PLP 027 - Beginners - Vocabulary at the coffee shop

Topic: The different Portuguese coffee drinks

Olá a todos!

This beginners episode is a vocabulary pill and we will learn vocabulary to use while at the coffee shop and bakery.

In this episode you learn:

  • Common drinks and snacks

  • Coffee especialities

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Portuguese Lab Podcast - European Portuguese - 27 - At the coffee shop - vocabulary 1.png


When you enter a coffee shop in Portugal you will rarely find a menu. Portuguese usually already know what to order. If you want pastries, you can see them all visible in the showcase and can point to the one you want. If it's not visible, you have to name it.

You can order drinks and snacks, and I will mention the most common in a second. The difference between a coffee shop (café) and a bakery (pastelaria) is that the latter has a broader range of things to eat, including pastries and sweets.

Coffee is a real passion in Portugal and the Portuguese can have several espressos throughout the day (until the doctor advises to reduce to half because they are really strong in caffeine).

If you order: “Um café, por favor!” you will get an espresso, in a small coffee cup, hot and strong. It's brought to you with a teaspoon and sugar. This is also called bica in Lisbon and cimbalino in Oporto. Some of the following terms used for different types of coffee have different names according to the region. I focused here on the ones used in Lisbon.

  • café cheio (m, -s/-s): an espresso with a little bit more water, so that the cup is fuller.

  • café curto (m, -s/-s): a stronger espresso with less water, also called italiana.

  • garoto (m, -s): an espresso with a little bit of milk foam.

  • pingado (m, -s): an espresso with a little bit of cold milk.

  • carioca (m, -s): a not so strong espresso. Two coffees are made from the same portion of coffee beans. The second coffee is a carioca.

  • carioca de limão (m, -s/-): no coffee at all in this one, it's boiled water with lemon, similar to a tea.

  • café com cheirinho (m, -s/-): an espresso with a little bit of liquor. No one sleeps after this one!

  • café duplo (m, -s/-s): two espressos in one cup. Why have one if you can have two, right?

  • descafeinado (m, -s): decaffeinated coffee.

  • galão (m, -ões): coffee with milk (usually more milk than coffee) that you get it in a tall glass.

  • meia-de-leite (f, -s/-): similar to galão, but the quantities are 50/50 and you get it in a large cup.

  • abatanado (m, -s): an espresso served in a large cup with extra water.

    And that's it for coffee. If you don't like coffee, here are some other drinks you can order:

  • copo de leite (m, -s/-): glass of milk.

  • sumo (m, -s): juice

  • sumo de laranja (m, -s/-): orange juice

  • sumo de maçã (m, -s/-): apple juice

  • imperial (f, -ais): draught beer

  • garrafa de água (f, -s/-): bottle of water

  • garrafa de água com gás (f, -s/-): bottle of sparkling water

    • fresca: cold

    • natural: at room temperature


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And what can you have to eat:

  • torrada (f, -s): toasted and buttered bread made of two sandwich loafs stacked on top of each other. Each loaf is sliced in three.

  • meia-torrada (f, -s/-s): toasted and buttered bread made of one sandwich loaf sliced in three.

  • croquete (m, -s): minced and cooked meat that is deep-fried.

  • rissol (m, -óis): minced and cooked meat, vegetables, fish or shrimp covered in pastry and fried, in the shape of a semi-circle.

    • rissol de carne (m, -óis) (with meat) / de camarão (m, -óis/-) (with shrimp)

  • pastel de bacalhau (m, -éis/-): a salt cod croquette, made from a mixture of potatoes, codfish, eggs, parsley, and onion.

  • chamuça (f, -s): spicy Indian snack, in the shape of a triangle (samosa). They were introduced in Portugal when several regions of India where Portuguese territory.

  • pão (m, -ães): bread

  • pão com manteiga (m, -ães/-): bread with butter

  • sandes (f, -): sandwich

    • sandes de fiambre (f, -/-): ham sandwich

    • sandes de queijo (f, -/-): cheese sandwich

    • sandes mista (f, -/-s): ham and cheese sandwich

  • prego (m, -s): steak sandwich

  • bifana (f, -s): pork sandwich

  • empada (f, -s): small meat or fish pie with crumbly crust.

    • empada de galinha (f, -s/-): chicken pie.

  • croissant (m -s)

    • croissant com doce de ovos (m, -s/-): croissant with a sweet filling made of egg yolk.

    • croissant com chocolate (m, -s/-): same, but with a chocolate filling.

    • croissant com queijo (m, -s/-): croissant with cheese.

    • croissant com fiambre (m, -s/-): croissant with ham.

    • croissant misto: (m, -s/-s) croissant with cheese and ham.

  • tosta (f, -s)

    • tosta de queijo (f, -s/-): cheese toast.

    • tosta de fiambre (f, -s/-): ham toast.

    • tosta mista (f, -s/-s): cheese and ham toast.

  • The difference between torrada and tosta, is that torrada is made with a regular toaster and tosta is made with a toasted-sandwich maker.

    Let's move on to sweet pastries:

  • pastel de nata (f, -éis/-): egg tart. Pastel de nata was introduced in China after gaining popularity in Macau, when this region was under Portuguese government. Pastel de nata was mentioned by the Guardian as the 15th most tasty delicacy in the world. It's important to know how to say it in plural because you will not be ordering one, at least half a dozen, just for yourself. Here is the plural: pastéis de nata.

  • bola de berlim (f, -s/-): similar to the German doughnut called Berliner, this one has a filling made of egg yolk.

  • queijada (f, -s): a small round sweet, prepared using cheese or requeijão (a Portuguese ricotta-like cheese). There are several types with different ingredients like almonds or orange. There are also different special regional queijadas, such as Queijada de Sintra or Queijada da Madeira. My advice, try them all.

  • bolo (m, -s): cake, something you will most likely only find in a bakery, and naturally there are also different types, like the common chocolate cake, bolo de chocolate (m, -s/-).

  • fatia de bolo: slice of cake. Queria uma fatia de bolo de chocolate, por favor. I would like a slice of chocolate cake, please.

    This is a short sample, but an important one. Depending on the region you will also have regional pastries available.

    Episode 20, that covers the structures you can use at the restaurant, has a lot of the structures you will also use at the coffee shop: how to order, how to pay and so on. So please, check it out!


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