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Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Cafe con Leche / Coffee on the Camino: Enquiring Coffee Lovers want to know!!

skydiva

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances-Finisterre 2018
Frances + Portugues 2022
Before the Camino, I really didn't like coffee. Sacrilege, I know. Even now, I rarely drink it; I'm a herbal tea aficionado and lover.
But all that changes as soon as I set foot on the Camino. I became wooed and mesmerized by all things Cafe con Leche {and freshly squeezed orange juice, to be honest}. I even was seduced a time or two by the Lemonade Beer twist (Shandy??).

My question for you: what is your relationship to Cafe con Leche / coffee on the Camino? Pre, during and post? [to clarify pre, during and post, I am wondering both in your day-to-day on the Camino, and pre-arrival Spain and after leaving]
Do you have any favourite recommendations of must-go-to places for coffee along the Way -- whatever route that might be? Details and stories would be appreciated! Types of coffee? etc.

Buen Coffee Camino!!!
 
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I began drinking cafe con leche in the mid 1980’s while stationed in Spain for the USAF.
I was not a coffe drinker before or after those 3 yrs. It is only in Spain that I drink it on a regular basis.. Have bought many espresso machines to steam the milk, my wife is a regular coffee and tea drinker , but cannot replicate the taste. James Blick /Devour tours /Spain Revealed explains something about the beans and coffee in one of his YouTube videos.
 
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I and my family are huge coffee lovers. In fact, I roast my own coffee beans so that we have the freshest coffee available. While on the Portuguese Camino last year with my wife and two daughters we marveled at the great espresso pours that were available all throughout our pilgrimage. It made me want to invest in a better espresso machine, which I purchased once we returned back home. We named it and the new grinder that we bought with it after two of the pilgrims we walked with and became part of our Camino family, Blaze and Isabelle. Tomorrow morning both of our girls are coming over to our house for breakfast with a friend who has traveled from out out town. We will fire up Blaze and Isabelle for coffee drinks along with our breakfast and then head out for a six mile walk alongside the Boise river.
 
As a self-confessed coffee snob, I’m usually a tough judge on coffee when I travel. It may have been the knowledge that each morning I was facing yet another 30 kilometers ahead of me but I can’t recall a bad cafe con leche when I did the Camino Frances in 2010. It was an essential start to my day. The things I still remember: the coffees were generally strong and hot; locals would quickly drink theirs at the bar while joking with the staff; some places had personalized sugars bearing Camino-inspired designs. All in all, good coffee and great memories.
 
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I don't know what the Spanish secret behind café con leche, you can taste the difference as soon as you set foot on Spanish soil. In 2021 I walked the Via Podiensis from SjdP I walked on to Irun. I had many "café au lait"s. Immediately after crossing the bridge at the border I stopped in the first bar and had me a café con leche. It was wonderfull and it put all the cafés au lait " in the shade"
 
Yes, I agree, what is it that makes a Spanish cafe con leche always taste great? And it does not seem to matter where, they are always good.

An indelible memory. Cafe con leche at Atocha, in one of the bars, while waiting for the train to Pamplona. Ahhhh.
 
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Having drank coffee in a lot of countries I find the coffee in Spain to be good but honestly no better than others I've had and I grew up in a place where coffee and milk was common, so that wasn't new to me.
Spain sources it's coffee beans from the same places everyone else does. After that it's a matter of how fresh the beans are when they're ground or pre ground before they're brewed.
I'm gonna say most of the raving about the coffee on the Camino isn't because the coffee is better, but instead it's because of when and where it was drank. A sort of case of the ambiance made the meal, not the food.
 
I walked the Via Podiensis from SjdP I walked on to Irun. I had many "café au lait"s. Immediately after crossing the bridge at the border I stopped in the first bar and had me a café con leche. It was wonderful and it put all the cafés au lait " in the shade

Exact same experience except in Arneguy. I plunked myself down at the first bar and gleefully ordered my first cafe con leche (actually cortado).
 
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After one of our 4 Camino Frances, I decided to check Amazon to see if Kuerig style cups of Cafe Con Leche were available. Sure enough! Not quite like authentic Cafe Con Leche on the camino, but pretty good. By the way, my wife and I love Cafe Con Leche so much we named our female beagle puppy (now 9 months old) Cafe con Leche ("Leche" for short)! Bob

91Swrk8mCDL._SL1500_.jpg
 
I don't drink milk so I've never had a café (con leche/latte/au lait) but it's fine because I like the taste of coffee. I would just order a café solo.

I remember being in Asia and my beverage of choice became the "long black". When I got back home I tried ordering it at a Starbucks and nobody had ever heard of it. It seems the preferred term around here is "upside down Americano" along with the compulsory do you want room for dairy?
 
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I wanted to put in a plug for café con leche made with Delta coffee. It is a Portuguese brand but my husband and I had it a couple of times on the camino in Spain. Both times we were blown away with how good it was -- rich and complex but not harsh. The first place was Casa Pancho, near Trasmonte between Santiago and Finisterre. The second was Cafe Bar Ligonde on the Frances near Airexe, a bit before Palas de Rei. You can find it often in Portugal. If you get a bad Delta, keep trying because it can vary depending on machine, barista, etc.

The first picture is of the proprietor of Casa Pancho. We asked him about his amazing coffee and he proudly pulled out a bag of beans and plopped it on the counter.
 

