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How do I make "Spanish" coffee at home?

Mike Savage

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I really enjoyed the coffee on my caminos and am wondering how I could duplicate it at home. I don't have an extensive knowledge of coffee so maybe it is already available but I don't know what it is called.

Here in the states I drink plain black coffee that comes preground in a large can. My wife likes roast coffee and grinds her own beans; this tastes "burnt" to me and I don't care for it. In Spain I would drink solo or Americano with no sugar or milk. This tasted strong but good and no "burnt" taste. This is what I would like to make at home. Maybe I need a special machine or beans or both?

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

Mike
 
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jelle

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Hi there Mike,

A café Americano is just an espresso with hot water added to increase volume and decrease strength.

Good luck experimenting!
 

edandjoan

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It's all about the beans and how fine you grind it (we use a hand crank burr grinder). I suggest start with a moka pot...much cheaper then investing in an espresso machine. Buy locally roasted beans and keep trying different beans until you find what you like.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

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Get good quality beans and a stove top expresso brewer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moka_pot

This will get you something close to espresso from the fancy machine at a fraction of the cost. Also warm up your milk, ideally with a frother. I love mine from Nespresso. Super quick and easy to clean. Operates without the Nespresso Machine. You may also like a Nespresso machine. More expensive than the stove top, because a capsule of coffee is 75 cents, and I use two per cup, but I have this machine at work for when I have visitors, stove top at home.
 
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Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
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Hmm . . . time to read up on Moka pots then!

Is there a certain type/flavor of bean I should start with?
 

tyrrek

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According to Wiki, coffee that has gone through the 'Torrefacto' process is common in Spain. The process involves sugar glazing of some of the beans. Maybe that's why you find it less bitter.
 

annakappa

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Well, this is an interesting subject!
Just after we married ( 51 years ago this week), we went to live in Italy and there, right away, we were introduced to a decent cup of coffee! In other words, up till then, I had only drunk something that I can only describe as a hot drink. In other words instant coffee!
So, there we were in Italy and my newly found neighbour would always invite me to a coffee ( at any time of day) and I loved this new found drink! I immediately found out that she used a strange coffee pot, the world famous Bialetti! Obviously I bought one and immediately became hooked!
Over the years, I switched over to a stainless steel version. I have 3. One large one for breakfast for the two of us. One smaller version and a very small one for me to make my after lunch espresso. The largest one is probably 40 years old and is still in perfect ( or almost) condition. And it is used daily!
The coffee? We now live in a Coffee Republic. We are surrounded by coffee plantations. I simply buy the darkest roast of already ground beans. Italians, like the Spanish love their coffee and take the coffee drinking ritual very seriously! Even so, when we travel to our friends back in Italy ( that's them, the same ones who introduced us to drinking coffee) we always take them some of our local Costa Rican coffee!
I'm soooooo glad that someone appreciates a decent cup of coffee?☕️

Ah, and Mike, congratulations on having. I pleated your Pilgrimage!
 
Last edited:
S

simply B

Guest
Mike - start with what your LOCAL roaster has in "Full City" roast level and work up from there. I roast my own and, depending on the beans, you can get a reasonable imitation up to "Vienna Roast".

My best luck has been with Brazilian and Colombian beans for this purpose.

Try a rounded tablespoon of roast beans, then ground fine, to 16 oz of boiling water in a French Press. Let steep 5 mins before pressing.

Experiment from there until you find what you like..

Feel free to PM me for trouble-shooting if you want. A response might take me a few days though.
 
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Well, I use one of these stove top espresso makers like the photo I've uploaded, and I"m happy with it.
I buy whole beans and grind them.
You can buy different strengths of coffee bean blends, from mild and smooth to dark and strong.
For black coffee, I'd make a pot of espresso, then add boiling water.

My family is Portuguese and before espresso makers, here is how my grandmother made my grandfather's cafe con leche each morning and how I've done it ever since:

She would grind the coffee, maybe 1/4 cup, very fine.
Put it in a saucepan
Put in about 2 cups of water
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until it is a very strong syrup.
Put this in a glass jar with lid and keep in the refrigerator or on top of the stove if you don't live in heat.
images.jpeg Unknown.jpeg

To use, pour about 1/4 cup of the syrup into the coffee cup.
Put 3/4 cup of whole milk in a pan and bring to a boil to "scald" it.
Pour the milk into the cup with the syrup.

