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.)

The best part of waking up…

Porto hostel coffee

…is not Folgers in your cup; at least, not when you’re in Portugal and your hostel’s kitchen has mountains of coffee beans ready for the grinding. The food selection was otherwise spartan (artificial orange juice and foreign cocoa flakes), but hey, who needs food when you have coffee? (August 21, 2011. Porto, Portugal)