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OMG, I love this thread! I was first drinking café con leche when I was a kid, age 3, in Cuba. We had it for breakfast. All my 7 sisters drank it for breakfast when we escaped to Miami. All of us are alive and well and close to or past 60, including one sister who would puke it up every morning. Was it lactose intolerance, or the coffee? The parental solution she ate breakfast in her slip the rest of us in our uniforms, but I digress. 😁 She loves ☕️ today. A tidbit: both Bustelo and Pilón were Cuban coffee brands until they got bought out by a large US brand. Then, the price jumped, and the aroma and taste are no longer the same.
Keep on drinking ☕ la ⛽️ del Camino!
PS: here in Miami we have ventanitas, little windows cut out into restaurants, supermarkets so that you can get a ☕️ hit as you walk by without having to come in.
PPS: my grandparents lived into their late 90’s and my Mom is almost 98.
 
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Having drank coffee in a lot of countries I find the coffee in Spain to be good but honestly no better than others I've had and I grew up in a place where coffee and milk was common, so that wasn't new to me.
Spain sources it's coffee beans from the same places everyone else does. After that it's a matter of how fresh the beans are when they're ground or pre ground before they're brewed.
I see it very much like you do. I, too, grew up in a place where coffee with milk is the most common way of drinking coffee and I have drunk coffee in various countries and, generally speaking, in some it is more to my taste than in others. But it is not only a question of how fresh the beans are but also which kind of coffee beans are used or whether it is a mix of different sorts of coffee beans.

However, having googled it a bit right now, the word torrefacto popped up: Torrefacto refers to a particular process of roasting coffee beans, common in Spain (and a few other countries). The process involves adding a certain amount of sugar during roasting in order to glaze the beans. The glazed beans are then mixed with normal roasted beans (80% to 20%). Does anyone know more about this?
 
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Before the Camino, I really didn't like coffee. Sacrilege, I know. Even now, I rarely drink it; I'm a herbal tea aficionado and lover.
But all that changes as soon as I set foot on the Camino. I became wooed and mesmerized by all things Cafe con Leche {and freshly squeezed orange juice, to be honest}. I even was seduced a time or two by the Lemonade Beer twist (Shandy??).

My question for you: what is your relationship to Cafe con Leche / coffee on the Camino? Pre, during and post? [to clarify pre, during and post, I am wondering both in your day-to-day on the Camino, and pre-arrival Spain and after leaving]
Do you have any favourite recommendations of must-go-to places for coffee along the Way -- whatever route that might be? Details and stories would be appreciated! Types of coffee? etc.

Buen Coffee Camino!!!
I fell in love with café con leche from day one in Spain. Since returning to the States I have tried to replicate it. I've gotten close but never quite the same taste. And the fresh squeezed juice was great as well. Looking forward to my return in June for an original.
 
I have to agree, coffee con leche is my favorite morning , wake me up . I roast my own beans and grind it daily. My take on Spanish beans are Central American and roasted medium, not French dark. At least 3 hrs after roasting .Then ground medium because the expresso machine has large sieve. Then whole milk steamed fresh at about 30% by volume., for Coffee con leche grande . My only problem is I want three in the morning and it seems to take for ever.
 
Wow! What a great question! Being of Cuban descent I was brought up on Cafe con Leche, rustic bread and butter. I can tell you from experience is a comfort food for me! You ask why is so good? THE MILK! Is like no other, personally I cannot drink milk in the states, I have an intolerance, but when doing our Camino in 2014 I had Cafe con Leche every day and did not get sick once! I think the milk is pure, and as in my country of birth they just boil the raw milk to get impurities out and separate the fat, they use the fat to make butter. All I can say is that the Milk there is different, all cream desserts, pastries and ice cream are rich in flavor! I can’t wait to go back to indulge myself! Viva el Cafe con Leche! Buen Camino
 
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Before the Camino, I really didn't like coffee. Sacrilege, I know. Even now, I rarely drink it; I'm a herbal tea aficionado and lover.
But all that changes as soon as I set foot on the Camino. I became wooed and mesmerized by all things Cafe con Leche {and freshly squeezed orange juice, to be honest}. I even was seduced a time or two by the Lemonade Beer twist (Shandy??).

My question for you: what is your relationship to Cafe con Leche / coffee on the Camino? Pre, during and post? [to clarify pre, during and post, I am wondering both in your day-to-day on the Camino, and pre-arrival Spain and after leaving]
Do you have any favourite recommendations of must-go-to places for coffee along the Way -- whatever route that might be? Details and stories would be appreciated! Types of coffee? etc.

Buen Coffee Camino!!!
On my two Caminos in 2008 and 2017, I always looked forward to that first morning cup of coffee after getting some 10k under my belt. I never had a bad cup! They know how to make good coffee in Spain! Add to the coffee a delicious Pain au chocolat…. Heaven!
 