He had a BIG old cup of this each morning.
She also made Portuguese Sweet Bread and he'd dip the bread into the coffee and eat it.
That would be "First Breakfast"
After working in the fields for a couple of hours, he'd come back in around 8 am and get "Second Breakfast" which was usually linguica and eggs and Portuguese beans.
 

Felice

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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I've just got back from 2 weeks wandering around Washington state, and I was really disappointed in the taste of coffee that I was served, so often it tasted burnt and it was definitely far more diuretic than I am used to in the UK. So not surprised that you are having difficulties replicating the flavour of a Spanish coffee. In the UK, the closest I can get to a Spanish coffee is by making a really strong brew using Columbian beans in a cafetiere. But then maybe that is just wishful thinking.....
 

Felice

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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Posted my response at about the same time as simply B and our methods are pretty similar. So give it a try!
 

edandjoan

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
St. Gallen to Muxia
2012-2018
water temperature is important too. start warming the water in the lower part of the moka pot and then screw on top with coffee. keep lid open. just as the coffee starts coming out the tube cut the heat and close the lid. We use electric heat so gas may need to stay on a touch longer. if the water gets too hot the coffee can be bitter. And as annakappa said get a stainless steel pot.
It is hard to find a decent cup of coffee in the USA. Huckleberry's in Denver is current on the top of my list..and I am going there this weekend! If you order coffee at a coffee shop talk to the person and explain what you want, don't just order off the menu. I usually ask for two shots of espresso with about half as much warm milk. not frothed.
 
D

Deleted member 22638

Guest
Ah coffee, the fuel of the Camino: as good as Spanish coffee is, it is but a step on the path to nirvana which is an Italian espresso, consumed in a Rome bar before leaping onto a Vespa.

(In the meantime I splashed out on a pod system- which is quite brilliant)
 
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Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
Thank you all so much, this has turned out to be a very informative thread indeed!

I have drank coffee for over 40 years now and thought I didn't like real strong coffee. Turns out I just needed the right stuff. I loved Spanish coffee and Americano was pretty darn good too.
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
Well, I use one of these stove top espresso makers like the photo I've uploaded, and I"m happy with it.
I buy whole beans and grind them.
You can buy different strengths of coffee bean blends, from mild and smooth to dark and strong.
For black coffee, I'd make a pot of espresso, then add boiling water.

My family is Portuguese and before espresso makers, here is how my grandmother made my grandfather's cafe con leche each morning and how I've done it ever since:

She would grind the coffee, maybe 1/4 cup, very fine.
Put it in a saucepan
Put in about 2 cups of water
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until it is a very strong syrup.
Put this in a glass jar with lid and keep in the refrigerator or on top of the stove if you don't live in heat.
View attachment 21951 View attachment 21952

To use, pour about 1/4 cup of the syrup into the coffee cup.
Put 3/4 cup of whole milk in a pan and bring to a boil to "scald" it.
Pour the milk into the cup with the syrup.

He had a BIG old cup of this each morning.
She also made Portuguese Sweet Bread and he'd dip the bread into the coffee and eat it.
That would be "First Breakfast"
After working in the fields for a couple of hours, he'd come back in around 8 am and get "Second Breakfast" which was usually linguica and eggs and Portuguese beans.

Annie, special thanks for the memories! I used to spend summers with my Portuguese grandmother but grandpa had already passed and I only remember she liked coffee VERY hot. I sure remember the sweetbread and linguica, and kale soup though! (I still have a very colorful rooster in the kitchen too.) Strangely enough Mom and Dad don't drink coffee.

Mike
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Year of past OR future Camino
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Well, this is an interesting subject! . . .

Ah, and Mike, congratulations on having. I pleated your Pilgrimage!

Thank you very much. I loved every step and every minute of every day! I'm also glad the kidney stones didn't occur until I had been home for almost 24 hours. What a blessing that didn't happen on the plane or between Burgos and León!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Hmm . . . time to read up on Moka pots then!

