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The Waka Life Blog

How to Order Your Local Cup of Coffee in Different Languages

Planning your next trip abroad or just practicing your linguistic skills? We created this list so you will always know how to order your cup of coffee no matter where you are.

We can't imagine a trip anywhere without knowing how to order our cup of joe (or instant coffee), so we made it easier for you to ask what you want to order. Also, as a bonus we added a local drink you can actually order using that language!

Spanish (Café)

How to order a coffee in ten languages

Depending on what part of the world you’re in, you might be interested in trying a few different Latin cultural delights. For example, one of the most popular drinks in Mexico is a beverage known as Cafe de Olla. It’s made by brewing coffee with cinnamon sticks and piloncillo (a sort of solid cone made of unrefined sugar). The way to order it in Spanish is like this: “¿Puedo conseguir una copa de café de olla?”

Another great Latin American drink is a Cafe Cubano - which is basically a sweetened shot of espresso. It’s the very definition of sweet and simple. The way to get it, is to ask your barista: “¿Puedo conseguir un café cubano?” 

Mandarin 咖啡 (Kāfēi)

Do You Know How to Say Coffee in Different Languages?

It might come as a surprise to you but, the International Coffee Organization estimated that China is producing more coffee than Kenya and Tanzania, as of 2016. While this tea drinking nation has not only increased its interest in coffee, it has upped its hospitality to famous international coffee roasters and chains. According to the ICO’s research, China’s coffee drinkers are unique in that they use coffee for moments of self reflection and indulgence. While in other nations, coffee is renowned for being a “social drink.”  

So, without further ado, if you happen to be in an area where Mandarin (China’s national language) is the predominant form of communication and you’re looking to for a nice cup of joe, all you need to say to the person at the register is: “nǐ hǎo! wǒ yào yī bēi kā fēi.” Because of the increasing popularity of international coffee chains across the nation, you will have no problem ordering your regular Americano or Frappe in one of China's coffee shops.

Italian (caffè)

The word “Coffee” in Different Languages

While most of the classics on a coffee shop menu are traditional Italian beverages, there are still a few things left to be explored when seeking an authentic Italian coffee experience. Different regions of Italy advertise different coffee beverages crafted with an assortment of varied spices. For example, in Le Marche, there is a beverage known as Caffè Corretto; which features anise flavored espresso. And in the south of Sicily, Caffè d’un Parrinu is inspired by Arabian spices and therefore, is made with cinnamon, cloves, and chocolate. But, to keep things nice and simple, you would say “Buongiorno, un caffè per favore” for your Italian coffee order. 

Arabic قهوة (qahwa)

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You may already be familiar with Turkish coffee, but did you know about the different styles it can be made? In the Arab speaking world, this style of coffee is referred to as “qahwah” and can be prepared in a number of ways. For example, in Saudi Arabia, the coffee is prepared (roasted, ground, and brewed) only when there is company to serve it to. Then, the coffee is blended with a number of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, clove, or saffron. Traditional Turkish coffee is made with unfiltered, fine coffee grounds, sugar, and spices.

To order it, you would say: “mrhbaan, 'awad alhusul ealaa qahwat wahidat sahlat.”

French (café)

What is the Latin name for coffee?

One of the most popular coffee classics is the acclaimed “cafe au lait”, from France. This drink is a warm beverage comprised of half black coffee and half steamed milk. Like the Italians, the French enjoy pairing a pastry with their coffees. So, they typically serve this particular beverage in a larger cup for coffee lovers to dip their pastry into it.

To order one, you would say: “Un café au lait, s'il vous plaît.”

German (kaffee)

learn how to say coffee in different languages

While coffee may not be as popular in Germany, it definitely won over the people of Austria. “Wiener Mélange” is similar to a cappuccino except, there tends to be less milk in it and it sometimes comes topped with whipped cream and cocoa powder. If you were ever interested in tasting the difference for yourself, you would simply need to ask your barista: “Darf ich eine Wiener Mélange probieren?”

Vietnamese (cà phê)

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The writer's personal favorite here -- Vietnamese coffee. Hot or iced, this stuff is a MUST. Cà phê sữa đá and cà phê đá, are traditional Vietnamese dark roasts brewed through a French drip over a cup of condensed milk. We promise, it tastes as amazing as it sounds. But, don’t take our word for it. To order one for yourself, simply ask: “Tôi có thể có một tách cà phê đá?”

Greek καφές (kafés)

learn how to ask for coffee in different languages

We all love a good frappe - especially here at Waka because of its interesting history. Did you know the first frappe was invented in 1957 at the International Trade Fair in Thessaloniki using iced instant coffee and milk foam? As we’re sure you know by now, we’re all for mixing iced instant coffee into unconventional drink recipes. And as it turns out, Greeks are too! Ever since then, Frappe is among the most popular drinks in Greece and is available at almost all Greek cafés. To get one of these tasty originals for yourself, ask your barista this: “Boró na écho éna frappe?”

Japanese コーヒー (Kōhī)

how to ask for coffee when traveling

Japan is also making some room for coffee beverages, despite its longstanding history of being a tea drinking nation. Japanese coffee beverages are as modern as the the consumers who drink it. “Flash-chilled” coffee is almost exactly like your standard pour over coffee, only the coffee is brewed directly over ice. To order one, say: “Aisukōhī o 1tsu itadakemasu ka?

Another interesting fact is that Japan is also the number one country for consuming instant coffee per capitawith the average consumption being 1.1 kg in 2019 (Statista).


make delicious instant coffee

You might think we’re cheating with this one, but the coffee options in Western culture seem almost limitless. All we’re saying is, no one here would judge you if you happened to be a little lost in knowing what to try next in an English speaking nation, where the choices seemed endless.

With the holiday season coming up, you can never go wrong with a good, old fashioned, American mocha. Mochas are perfect because while they remain a staple of American coffee culture, they are versatile and easy to mix and match with other flavors. For example, raspberry white mochas and caramel mochas are wonderful holiday takes on this staple drink and can be served hot, iced, or blended for any of your coffee needs. If you prefer getting your coffee fast and on the go, consider making your favorite instant coffee!


No matter how you ask for it, try our quality instant coffee here.