Wow! What a great question! Being of Cuban descent I was brought up on Cafe con Leche, rustic bread and butter. I can tell you from experience is a comfort food for me! You ask why is so good? THE MILK! Is like no other, personally I cannot drink milk in the states, I have an intolerance, but when doing our Camino in 2014 I had Cafe con Leche every day and did not get sick once! I think the milk is pure, and as in my country of birth they just boil the raw milk to get impurities out and separate the fat, they use the fat to make butter. All I can say is that the Milk there is different, all cream desserts, pastries and ice cream are rich in flavor! I can’t wait to go back to indulge myself! Viva el Cafe con Leche! Buen Camino
I agree 100% about the milk, quite different from the watered down hormone and pus laden liquid we mostly find in the US. I remember passing by numerous small dairy farms along the Camino del Norte—one even had lodging so I stayed there that night and the grandmother gave me a tour of the facility. Happy cows in from green mountainside pastures, a barn so clean there was zero odor, back scratching machines for the cows to use at will, they each patiently waited their turns, very interesting. The milk went into a large stainless vat to be picked up by a truck making the rounds of local farms, transporting it all to another facility for processing. I remember she said they had about 100 cows, a large number. I have never seen or smelled a barn so clean, not before and not after. It’s not big agribusiness and it makes a huge difference in the end product.
 
Before the Camino, I really didn't like coffee. Sacrilege, I know. Even now, I rarely drink it; I'm a herbal tea aficionado and lover.
But all that changes as soon as I set foot on the Camino. I became wooed and mesmerized by all things Cafe con Leche {and freshly squeezed orange juice, to be honest}. I even was seduced a time or two by the Lemonade Beer twist (Shandy??).

My question for you: what is your relationship to Cafe con Leche / coffee on the Camino? Pre, during and post? [to clarify pre, during and post, I am wondering both in your day-to-day on the Camino, and pre-arrival Spain and after leaving]
Do you have any favourite recommendations of must-go-to places for coffee along the Way -- whatever route that might be? Details and stories would be appreciated! Types of coffee? etc.

Buen Coffee Camino!!!
Before and after Camino I drink my coffee black. On the Camino, I am a solid cafe con leche fan (but add a little sugar). Big enough fan that I often order two. Am also a fan of fresh squeezed OJ and I developed a love of "lemonade beer" or cerveza con limon or a Radler. They are low in alcohol but high in refreshment: a perfect beverage after a long day of walking, particularly if it has been hot.
 
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Ahhh yes, the coffee! For me the Spanish coffee started as a hitch-hiking hippy in Europe in 1968. From Morocco we caught a boat going to Las Palmas, Canary Islands, at that time still under General Franco. We camped there for several weeks in December and January and a couple of times a week I took a bus to Las Palmas to check for mail and always had two cortados (espresso with a shot of cream).

I returned to Spain to walk the Camino in 2006 with a girlfriend, who was strictly a tea-drinker. My morning drink of choice was cafe con leche, grande and it was always perfect! My girlfriend tried one and got hooked. She still drinks cafe con leche made in her espresso machine at home and still blames me for getting her hooked. But I say blame it on the Camino!
 
I don't know what the Spanish secret behind café con leche, you can taste the difference as soon as you set foot on Spanish soil. In 2021 I walked the Via Podiensis from SjdP I walked on to Irun. I had many "café au lait"s. Immediately after crossing the bridge at the border I stopped in the first bar and had me a café con leche. It was wonderfull and it put all the cafés au lait " in the shade"
We had the same experience. We first fell in love with European coffee in Italy. First day in Italy we stopped at a bar and had coffee and couldn't believe how good it was. I told my husband "We've got to remember this bar and come back." Little did we know it would be that good just about everywhere we had coffee in Italy. Then we crossed the border into France and were quite disappointed in the coffee. Went back to Italy ... good coffee again. And, we love the coffee in Spain as well. (Maybe not quite as much as Italy but close.)
 
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I see it very much like you do. I, too, grew up in a place where coffee with milk is the most common way of drinking coffee and I have drunk coffee in various countries and, generally speaking, in some it is more to my taste than in others. But it is not only a question of how fresh the beans are but also which kind of coffee beans are used or whether it is a mix of different sorts of coffee beans.

However, having googled it a bit right now, the word torrefacto popped up: Torrefacto refers to a particular process of roasting coffee beans, common in Spain (and a few other countries). The process involves adding a certain amount of sugar during roasting in order to glaze the beans. The glazed beans are then mixed with normal roasted beans (80% to 20%). Does anyone know more about this?
Torrefacto was used to help preserve coffee on long voyages is the most common reason given for the practice. Some people don’t like it but I’m a fan. I’m also a coffee geek and have a full espresso set up at home. Finding good beans here in Barcelona was a challenge but got there in the end. Coffee and bread are subsidised here which is why a cafe con leche is so cheap!
 
Wow! What a great question! Being of Cuban descent I was brought up on Cafe con Leche, rustic bread and butter. I can tell you from experience is a comfort food for me! You ask why is so good? THE MILK! Is like no other, personally I cannot drink milk in the states, I have an intolerance, but when doing our Camino in 2014 I had Cafe con Leche every day and did not get sick once! I think the milk is pure, and as in my country of birth they just boil the raw milk to get impurities out and separate the fat, they use the fat to make butter. All I can say is that the Milk there is different, all cream desserts, pastries and ice cream are rich in flavor! I can’t wait to go back to indulge myself! Viva el Cafe con Leche! Buen Camino
You did not get sick because you drank A2 milk. Vast majority of Spanish milk is from A2 cows.
 
