Cafe Central and guide to ordering a coffee in Malaga

Don’t ever try going into a coffee shop in Malaga without reading this useful guide. People from Malaga have a name for each type of coffee, depending on the proportion of milk/coffee. Ordering a simple “latte” could be a disaster and you will probably get for an answer: “mitad, sombra o nube?” (half, shadow or cloud?)The best way to explain it is with this picture:


Tradition from the 50s

The history started in one of the oldest coffee shops in town called “Caf? Central” around the 50s, just after the war. Se?or Jose Prado, one of the waiters at Caf? Central, was tired of having to throw away all the coffees rejected by the clients because they were “too black” or “too white”. Therefore he created a poster with pictures of the coffees, depending on the proportion of milk to coffee

Because Caf? Central was, like it is nowadays, a typical meeting point, the original way to classify the coffees was gaining popularity and spreading amongst “malague?os”. Some years later, a well-known coffee producer asked Se?or Jose for permission to use his idea for a publicity campaign. It was so popular that nowadays every coffee is made using Se?or Jose’s idea.

Not just a coffee shop

Caf? Central certainly offers some of the best and most traditional coffees in Malaga, but you can also try the whole variety of options of desserts, pastries, tapas, food and drinks, any time of the day.

During the morning you can have a full breakfast for 8.20 ?, or the typical Spanish “churros” with chocolate (they are a kind of fried-dough pastry).

Then for lunch you can choose a light option like their Chicken Salad with apple, almonds and nuts for just 2.50 ? or go for any of their tasty “tapas” for 2 ? at the bar. Also, why not try a platter with a selection of Manchego cheeses for 13 ?.

For dinner, Ignacio Prado, the man in charge, has recommended to us the Chicken Salad with Moscatel for 7.20 ? or the Octopus Salad for 6.80 ?. To finish off the evening, why not try one of their alcoholic shots to help the digestion or have a glass of wine at their charming wine cellar “La Bodeguilla”.


Javier, the shoeshine man

It worth mentioning that just by the door of Caf? Central, you will find Se?or Javier Castano. His outfit from the 50s and the whole area where he works will transport you to another place. Javier is an industrial draftsman who was forced to start in the shoeshine business because of the economic crisis. He charges around 5 ? for his service. If you ask me, I would say that he is more like a PR for Caf? Central as he loves to talk to anyone who comes along to write about the place. He is also really into Social Media, and you can even visit his website ( or follow him on Twitter at @limpiabotas_es

How to get there

Caf? Central is located in the historical centre of Malaga (Plaza de la Constituci?n, 11, postal code 29015). Find them on Twitter at @CentralMalaga.

It is open all year long, from 9am until 2 in the morning.

On your next trip to Malaga you could visit Caf? Central and practise remembering what kind of coffee you have to order (without peeking)!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.