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Café Com Cheirinho: Portuguese Alcoholic Espresso

In case you’ve made any of our earlier recipes, you’ll know we like to be further. Whipped cream, chocolate curls, and making totally different espresso syrups from scratch—we’re all about that.

However typically, it’s good to take pleasure in a no-frills, back-to-basics drink. Enter the Portuguese café com cheirinho.

What Is Café Com Cheirinho?

Café com cheirinho is among the greatest espresso cocktails from Portugal. The direct translation of its identify from Portuguese is “Espresso with Odor,” however don’t let that put you off. It refers to the truth that café com cheirinho is made by including a little bit of wine, fruit, or pomace brandy – the odor – to Bica, Portuguese espresso.

Be taught extra about Portuguese espresso drinks on this video:

The café com cheirinho is often loved as a digestive after a heavy meal, much like the Portuguese Galao or the Mexican carajillo. However when you’ve got room, these fashionable espresso drinks are additionally nice with conventional desserts, like a bolo de amendoa or a pastéis de nata.

Sort of Espresso Utilized in Café com Cheirinho

Café com cheirinho is historically made utilizing Portuguese bica espresso. Bica is much like an espresso however with better quantity, extra like an Italian lungo. Portuguese baristas most frequently use a darkish or medium roast mix of Arabica and Robusta beans for the brew.

The Robusta espresso beans present depth and an additional caffeine enhance, and the Arabica lends delicacy and nuance to the cup.

Café com cheirinho can be made with sturdy brewed espresso as you’d get from an Aeropress or Moka pot. Sweeteners, milk, or cream are by no means added.

Forms of Alcohol Utilized in a Café com Cheirinho

The most typical alcohol selections are aguardente bagaceira, aguardente de medronhos, or wine. Aguardente is a generic Portuguese time period for sturdy spirits; the direct translation is firewater. The alcohol may be added to the espresso or, much less generally, served alongside.

Richard Thomas, a contributor at Chilled Journal, explains the enchantment of Portuguese aguardente (1).

The wines behind these Portuguese spirits are usually fairly drinkable in and of themselves, so it’s guess that even an unaged aguardente will likely be superior to a comparable brandy.

Aguardente Bagaceira

Aguardente bagaceira is utilized in most cafes to make café com cheirinho. Aguardente bagaceira is made with grape pomace, which is the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes after they’ve been pressed for wine.

Aguardente de Medronhos

Aguardente de medronhos is one other fashionable selection for café com cheirinho. It’s comprised of fermented medronho berries. Resembling strawberries, these fruits are picked, mashed, and stored humid till they ferment (2). The ensuing liquid is distilled to a high-quality spirit. There may be little nationwide regulation, so aguardente de medronho may be anyplace from 42% to 56% alcohol by quantity.

Closing Ideas

In case you’re in search of a back-to-basics digestive after a heavy meal, the café com cheirinho may hit the spot. With scorching brewed espresso and “firewater” spirits, it’s a heat and comfy approach to wind down the day.

Have you ever tried café com cheirinho? Tell us your ideas by dropping a remark under or in our House Grounds Fb group.


One of the best brewing technique for café com cheirinho is an espresso machine. However in the event you don’t have one at house, any sturdy brewed espresso will work. An Aeropress, Moka pot, or French press can produce a suitably sturdy cup.

Sure, you should use different varieties of liqueurs or spirits. Although aguardente bagaceira and aguardente de medronho are the standard selections, don’t be afraid to experiment and use what you want. You’ll be able to craft an uncommon and scrumptious café com cheirinho by pairing the alcohol with the flavour profile of the espresso.

Sure, you’ll be able to garnish the café com cheirinho with whipped cream, although it isn’t conventional. You gained’t discover it served this manner in Portugal. In order for you a candy deal with, a extra genuine possibility is to pair your café com cheirinho with a creamy dessert.

  1. Thomas, R. (2020, July 9). Get to Know Aguardente, Portuguese Hearth Water. Chilled Journal.
  2. Medronho – Portugal’s native firewater. (2021, March 19).


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