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I'm not a coffee drinker, and the Camino is the last place I'd want to develop a coffee habit. I've seen too many peregrinos who are miserable until they can find a place open for coffee in the morning. Why put myself through that?
Yes, I'm certainly a caffeine addict. On early caminos, I did find it hard when I couldn't find coffee before starting to walk in the morning. Then I realized I could take caffeine pills. One 100 mg pill gets me through a couple of hours till the first bar and breakfast. (100 mg is close to the equivalent of a cup of coffee, more or less.) I prefer to hike on an empty stomach so it works perfectly. Up, caffeine pill, walk a couple of hours, breakfast and a wonderful café con leche. https://www.amazon.com/Jet-Alert-100-Each-Caffeine-Count/dp/B001QVCWSK?tag=casaivar02-20 I think they are safe.
 
At home I more into fine tea rather than coffee, but I too am a cafe con leche fan when in Spain. I did find an excellent coffee place in Leon: Culture Coffee. It's off one of the main pedestrian streets going towards the river from the Cathedral. They make the best mocha I've ever had. Ever.
 
Two Caminos behind me and I still haven't had one!

I did however love the freshly squeezed orange juice and the tortilla de potata....
 
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I'm not a coffee drinker, and the Camino is the last place I'd want to develop a coffee habit. I've seen too many peregrinos who are miserable until they can find a place open for coffee in the morning. Why put myself through that?
I totally get it! I know too many people who can't start their day without a cup of coffee and I am glad I don't have that need. My husband is an avid coffee drinker and it actually bothers him that I don't drink coffee. But I gave up all forms of caffeine a few years ago (and never drank coffee in the first place) and am still a morning person.
 
I don't know what the Spanish secret behind café con leche, you can taste the difference as soon as you set foot on Spanish soil.

In a previous thread about café con leche in Spain it was mentioned that the UHT milk that is mostly used makes the difference.

I'm not a coffee drinker, and the Camino is the last place I'd want to develop a coffee habit. I've seen too many peregrinos who are miserable until they can find a place open for coffee in the morning. Why put myself through that?

I enjoy an occasional café con leche when I'm on the Camino - especially if there is a fresh chocolate napolitana to go with it, but I'm happy that I don't need caffeine to start my day.
 
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I'm not a coffee drinker, and the Camino is the last place I'd want to develop a coffee habit. I've seen too many peregrinos who are miserable until they can find a place open for coffee in the morning. Why put myself through that?
Sorry for terse reply earlier but had just dropped my dinner all over the floor
 
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Culturally I think the Italians have it right. Coffee with milk is a breakfast beverage and one is enough. Why overdo a good thing?
I remember a walk in 2002 when I had coffee con leche in a road house early, the coffee was excellent and so I ordered another . The bar tender was astonished and turn to the other patrons and said in Spanish , “ did you hear that , he has had his coffee , but now he wants another , have you heard that , he wants another” I had another cup and accepted the astonished look of the locals
 
I remember a walk in 2002 when I had coffee con leche in a road house early, the coffee was excellent and so I ordered another . The bar tender was astonished and turn to the other patrons and said in Spanish , “ did you hear that , he has had his coffee , but now he wants another , have you heard that , he wants another” I had another cup and accepted the astonished look of the locals
Absolutely. Europeans don’t overdo things the way that others…maybe Americans!…do. One cup of coffee is sufficient.
 
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One place I'll always remember... After walking all morning, I saw a place full of locals and decided to stop for a café con leche. As my coffee was placed on the counter, I attempted to ask--in Spanish--may I try one of these and one of these as I pointed at a couple of delicious looking goodies behind the glass. Much rapid Spanish ensued and my best guess was that they're not for sale. He put one on a little plate and placed it next to my coffee. Hum, I thought, I'm catching on. I finished my drink and ordered another café con leche. Sure enough, this time he served the other goodie with my beverage and again charged me only for the coffee.
 
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One place I'll always remember... After walking all morning, I saw a place full of locals and decided to stop for a café con leche. As my coffee was placed on the counter, I attempted to ask--in Spanish--may I try one of these and one of these as I pointing at a couple of delicious looking goodies behind the glass. Much rapid Spanish ensued and my best guess was that they're not for sale. He put one on a little plate and placed it next to my coffee. Hum, I thought, I'm catching on. I finished my drink and ordered another café con leche. Sure enough, this time he served the other goodie with my beverage and again charged me only for the coffee.
I enjoy surprises and get many on th Camino
 
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something about cafe con leche.... while on the camino, it is the most wonderful thing. while traveling in general, it is quite underwhelming compared to any coffee in Italy or France.

there is one cafe on the via de la plata in el cubo de tierra del vino between Zamora and Salamanca that had the best coffee that I've had anywhere in Spain. It's called Bar Hernandez. I talked to the proprietor and he takes pride in making a great cup each time and it shows. And still only 1euro a few years ago.
 
Adding: for sure it’s about the stellar coffee, but for me it’s about the culture. One of my favorite pastimes is observing all the locals (mostly old men) stopping in for their mid-morning shot of caffeine-standing at the bar, chatting, reading the paper.
 
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I remember a walk in 2002 when I had coffee con leche in a road house early, the coffee was excellent and so I ordered another . The bar tender was astonished and turn to the other patrons and said in Spanish , “ did you hear that , he has had his coffee , but now he wants another , have you heard that , he wants another” I had another cup and accepted the astonished look of the locals
That's odd. I've ordered a second cup of coffee several times on various Caminos. Whomever was serving me never even batted an eye when I did, nor did anyone else around me.
 
