We Brew Coffee

Discovering Portugal’s Sweet and Strong Bica Coffee

Portugal’s Sweet Espresso – Bica Coffee

If you’re a fan of coffee, you’ve probably tried different types of espresso coffee before. From the classic Italian espresso to the bold and smooth Americano, there are many types of espresso coffee from around the world that you can enjoy.

However, did you know that Portugal has its own unique espresso coffee called Bica Coffee?

Origins of Bica Coffee

Bica Coffee, also known as Caf Com Cheirinho, is a popular espresso coffee in Portugal that has its origins in Lisbon. The name “Bica” comes from the word “bica de gua,” which means “a drop of water” in Portuguese.

It is believed that the name was given to the coffee because it is a small quantity of coffee, just like a drop of water.

How to Make Bica Coffee

To make Bica Coffee, an Arabica-Robusta blend is used. The coffee beans are ground and then placed in an espresso machine to extract the coffee.

The extraction volume is the main difference between Portuguese and Italian espresso. In Portugal, the volume is typically shorter than in Italy, making the espresso more concentrated.

Additionally, the roasting process of the coffee beans is also different in Portugal compared to Italy, giving Bica Coffee a more unique flavor profile. Once the coffee is extracted, it’s time to add some Portuguese liquor, such as aguardente or brandy, to the coffee.

The liquor helps to enhance the flavor of the coffee and add a new twist to the beverage. Finally, sugar is added to the coffee to balance out the flavors, making a sweet and smooth espresso.

Difference Between Portuguese and Italian Espresso

One of the major differences between Portuguese and Italian espresso is the type of beans used. In Italy, the coffee beans used to make espresso are typically 100% Arabica, whereas in Portugal, a blend of Arabica and Robusta is used.

This blend gives Portuguese espresso a more intense and rich flavor profile. Another major difference is the roasting process of the coffee beans.

In Portugal, the coffee beans are roasted darker than in Italy, creating a more robust and flavorful coffee. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the extraction volume of the coffee is shorter in Portugal, making the espresso more concentrated than Italian espresso.

Other Portuguese Coffee Specialties

While Bica Coffee may be the most popular espresso coffee in Portugal, there are other coffee specialties worth mentioning. Galao Coffee, which translates to “milk coffee,” is a popular coffee drink in Portugal.

It’s similar to a latte, but with more milk than coffee. It’s typically served in a tall glass with a layer of foam on top.

Pingado Coffee, which translates to “drip coffee,” is an espresso shot with a splash of milk. It’s the perfect drink for those who love a strong coffee with a touch of creaminess.

There are many other types of coffee in Portugal, including favorite coffee types like Carioca, Meia de Leite, and Mazagran. In conclusion, if you’re a coffee lover, you should definitely try Bica Coffee and other Portuguese coffee specialties when you’re in Portugal.

Not only are they delicious, but they also offer a unique and different flavor profile than other types of espresso coffee. So, next time you’re in search of a sweet and intense espresso, try Bica Coffee.

Global Espresso Variations

Espresso coffee is a popular coffee type worldwide, and different parts of the world have their own unique espresso variations. Here are some of the most popular espresso variations globally.

Cafe Cubano – This espresso drink originated in Cuba and is made by adding sugar to the espresso shot while it’s being brewed. It creates a rich and sweet espresso that’s perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

Cafe Bombon – This Spanish coffee drink is made by pouring condensed milk into the espresso shot. The result is a sweet and creamy espresso that’s perfect for those who love a sweeter coffee.

Turkish Coffee – This espresso drink is popular in the Middle East and parts of Europe. It’s made by adding finely ground coffee beans to a pot of water and boiling it on a stove.

The result is a strong and bold coffee with a thick layer of foam on top.

Mazagran Coffee

Mazagran coffee is a popular iced coffee drink that originated in Algeria but gained popularity in Portugal. It’s made by combining Bica coffee, honey, and lemon juice, and is typically served with a splash of rum.

The result is a sweet and tangy coffee that’s perfect for hot summer days. This coffee drink has a fascinating history.

It was first prepared for French soldiers that were fighting in Algeria in the 1800s. It was named Mazagran after a battle that the French army won in the area.

After the soldiers returned to France, they brought this delicious coffee recipe with them, and it became popular throughout Europe.

Definition of Bica

Bica coffee is a popular espresso coffee variation in Portugal. It’s typically served in a demitasse cup and has a hazelnut-colored cream on top.

Bica coffee has a smooth and sharp flavor profile with balanced notes of acidity and sweetness. The term “Bica” is believed to have been coined in the Lisbon area.

The Bica is used as a synonym for espresso coffee, and the drink is considered an intrinsic part of Lisbon and Portuguese culture.

How to Order Bica Coffee in Portugal

If you’re visiting Portugal and want to try Bica coffee, it’s essential to know how to order it correctly. The locals refer to Bica coffee as “Caf Com Cheirinho,” which translates to “coffee with a little extra aroma or smell.”

To order Bica coffee, you should say “Uma bica, por favor,” which means, “One Bica, please.” You can also ask for “Caf Com Cheirinho” or “Caf Pingado,” which is coffee served with a little bit of milk.

If you’re unsure about how to order Bica coffee, you can always check out YouTube videos for helpful tips from local baristas.


Espresso coffee is a robust and delicious type of coffee that’s enjoyed by people all over the world. Whether you prefer a classic Italian espresso or a sweet and tangy Mazagran coffee, the variations of espresso coffee are endless.

If you’re visiting Portugal, be sure to try Bica coffee, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re unsure how to order it. In summary, espresso coffee is a popular and diverse beverage worldwide with unique variations in different parts of the world.

Portugal’s Bica Coffee stands out with its Arabica-Robusta blend, shorter extraction volume, and the addition of Portuguese liquor and sugar. Additionally, there are other Portuguese coffee specialties, including Galao Coffee and Pingado Coffee.


Mazagran Coffee originated in Algeria but became popular in Portugal with its unique blend of honey, lemon juice, and rum added to Bica coffee. Lastly, knowing how to order Bica coffee in Portugal is essential while traveling.

From the rich history to the different variations, espresso coffee continues to be an intimate part of the world’s culture and a must-try for any coffee lover.

Popular Posts