Barraquito: Would you like a cup of terms?


i-ate-logoThere are many coffee enthusiasts who are willing to taste all kinds of coffee and learn everything about the coffee plant, which indeed has many nutritional characteristics. Of all its possible incarnations, drinking coffee is definitely the most popular way to consume it, and who does not know espresso, cappuccino, cortado, bombĂłn, or… barraquito?   Barraquito or barraco is a kind of coffee characteristic of the Canary Islands. The term does not appear in the Diccionario de la Lengua Española, but according to the Academia Canaria de la Lengua, barraquito is a ‘cortado coffee – coffee mixed with milk – with natural as well as condensed milk, with an addition of some liquor, lemon peel, and cinnamon’.

There are two main theories about the origins of barraquito. The most widely accepted one tells the story about a restaurant in Santa Cruz, the capital city of the island of Tenerife, where a man started asking for a coffee with milk and liquor. Then a new product was created, and named after his nickname, El Barraquito – may it be the diminutive of barrica, ‘wine barrel’, because he liked liquor? Other sources claim that it was a barman in the port of the previously mentioned city who decided to create something new to offer to the artists and travellers who came there.

  Barraquito is commonly served in a medium tall transparent glass, and the original recipe includes: coffee, natural milk, condensed milk, cinnamon, lemon peel, and liquor, and it should be prepared as follows: first put the condensed milk in a glass, and then add the coffee and pour the liquor. Then froth the milk and add it, along with a small piece of lemon peel – without the white bitter part. Finally, sprinkle some cinnamon on the top. Indeed, the traditional presentation may remind us of a very famous place on the island of Tenerife: the volcano El Teide, especially when it is white, and a particular corner of it: an overlook called la Tarta (‘cake’). Maybe they got the inspiration here, as a proof of the close relationship between culture (context) and language (materialization).
… equals this!

The barraquito we present here is the basic version. Other than that, we can also find the zaperoco (with extra liquor), or the leche y leche (without liquor), as well as some types of coffee characteristic of many other parts of Spain. If you are interested in this topic, you are invited to read one of our recent I·ATE posts about Turkish coffee, and you definitely must take a look at our Glossary Links section, where we have included some glossaries on coffee.

Written by Ana Bennasar

Terminology trainee at TermCoord


– Academia Canaria de la Lengua: ‘Barraquito‘.

– El DĂ­a, GastronomĂ­a: ‘Un buen barraquito para empezar El DĂ­a‘, 2002.

– Real Academia Española: Diccionario de la Lengua Española, ‘Barrica‘.

– TermCoord: ‘Coffee and… Politics: The Battle for “Turkish coffee”‘, 2016.

– Web Tenerife, GastronomĂ­a: ‘Barraquito receta para hacer el mejor barraquito del mundo‘, 2013.

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