Destinations, Ruminations, Spain

Meet Spanish Joe

I met Spanish Joe my first day in Spain, en route to Santiago. Fifteen out of seventeen hours of traveling complete, I needed coffee. So I ordered coffee. And this was the coffee I received:

The First Coffee
Scale: sugar packet is the same height as the cup.

I was appalled. This squatty little imposter was not fit to be called a cup of coffee. A shot of coffee, perhaps. To think: hundreds of years of innovation and progress had culminated in this, a veritable thimble of liquid!

Don’t get me wrong. Spanish coffee is cute. You want to admire its dimples, give it a lollipop, and pat it on the head. But.

You can’t wrap your hands around a thimble of coffee and let the warmth seep from your fingers  to your toes. You can’t nurse a thimble of coffee through two hours of history reading. Spanish coffee, in other words, goes against all my preconceived coffee-culture notions.


Over time, I have grown fond of these little nuggets. They are a testament to quality over quantity. Each sip is rich and frothy, and because I have to ration my sips, I appreciate the richness and frothiness all the more. Furthermore, most coffee I’ve ordered is served with a fluffy croissant or a spongy slab of cake. (Which are busting with gluten and logically useless to me, but illogically make me happy.) If carbs and coffee can’t make you smile, I don’t know what will.

Upon returning to Spain from my winter travels, I found I missed my fun-sized caffeine. So I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: thank you, Spain, for three months of mouth-watering, irresistibly-photographable coffee. Here’s to many more.

– MB

(P.S. If you actually want a helpful guide for ordering coffee in Spain, check out Trevor’s guide. I, for one, always adhere to the café con leche.)