Portuguese coffee

Why Portuguese coffee so good?

Any coffee lover who has traveled in Portugal knows that nothing makes Pastel de nata go down better than a good cup of coffee–uma bica in Lisbon or um cimbalino in Porto. But do you know why this is?

The Back-story. The country’s coffee-drinking habit was imported from Brazil, as was artisanal coffee-making, now a global phenomenon. During decades of relative economic isolation under the Salazar regime, Portugal sourced virtually all of its coffee from its colonies. The beans were Robusta, which ingrained in most people an enjoyment of strong, bitter coffee. During decades of relative economic isolation under the Salazar regime, Portugal sourced virtually all of its coffee from its colonies. The beans were Robusta, which ingrained in most people an enjoyment of strong, bitter coffee. According to many people, Bica, the term used in Lisbon for a cup of coffee reflects this: B (Beba) I (isto) C (com) A (açucar), or “Drink this with sugar”! The “cimbalino“ term came from the first espresso machines in Portugal, which were branded, “La Cimbali”. Therefore, cimbalino means “little cimbali”. There are a number of explanations for the term, but we like this one best.

Into our days. The traditional Portuguese coffee brands– Christina (under the Nestle umbrella) – practice a slow roasting of coffee beans that differs from the Italian method. Slow roasting at low temperatures, a blending of Arabica and Robusta beans and brewing with higher water pressure conspire to produce a distinctly Portuguese cup of coffee. Portuguese coffee culture brings people together. “Let’s go for a coffee” is a Portuguese tradition.