Torrefacto refers to a particular process of roasting coffee beans, common in Spain (and a few other countries). The process involves adding a certain amount of sugar during roasting in order to glaze the beans. The glazed beans are then mixed with normal roasted beans (80% to 20%). Does anyone know more about this?

In the Aceh region of Sumatra, Indonesia they roast coffee (robusta beans) with sugar, glazing with margarine, all while being turned in massive metal drums over open flame.

 
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Thanks for this upbeat thread that celebrates the sheer excitement of a daily addiction on the Camino. My nirvana is found every morning on the Portuguese in the form of a high grade espresso and one of those heavenly pasteis de natas (Portuguese custard tarts that disappear as soon as you cross the border).
 
Fellow Aussie and coffee lover here. I'll take whatever I can get and hope for the best, just like home.
Almost don’t dare ask for fear of inciting wrath BUT do you know if they do almond milk or soy milk. My friend and I being possibly neurotic over our coffees enquiring… 😬
 
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Almost don’t dare ask for fear of inciting wrath BUT do you know if they do almond milk or soy milk. My friend and I being possibly neurotic over our coffees enquiring… 😬
Ummmm.....
No wrath, just a chuckle :D
Seriously though, I've been in a lot of cafes on Caminos in Spain and drank and watched many others drink coffee and I never saw anyone get their coffee with soy or almond "milk". Not saying it doesn't happen, just saying I never saw it.
I would guess your best bet would be to buy soy or almond "milk" at a market and order your coffee black and add it yourself.
 
I've seen too many peregrinos who are miserable until they can find a place open for coffee in the morning. Why put myself through that?
Ahh, I worked very hard to avoid that very scenario. Before I left home, I weaned myself from my caffeine dependence as I needed to avoid the caffeine withdrawal headache I knew I’d get, and the attendant misery, if I couldn’t get my morning coffee on the camino. My resolve didn’t last long though. By the time I got to Roncesvalles I was asking for help from a very kind waitperson in the restaurant. She asked me to show her how I wanted my café con leche (I wanted it very weak so as not to get hooked again on the caffeine) and was told that I should ask for a café descafeinado, which is what I did from then on. There was so little caffeine in my cafés con leche that I never developed another dependence and I could remain pleasant enough in the morning until that first bar came into sight.
 
Almost don’t dare ask for fear of inciting wrath BUT do you know if they do almond milk or soy milk. My friend and I being possibly neurotic over our coffees enquiring… 😬
Very difficult, I was always met with perplexed looks when trying to order soy, possibly my mangled pronunciation.
Being a habitual soy user, I found the transition to leche quite easy though, maybe due to A2 factor mentioned above.
I found the taste of coffe in Spain varies little, so you alway knew what you were going to get.
Most big cities have at least one or two hipster /speciality type coffee shops, I would google on arrival to get my soy latte fix.
One in particular in Gijon , Primo Cafe, was especially good.
Interested to hear about any other particular cafes along the routes. Now there would be a good list to compile? Or has some already done this?
 
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Before the Camino, I really didn't like coffee. Sacrilege, I know. Even now, I rarely drink it; I'm a herbal tea aficionado and lover.
But all that changes as soon as I set foot on the Camino. I became wooed and mesmerized by all things Cafe con Leche {and freshly squeezed orange juice, to be honest}. I even was seduced a time or two by the Lemonade Beer twist (Shandy??).

My question for you: what is your relationship to Cafe con Leche / coffee on the Camino? Pre, during and post? [to clarify pre, during and post, I am wondering both in your day-to-day on the Camino, and pre-arrival Spain and after leaving]
Do you have any favourite recommendations of must-go-to places for coffee along the Way -- whatever route that might be? Details and stories would be appreciated! Types of coffee? etc.

Buen Coffee Camino!!!

FCFCAAFD-90A3-47BD-BE34-AC992719B838.jpeg
 
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Before and after Camino I drink my coffee black. On the Camino, I am a solid cafe con leche fan (but add a little sugar). Big enough fan that I often order two. Am also a fan of fresh squeezed OJ and I developed a love of "lemonade beer" or cerveza con limon or a Radler. They are low in alcohol but high in refreshment: a perfect beverage after a long day of walking, particularly if it has been hot.
What is a radler? I can’t drink too much alcohol but love something refreshing after a walk.
 
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Ummmm.....
No wrath, just a chuckle :D
Seriously though, I've been in a lot of cafes on Caminos in Spain and drank and watched many others drink coffee and I never saw anyone get their coffee with soy or almond "milk". Not saying it doesn't happen, just saying I never saw it.
I would guess your best bet would be to buy soy or almond "milk" at a market and order your coffee black and add it yourself.
Or I could just drink up cafe con leche and enjoy that. 🤣
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I always have 2-3 cafe con leches per day when walking the Camino. Funny I never have a second cup at home…

Kidding aside it’s one of my favorite Camino experiences. For the first time ever on the Camino (or in Europe) last year, I had an absolutely horrible cup when entering Granon at the place on the edge of town. I asked around and I wasn’t the only one. I won’t be going back there next time, and I’ve warned others to avoid it. Just a rare occurrence after 25 years of traveling to Europe.
 