Is there a certain type/flavor of bean I should start with?
Mike, there are many brands, and loks, but the principle is the same: water in bottom part, filtre/basket, and then the réservoir. Bialetti, as mentioned by @annakappa , is well know, quality and reasonably priced. Every once in a while you will need to replace a rubber seal for a couple of dollars. Just find any traditional Italian market and they' ll have these.

Lavazza coffee, preground and vacuum packed should be readily available in the US, as it's advertised throughout the Noeth East highways! Good quality:price ratio, and the right thicknes of the grain for the stove top espresso. Too strong? Boiled a bit of water on the side.

Once in a while things go awry and the coffee does not come up, the coffee sticks to the top of the filtre. Anyone know how to avoid this?
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
If you closely examine the bean grinder in bars, you will see that the beans are a blend. I have produced a satisfactory substitute by mixing light roast, medium roast, and dark roast with less than 1/3 of the dark roast (all Arabica, though Spain may have Robusto beans in their mix). Of course, you need an espresso machine, too.
 
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annakappa

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I should also mention that some time back, I decided to buy one of those sofisticated espresso machines that would produce 2 cups at the same moment. They look like a household version of what you see in a bar. Well I discarded it within a month, because there was no AROMA! You need some aroma to enjoy you cup of coffee! So, for nearly 50 years, I have been enjoying my coffee made in a stainless steel version of the Bialetti coffee maker. Oh, yes, one other thing, that you will be told not to do, but I learnt the trick from an Italian friend, is that I keep my coffee in the frig. And of course, now we drink coffee from Costa Rica. Arabica, naturalmente!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I should also mention that some time back, I decided to buy one of those sofisticated espresso machines that would produce 2 cups at the same moment. They look like a household version of what you see in a bar. Well I discarded it within a month, because there was no AROMA! You need some aroma to enjoy you cup of coffee! So, for nearly 50 years, I have been enjoying my coffee made in a stainless steel version of the Bialetti coffee maker. Oh, yes, one other thing, that you will be told not to do, but I learnt the trick from an Italian friend, is that I keep my coffee in the frig. And of course, now we drink coffee from Costa Rica. Arabica, naturalmente!
@annakappa , have you ever had to deal with the coffee sticking at the top of the filtre?
 

annakappa

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@annakappa , have you ever had to deal with the coffee sticking at the top of the filtre?
Not really! The trick is to fill up your filter and then pack it down . There are always a few grains on the metal filter, but nothing to worry about! Ah, another thing: don't over wash your coffee pot. Just rinse it out. No detergents please!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

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Not really! The trick is to fill up your filter and then pack it down . There are always a few grains on the metal filter, but nothing to worry about! Ah, another thing: don't over wash your coffee pot. Just rinse it out. No detergents please!
True, a good rinse only. Never packed my coffee, perhaps that was the problem.

Ahhhhh..... Canadian élections this evening, it'll be a long night. Time to make some strong coffee.
 
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GettingThere

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@annakappa , have you ever had to deal with the coffee sticking at the top of the filtre?

Coffee that is too finely ground can do this. Generally the moka-type coffee maker takes a coarser grind than you might use for a drip filter. If you use a fine grind in a moka it can glug up the works (technical term!). I find a medium grind is usually fine. But coarser grinding can also make a weaker coffee, so you might have to go to a slightly darker roast or stronger blend to balance that.

Oh now see, you got me started thinking about coffee....!
 

annakappa

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Coffee that is too finely ground can do this. Generally the moka-type coffee maker takes a coarser grind than you might use for a drip filter. If you use a fine grind in a moka it can glug up the works (technical term!). I find a medium grind is usually fine. But coarser grinding can also make a weaker coffee, so you might have to go to a slightly darker roast or stronger blend to balance that.
Oh now see, you got me started thinking about coffee....!
Yup, but I was only talking about a Mona style coffee pot! Since I was ' converted' nearly 50 years ago, I never gave used anything else!
 

Mike Savage

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You are very welcome. Those are some of my favorite memories! Were they Azorian?

