PLP 028 - Intermediate - Ordering at the coffee shop in Portugal

Topic: Ordering Portuguese coffee drinks

Olá a todos!

This is an European Portuguese Intermediate lesson.

It is an action formula and we will learn common expressions used at the coffee shop in the Lisbon area.

In this episode you learn:

  • How to greet

  • How to order

  • How to pay

Listen to the episode



You are a regular at your local coffee shop, you know people by their names. You enter and say:

Bom dia, sô João.

Good morning, Mr. João.

In a more informal setting you can use the first name with the word Mister, although the last name is also common.

Mr., senhor, is in this sentence the word . is a shorter version of the actual word. Portuguese love to eat letters for breakfast!

If you were talking to a woman:

Bom dia sora Júlia.

Good morning, Ms./Mrs. Júlia.

In this case it's more common to use the first name. Also heard sometimes is the word dona (D.), often used with older women.

Bom dia dona Júlia.

Let's order an espresso:

Eu queria uma bica, por favor.

I would like an espresso, please.

This is a correct sentence, and it is very useful if you are starting to learn the language. You get used to the polite way to make requests and to pronounce every word independently.

Let me introduce you now to some different ways of ordering the same espresso, that you will actually hear in a coffee shop.

Instead of por favor, please, you can also say, se faz favor.

Eu queria uma bica, se faz favor.

In truth what you'll actually hear is:

Uma bica, [sashavor].

You can also say a simpler version of the first sentence:

Eu queria uma bica, faz favor.

And what you'll actually hear is:

Uma bica, [fashavor].

Looking closer at how to order something, you will also find some variants of the one we just saw.

Traga-me uma bica.

Bring me an espresso.

This expression uses the irregular verb trazer, to bring, conjugated in the imperative.

A more polite version of the same sentence uses the imperfect tense of the same verb.

Trazia-me uma bica?

Would you bring me an espresso?

This one is a question, to add a little bit more to the politeness of the request.

Let's hear them both now, with please, at the end.

Traga-me uma bica, se faz favor.

Trazia-me uma bica, se faz favor?

Pay attention that when you eat some letters as with se faz favor and faz favor, you must say the words quickly enough, so that it doesn’t sound weird. If you say them slowly, then the complete version of the word is required.

Let me grab one of the previous examples again:

Traga-me uma bica, se faz favor.

Bring me an espresso, please.

I'll add a little word: aí

Traga-me aí uma bica, se faz favor.

The word , that means there, is also used greatly as a particle for stress. In this sentence it just adds to the sense of you wanting something.

A similar version uses the verb dar, to give, conjugated in the imperative:

Dê-me aí uma bica, se faz favor.

Give me an espresso, please.

From the waiter you might hear:

O que é que vai ser?

What's it going to be?


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Or, if you are a regular customer:

O costume?

The usual?

Let's jump to the final part, when you pay.

Eu queria pagar, por favor.

I would like to pay, please.

Again, this is a more common expression if you are a beginner, repeating here the verb querer, to want, in the imperfect tense.

Here are some other common versions you'll hear at the coffee shop:

Era a conta, se faz favor.

The bill, please.

The sentence starts with the verb to be, ser, conjugated in the 3rd person singular of the imperfect tense. A possible translation: It would be the bill, please.

It sounds more polite than using the present tense of the verb to be.

É a conta, se faz favor.

The bill, please.

Another possibility:

Traga-me a conta, se faz favor.

Bring me the bill, please.

Again here the irregular verb trazer, to bring, is being used in the imperative.

Trazia-me a conta, se faz favor?

Would you bring the bill, please?

Also here, the irregular verb trazer, to bring, conjugated in the imperfect tense.

A conta, the bill, can be used in the diminutive version, continha.

Traga-me a continha, se faz favor.

Bring me the “little” bill, please.

The portuguese love their diminutives:

Um cafezinho, se faz favor.

A “little” coffee, please.

Uma cervejinha, se faz favor.

A “little” beer, please.

To transform a noun into the diminutive version you add -inho or -zinho for masculine nouns and -inha or -zinha for feminine nouns. Without the -z you need to drop the last letter of the noun.

  • cervejabeer

  • cervejinha“little” beer

Finally let me put together some of the expressions in a short dialogue:

Bom dia, sô Pedro.

Good morning, Mr. Pedro.

Bom dia, o que é que vai ser? O costume?

Good morning, what’s it going to be? The usual?

Sim, traga-me um cafezinho e um pastel de nata, se faz favor. E depois era a continha.

Yes, bring me a “little” coffee and an egg tart, please. And then the bill.


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