I see it very much like you do. I, too, grew up in a place where coffee with milk is the most common way of drinking coffee and I have drunk coffee in various countries and, generally speaking, in some it is more to my taste than in others. But it is not only a question of how fresh the beans are but also which kind of coffee beans are used or whether it is a mix of different sorts of coffee beans.

However, having googled it a bit right now, the word torrefacto popped up: Torrefacto refers to a particular process of roasting coffee beans, common in Spain (and a few other countries). The process involves adding a certain amount of sugar during roasting in order to glaze the beans. The glazed beans are then mixed with normal roasted beans (80% to 20%). Does anyone know more about this?
I have heard of this roasting process which results in the beans getting a glazing.
 
Before the Camino, I really didn't like coffee. Sacrilege, I know. Even now, I rarely drink it; I'm a herbal tea aficionado and lover.
But all that changes as soon as I set foot on the Camino. I became wooed and mesmerized by all things Cafe con Leche {and freshly squeezed orange juice, to be honest}. I even was seduced a time or two by the Lemonade Beer twist (Shandy??).

My question for you: what is your relationship to Cafe con Leche / coffee on the Camino? Pre, during and post? [to clarify pre, during and post, I am wondering both in your day-to-day on the Camino, and pre-arrival Spain and after leaving]
Do you have any favourite recommendations of must-go-to places for coffee along the Way -- whatever route that might be? Details and stories would be appreciated! Types of coffee? etc.

Buen Coffee Camino!!!
Having been born & raised in Chile, I knew of cafe con leche. But for the past 51 years, I call Canada my home and it is from here I walked my first Camino Frances and of course I had my daily doze of cafe con leches every day after walking about 5 km or the first bar that was open early in the morning whichever came first. I should clarify that back in Canada I buy coffee beans, grind & brew coffee but it is routine. Where in Spain and the Camino, you crave that hot delicious concoction of coffee & frothy milk. Once I returned to Canada I tried to replicate it, but I do not have a machine and so far I have made due with Nescafe sweet & creamy which is not the same but if I close my eyes I am back in Spain on a cafe by the side of the road ... Buen Camino💖
 
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As a self-confessed coffee snob, I’m usually a tough judge on coffee when I travel. It may have been the knowledge that each morning I was facing yet another 30 kilometers ahead of me but I can’t recall a bad cafe con leche when I did the Camino Frances in 2010. It was an essential start to my day. The things I still remember: the coffees were generally strong and hot; locals would quickly drink theirs at the bar while joking with the staff; some places had personalized sugars bearing Camino-inspired designs. All in all, good coffee and great memories.
Great memories indeed. I walked my Camino Frances in Sept-Oct. I would leave my albergue early and walk my first 5-7 km before I would begin craving that delicious concoction of steaming coffee & frothy milk with the most delicious fresh croissant. Once I had that in my belly I was good for another 8-10 km when I would stop for a beer and a bit of lunch. Ahhh, what memories.
 
I can't wait to try this cafe con leche. I start drinking coffee at 5 am before heading off to work and drink coffee all day long at work as I work in a restaurant. I work 10 hours a day and take a coffee in a take out cup for the drive home. At home I have my last cup between 9-10 at night before bed. I'am a person who can sleep easily after drinking coffee. So I can't wait for the "cafe con leche".
 
Great memories indeed. I walked my Camino Frances in Sept-Oct. I would leave my albergue early and walk my first 5-7 km before I would begin craving that delicious concoction of steaming coffee & frothy milk with the most delicious fresh croissant. Once I had that in my belly I was good for another 8-10 km when I would stop for a beer and a bit of lunch. Ahhh, what memories.
At the risk of turning this coffee thread into a beer thread, there are few more delicious beers on this earth than one drank on the Camino after a long day’s walk.
 
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I can't wait to try this cafe con leche. I start drinking coffee at 5 am before heading off to work and drink coffee all day long at work as I work in a restaurant. I work 10 hours a day and take a coffee in a take out cup for the drive home. At home I have my last cup between 9-10 at night before bed. I'am a person who can sleep easily after drinking coffee. So I can't wait for the "cafe con leche".
I’m keen for it too. Don’t hear anybody raving about the bocadillos though. Anyone love those?
 
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Culturally I think the Italians have it right. Coffee with milk is a breakfast beverage and one is enough. Why overdo a good thing?
I was talking to the young Italian woman who had packed her espresso machine to bring it with her to Barcelona. She said she has her cappuccino first then a cafe solo after that. I was impressed.
 
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So, not “you” personally… perhaps I should say “ how can one call themselves a coffee snob , if they are covering up the taste with milk and sugar”. Hope that clarifies, and no offense meant to anyone. I just prefer coffee without additives
So do I, hence cafe sin leche.
 
So, not “you” personally… perhaps I should say “ how can one call themselves a coffee snob , if they are covering up the taste with milk and sugar”. Hope that clarifies, and no offense meant to anyone. I just prefer coffee without additives
No offence, just puzzled why you made the reply to me when I indicated that I prefer my coffe without milk. It is possible that my terse reply confused the situation and if so, I apologise.
 
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I don’t care for dark roast coffee and correct me if I’m wrong but the coffee in Spain is more of a dark roast strong flavour I believe. I like medium roast « con leche » so unless I get used to it (and hopefully I will be able to) my coffee drinking on the Camino will be limited.
 
