I was in the UK week before last and I visited a Costa Coffee shop.

While we were queuing for our drinks, the colleague I was with asked me if we had Costa Coffee or Starbucks in Lanzarote.

“No, neither.” I replied.

“I bet you really miss the coffee culture in that case.” Said he.

“You may have the coffee, but we have the culture.” was my response.

Here in Lanzarote, coffee isn’t so much about the drink as the experience. You will never see people walking down the street drinking coffee from a cardboard cup. The cupholders in cars are never used for their design purpose – they’re useful for storing mobile phones and sunglasses.

You don’t DRINK coffee in Lanzarote, you GO FOR coffee.

That means going to a cafetería, finding a vacant table and waiting to be served. It’s passing the time of day with those around you, or perhaps chatting with the people from other businesses whose coffee break coincides with your own.

It’s never about standing in one queue to order, then another to collect your drink, and it certainly never means paying for your drink before you’ve even tasted it.

Long may it continue!

You might get a bemused look if you try to order a latté, a flat white or a moccachino in Lanzarote, so here’s a guide to our most common coffees:

Café con leche – this is the standard coffee with frothy hot milk on top.

Café solo – this is a small, strong shot, also called an espresso.

Café Americano – a normal black coffee.

Cortado condensada – a shot of strong black coffee poured over a layer of condensed milk, served in a glass.

Leche Leche – as above but with the addition of milk to the coffee.

Café con hielo – literally coffee with ice. You’ll be served our hot coffee in a cup and a glass full of ice. Add sugar as required to your coffee and stir, then pour over the ice and enjoy it cold.

Carajillo – this is a café solo with a little drop of brandy, whisky or rum added to it.

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