
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You should drink your morning coffee the true Spanish way. Ask the waiter for a "Carajillo". It is a strong coffee with a shot of brandy added (sometimes lemon, sugar and cinnamon). The name comes from the word for courage, and gives you the courage to face the day. I call it "Starter Fluid", but you get the idea. That's what you will see most of the working men drinking before they go to work.

nukesafe is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 11:12 PM
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Going on from Nukesakes advice, if you are driving watch out for Alcohol controls by the Guardia civil.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 01:08 AM
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If you advise the person in the dining room you only want coffee,not the full breakfast, that is what they will bill you or send you to the café bar to have it.

However, sometimes the breakfast coffee at buffets is not expresso, although you may in fact, like that better.

Even at buffets, it doesn't hurt to ask for an expresso or capuchino, as a good hotel will go to their café expresso machine and make you one.

I would buy a cheap 10- euro- coffee maker my first day in Spain and carry it with me. That is what I've decided to do next time my brother and sister in-law come as they love a pot of coffee brewing in the room.
lincasanova is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 03:42 AM
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kcfromCanada writes: << My husband and I are travelling in Spain for 3 weeks in May. I don't want to sound obsessed, but I really like my morning cup of coffee. I'm not a big breakfast-eater, but I do need that cup of caffeine. >>

If your Hotel rate includes what is usually called 'buffet breakfast,' you'll be paying for something you're not going to consume. Most 3-star Hotels include Continental breakfast (Orange juice, Coffee and a Croissant or Pastry).

<< Do hotels offer a coffee-only option, or does one have to purchase the whole breakfast? >>

If your Hotel doesn't offer a coffee-only option, go next door. In cities, you can usually get Coffee at a Tavern and if you happen to be in Andalucia (Sevilla, for example), you might get lucky and find a Churreria (for Churros w/Coffee). Be sure to order 'Cafe con leche' or you'll be drinking expresso.

In Huelva, we picked up our Churros at a Churreria in front of the Bull Ring and went to a marketplace tavern for Coffee (or Chocolate caliente)
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 06:29 AM
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Do they serve espresso in Expaña?
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 06:52 AM
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Robespierre, simply order "un cafe solo" and you will get an espresso.

and walksntalks ... no, sorry, you can certainly order "cafe con leche" in the afternoon and evening. No one will look at you as if you were ordering something strange. In fact, many people order decaf in the afternoon and evening.

The only thing that it is difficult to find is a decent capuccino.

Bye, Cova
cova is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 08:06 AM
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For something better than instant, you could buy a one-cup cafe press, boil the water with an immersion heater and make fresh coffee.
Mimar is online now  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 09:05 AM
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If you only order "un café" you will get just that : "coffee". No milk, no coñac, etc.

So.

Espresso: café solo
Coffee (one shot espresso) with hot milk is : Café con leche

American STYLE coffee: café americano con MUCHA agua.

You want milk in it later?..
Don't mention the milk ahead of time with the American coffee solution because it will be confusing. After they give you the coffee, THEN ask for "un poco de leche".

Now, tea drinkers. Be prepared. You will be very disppointed, I can assure you.

That is another post if anyone asks. No need to bore you all.
lincasanova is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 10:19 AM
  #17  
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Wow! This topic seems to have hit a nerve! Apparently I'm not the only one addicted to their morning shot of caffeine. Thank you to all for the great information and ideas. I'm reassured that I will have no problem finding coffee in Spain, and I appreciate the advice about how to order it, too.

I like the idea of improvising a coffee-brewing device in the room. We travel very light, so although it would be tempting to carry a little coffee-maker I don't think that would work. But the immersion heater and a small coffee press (or those tiny filters we use for camping) are an excellent idea for that first cup before showering. Then we could seek a second cup either at the hotel or a nearby cafe.

I think will leave the Carajillo to the Spanish workers, but thanks for the suggestion!
kcfromcanada is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 10:30 AM
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cova.. robes is making a joke about the spelling. ( I am not sure how it is spelled, myself!)

But found this on Wiki..

"El café expreso es una bebida de origen italiano(también café espresso o café exprés). Es un tipo de preparación del café"
lincasanova is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 12:39 PM
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Lin, I am getting lost

Anyway, we can add "un cortado", similar to a macchiato.

Personally, I don´t like very much the cafe con leche. I think that it is usually too milky for my taste.

Lin is also right about the tea. Not a lot of places to get a decent cuppa. "Living in London" or Embassy in Madrid are not bad for english style teas, a few cafes around Chueca or Malasaña serve OK tea and you can get some good moroccan style tea places in the Lavapies area, but in normal bars ... it is dreadful.

Rgds, Cova
cova is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2009, 02:45 PM
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kc, you will find great coffee everywhere in Spain. Every little hole-in-the-wall has wonderful and inexpensive coffee; I've never understood how Starbucks got a toe-hold in Spain. I always miss the coffee whenever I return, it's really the best. (Better than Timmy's. Sacrilege, I know.)

So to summarize:
café solo = small black espresso
café cortado = small espresso with a little milk
café con leche = larger espresso with more milk, about half-half
café descafeinado = decaf

You'll be given sugar on the side, often in cute pyramidal sachets. So a double-double is a café con leche with your added sugar.
QueScaisJe is offline  

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