After one of our 4 Camino Frances, I decided to check Amazon to see if Kuerig style cups of Cafe Con Leche were available. Sure enough! Not quite like authentic Cafe Con Leche on the camino, but pretty good. By the way, my wife and I love Cafe Con Leche so much we named our female beagle puppy (now 9 months old) Cafe con Leche ("Leche" for short)! Bob

91Swrk8mCDL._SL1500_.jpg
That’s brilliant! Leche will be our next pet name as well! (Sorry Bailey - our dog)
 
I don’t care for dark roast coffee and correct me if I’m wrong but the coffee in Spain is more of a dark roast strong flavour I believe. I like medium roast « con leche » so unless I get used to it (and hopefully I will be able to) my coffee drinking on the Camino will be limited.
My take on the roast is that it is a medium roast but concentrated. When I watched the beans being ground they appeared
I don’t care for dark roast coffee and correct me if I’m wrong but the coffee in Spain is more of a dark roast strong flavour I believe. I like medium roast « con leche » so unless I get used to it (and hopefully I will be able to) my coffee drinking on the Camino will be limited.
my take on the beans I saw in Spain were a medium roast , but very concentrated. I roast my own beans and know the difference. I was told the beans come from Central America. They put a lot of coffee in each cup , maybe 1/4 cup volume to make the same amount of liquid. That’s the richness not the roast.
 
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Yuk! If you want to eat something that will give you a caffeine hit then eat chocolate coated coffee beans.
Yes, that would probably be better than a pill for most people. (They also sell little coffee candies in Spain that have quite a bit of caffeine.) The thing is, I don't want to eat anything at all. If I have anything at all to eat, then I get that low-blood-sugar feeling until I've eaten something substantial. I'd rather walk for a couple of hours on a totally empty stomach. Then fill it up with the milky coffee.

Strangely, the pills don't really give me a hit as such. I never notice when the caffeine has hit my blood. But I do notice that when I take one I don't have that craving for a cup of coffee like I normally would.
 
Before the Camino, I really didn't like coffee. Sacrilege, I know. Even now, I rarely drink it; I'm a herbal tea aficionado and lover.
But all that changes as soon as I set foot on the Camino. I became wooed and mesmerized by all things Cafe con Leche {and freshly squeezed orange juice, to be honest}. I even was seduced a time or two by the Lemonade Beer twist (Shandy??).

My question for you: what is your relationship to Cafe con Leche / coffee on the Camino? Pre, during and post? [to clarify pre, during and post, I am wondering both in your day-to-day on the Camino, and pre-arrival Spain and after leaving]
Do you have any favourite recommendations of must-go-to places for coffee along the Way -- whatever route that might be? Details and stories would be appreciated! Types of coffee? etc.

Buen Coffee Camino!!!
I did my sophomore year in college in Spain. Before going to Spain, I wasn't a coffee drinker. Started drinking coffee in Spain. When I returned home, I thought, "Well, no WONDER I never drank this stuff! It's terrible!" (I do drink coffee in the U.S. now, but I still don't like most restaurant coffee.)
 
You did not get sick because you drank A2 milk. Vast majority of Spanish milk is from A2 cows.
Could be, but I’ve tried the A2 milk here in the USA and still gives me issues! I don’t know if it’s the process here, or something added to the milk 😞 all I know is that in Spain, nor in Cuba I got sick!
 
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Before the Camino, I really didn't like coffee. Sacrilege, I know. Even now, I rarely drink it; I'm a herbal tea aficionado and lover.
But all that changes as soon as I set foot on the Camino. I became wooed and mesmerized by all things Cafe con Leche {and freshly squeezed orange juice, to be honest}. I even was seduced a time or two by the Lemonade Beer twist (Shandy??).

My question for you: what is your relationship to Cafe con Leche / coffee on the Camino? Pre, during and post? [to clarify pre, during and post, I am wondering both in your day-to-day on the Camino, and pre-arrival Spain and after leaving]
Do you have any favourite recommendations of must-go-to places for coffee along the Way -- whatever route that might be? Details and stories would be appreciated! Types of coffee? etc.

Buen Coffee Camino!!!
I'm pretty similar to you. Before the Camino, I never drank coffee. On the Camino in 2016, I drank cafe con leche every day (also often with a fresh squeezed orange juice). After leaving Spain, I stopped drinking coffee. I drank it again when on Camino in 2018 but stopped again afterwards. I tried again after the Camino, when on training walks with our local Camino walking group, but it just never took. I guess I am an "only in Spain or on Camino" coffee drinker.
 
I’m keen for it too. Don’t hear anybody raving about the bocadillos though. Anyone love those?
They're ok. Just a kind of Spanish version of a submarine, hoagy or po-boy sandwich. Crusty bread with meat, cheese or whatever in between. The outer crust of the bread can be quite sturdy at times. It makes for a decent lunch and calories and carbs for walking.
 
"Un café cortado, por favor" was my daily go-to on my Camino last year, and my very favorite way to start the day. (Con leche is too much milk for my taste, and I agree with some of the previous comments on here that an unadorned shot of black coffee is a bit harsh. A cortado – literally coffee "cut" with a bit of steamed milk, sort of halfway between a machiatto and a latte – is the sweet spot for me.)
 
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I've noticed that home coffee tastes more like Camino coffee to me when made with UHT milk. Worth experimenting - it adds a distinct flavour.
 
