The simplest order is um café (a coffee), which refers to a shot of espresso. In Porto, it’s known as um cimbalino, a reference to Cimbali coffee machines. In Lisbon, it’s uma bica. Some say the word comes from the Portuguese word for “spout”, while others claim it stands for beba isso com açúcar (drink that with sugar).

Here are a few variations which are also served in a small espresso cup:

um café curto - A “short” espresso, about half full

um café cheio - A “full” espresso, filled to the top

um garoto - A short espresso with milk

um café com cheirinho - Espresso with aguardente, a kind of Portuguese brandy

um café pingado / “um pingo” - Espresso with just a “drop”/splash of milk

um café duplo - Double espresso

um café descafeinado - Decaffeinated espresso

uma carioca - A weaker espresso made from the same grounds that were already used to brew another espresso

If you want something similar to a latte or cafe au lait:

uma meia de leite - Half espresso, half steamed milk, in a larger cup

um galão - Similar to a meia de leite, but larger and more milky, served in a tall glass

Some speciality cafés serve “drip” coffee, but otherwise, you could try this instead:

um abatanado - Espresso with extra water, like a larger café cheio. Similar to an “americano”.

Don’t forget to order a pastel de nata to enjoy with your café!

Learn more and hear the pronunciation at