Grandma was, she had red hair and green eyes and very fair complexion. The other side of the family was from Lisboa.
 

Seabird

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water temperature is important too. start warming the water in the lower part of the moka pot and then screw on top with coffee. keep lid open. just as the coffee starts coming out the tube cut the heat and close the lid. We use electric heat so gas may need to stay on a touch longer. if the water gets too hot the coffee can be bitter. And as annakappa said get a stainless steel pot.

Coffee that is too finely ground can do this. Generally the moka-type coffee maker takes a coarser grind than you might use for a drip filter. If you use a fine grind in a moka it can glug up the works (technical term!). I find a medium grind is usually fine. But coarser grinding can also make a weaker coffee, so you might have to go to a slightly darker roast or stronger blend to balance that.

@Mooncat. I bought a stove top espresso pot in a second-hand shop years ago and use it for both espresso and for iced coffee. Over time, you have to replace the gasket when it gets stiff, but parts are readily available.

I agree with @GettingThere that for the standard Moka-type pot, you need a coarser grind and don't pack it down. But I never heard of the suggestion by @edandjoan to keep the lid up to help control the temperature. I'll have to try that.
 
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Grandma was, she had red hair and green eyes and very fair complexion. The other side of the family was from Lisboa.

An exact description of my grandmother! My ex who is also Azorean (Sao Miguel) used to tease me and say, "You're not Portuguese! You're Flemish!" Lol. She was from Flores. My grandfather, dark and swarthy, was from Pico.
 
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GettingThere

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Yup, but I was only talking about a Mona style coffee pot! Since I was ' converted' nearly 50 years ago, I never gave used anything else!
Yes, that's the sort i meant - like your lovely Bialetti. I have one like that (different brand) bought in an Italian supermarket 20 years ago and still going strong!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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I remember my first cafe con leche at Burguete-Auritz - lordy! lordy!

One thing to take into account is that most of the milk used in mainland Europe is UHT long life milk - it does make a difference.

As to the best coffee maker may I suggest the Aerobie Aeropress coffee maker? http://aerobie.com/
They also make amazing boomerangs too!
 

gollygolly

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navarro

Active Member
I really enjoyed the coffee on my caminos and am wondering how I could duplicate it at home. I don't have an extensive knowledge of coffee so maybe it is already available but I don't know what it is called.

Here in the states I drink plain black coffee that comes preground in a large can. My wife likes roast coffee and grinds her own beans; this tastes "burnt" to me and I don't care for it. In Spain I would drink solo or Americano with no sugar or milk. This tasted strong but good and no "burnt" taste. This is what I would like to make at home. Maybe I need a special machine or beans or both?

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

Mike
D
I really enjoyed the coffee on my caminos and am wondering how I could duplicate it at home. I don't have an extensive knowledge of coffee so maybe it is already available but I don't know what it is called.

Here in the states I drink plain black coffee that comes preground in a large can. My wife likes roast coffee and grinds her own beans; this tastes "burnt" to me and I don't care for it. In Spain I would drink solo or Americano with no sugar or milk. This tasted strong but good and no "burnt" taste. This is what I would like to make at home. Maybe I need a special machine or beans or both?

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

Mike
 
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navarro

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I suppose you are talking about coffe in bars. This is an express coffee. There are some variables to get a good express coffee. The machine, the grinding, and the mix of different kinds of coffee. Bars have their suppliers of coffee that toast and makes the mix of beans from different origin and kinds. If the mix has great proporcion of "Robusta" variety mainly growed at Brazil, the contain of cafeine will be high and taste very strong.
So they mix it in differnt propotions with variety "Arabica" mainly growed at Colombia, smooth an with a lower contains in caffeine. The countries are only a reference, you can find different kinds of coffee in many countries.
There is an special toast method called Torrefacto. At the end of toast process the coffee beans are mixed with sugar that became toast with coffee. That process gives an special flavour to coffee.
So the exact proportions depends on the company. They mix strong coffee, smooth coffee and torrefacto coffee.
I dont know, I suppose that standar marks in Sspain have a different name in your country.
 

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