I'm not a coffee drinker, and the Camino is the last place I'd want to develop a coffee habit. I've seen too many peregrinos who are miserable until they can find a place open for coffee in the morning. Why put myself through that?
For what it's worth, my daily cafe con leches on my Caminos has not turned me into a coffee addict, miserable before my first cup of coffee. I have had no difficulty returning to a coffee-less existence when returning from Spain.
 
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For what it's worth, my daily cafe con leches on my Caminos has not turned me into a coffee addict, miserable before my first cup of coffee. I have had no difficulty returning to a coffee-less existence when returning from Spain.
For me life is too short to forgo any legal pleasures , yes I’ll have another brownie and yes I’ll have another cup
 
I'm not a coffee drinker, and the Camino is the last place I'd want to develop a coffee habit. I've seen too many peregrinos who are miserable until they can find a place open for coffee in the morning. Why put myself through that?
I'm not a keen walker, and the Camino is the last place I'd want to develop a walking habit. I've seen too many peregrinos who, once back home are miserable until they can find a new chance for an extensive month-long walking trip like the one they just returned from. Why put myself through that?

Sorry … could … not … resist 😵‍💫

😉
 
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There is no doubt that having a coffee is a very pleasurable experience in Spain. I think that most Spaniards would be most amused by this entire thread. Really…it just a cup of coffee. The Spanish are generally careful and thoughtful with many aspects of their cusine. Great coffee machines are a certainty in any shop that plans to serve coffee in Spain. The coffee itself is carefully prepared…no secrets there. Maybe many pilgrims are coming from countries with a less thoughtful coffee culture. I’m not sure if even the Spanish could serve a great cup of coffee if most of their customers wanted their order in a 24 oz paper cup or a large insulated container.
 
I'm not a keen walker, and the Camino is the last place I'd want to develop a walking habit. I've seen too many peregrinos who, once back home are miserable until they can find a new chance for an extensive month-long walking trip like the one they just returned from. Why put myself through that?

Sorry … could … not … resist 😵‍💫

😉
And this adds what to the cafe con leche discussion? Really lost on this thought!
 
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I remember a walk in 2002 when I had coffee con leche in a road house early, the coffee was excellent and so I ordered another . The bar tender was astonished and turn to the other patrons and said in Spanish , “ did you hear that , he has had his coffee , but now he wants another , have you heard that , he wants another” I had another cup and accepted the astonished look of the locals
Oh my goodness!
This is so funny!
I had the same thing happen in Italy!
Like the Miami pilgrim above, they can get their cafe via a door in the wall, but usually standing at the bar...one and done.
Good custom says if you want to sit and savor, you have to sit and wait...forever at a table.
However, I find that in Spain on the Camino, there's an exception for foreign pilgrims...we can order at the bar and sit and savor. Nice when accompanied by a chocolate croissant!
Still, an Americano grande is a grand thing anywhere, but especially grand in Italy and Spain.
 
Ummmm.....
No wrath, just a chuckle :D
Seriously though, I've been in a lot of cafes on Caminos in Spain and drank and watched many others drink coffee and I never saw anyone get their coffee with soy or almond "milk". Not saying it doesn't happen, just saying I never saw it.
I would guess your best bet would be to buy soy or almond "milk" at a market and order your coffee black and add it yourself.

On previous Caminos I once or twice noticed pilgrims getting soy milk in their coffee/cafe con leche but it was only on my last Camino when I was on along the del Norte walking off and on with a Berliner and two Californian sisters (2 of the 3 were vegans) and they came to ask for almond or soy milk for their cortados, as they seemed to be intrigued by my cortado habit and for some reason wished to emulate this. At pretty well every bar where they stopped, they were able to obtain their non-dairy milk without any fuss although I wonder if the barkeep quietly disapproved.

While not needing caffeine to function, I came to quite enjoy the crisp dark taste of the first coffee, and the comfort of coffee at Second Breakfast, and the cafe solo and orujo after dinner, all serving as ritual reference points over the day. While I occasionally had unsatisfactory coffee, it was rare (in Canada, over half the time in English Canada, and only a quarter of the time in Montréal), and I did take a half-kilo of beans back with me once-- not quite the same, but close. I have only seen the high level of coffee equalled in Australia (although I found Australian baristas' coffee slang astonishing).

A barista friend has informed me that Saint Drogo is the patron of coffee drinkers. He had been a pilgrim to many shrines until a hernia drove him to an eremetical life. His feast is April 16 and the translation of his relics is Trinity Sunday (4 June this year). I'm not aware of any cult in Spain but perhaps some enterprising bar-owner will have a sello made....
 
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I'm not a keen walker, and the Camino is the last place I'd want to develop a walking habit. I've seen too many peregrinos who, once back home are miserable until they can find a new chance for an extensive month-long walking trip like the one they just returned from. Why put myself through that?
Like the Miami pilgrim above, they can get their cafe via a door in the wall,
😃 A bit of levity
It adds fun. For most.
I nominate Artic_Alex for best in show: witty, creative with a sliver of sarcasm. Levity and fun. Like a lot!
Getting ☕️ from a hole in the wall adds an air of prohibition & mystery. 😂
I came to quite enjoy the crisp dark taste of the first coffee, and the comfort of coffee at Second Breakfast, and the cafe solo and orujo after dinner, all serving as ritual reference points over the day.
Yup! Camino coffee throughout the day!
 

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