Coffee in Portugal is taken very seriously and you will find a café on almost every street. It’s a place to meet friends at any time of the day or evening, have a break from work, or just relax and watch the world go by.
If you just ask for a ‘coffee’ or um café in a coffee shop, you will get a shot of espresso delivered to your table. There is a bewildering array of names and styles of coffee available – so here is our simple guide to some of the most common coffees that you can order here in the Algarve.
The most popular coffee with the Portuguese is an espresso – although don’t fooled by the tiny cup this will come in – this one can pack a punch! We absolutely love our cafés – or bicas – now, but initially they were quite a shock – this is a strong little coffee hiding in an innocuous little cup! Here in the Algarve you can ask for um café or uma bica (in Porto and the north it’s called a cimbalinho) and you will get one of these:
We are often asked by waiters if we are sure that we are ordering the right thing … the conversation often goes along the lines of “duas bicas faz favor” and the waiter will say “duas bicas? .. “dois cafés?” and we reply “sim” .. and they say (in English usually) “are you sure?” … “sim” …. We even had a coffee shop owner bring out the little espresso cups and show them to us and say “are you sure, you want one of these?”
It would seem that not many expat British people drink a traditional café out here! Continue reading