Cafe Galao | (A Delicious Portuguese Coffee Drink!)

As the weather cools down, there’s nothing quite like a warm and comforting drink to accompany your meals.

Let me introduce a popular coffee drink from Portugal – the Cafe Galao. It’s similar to a latte or cafe au lait and is served in a tall glass. It is also known as Portuguese Coffee in the US.

This delightful drink features a rich and smooth espresso, topped off with perfectly frothed milk. Give your taste buds a treat and indulge in this heavenly drink!

In this article, we’ll explore the rich and creamy taste of this drink, and I’ll share with you how to prepare it in the comfort of your own home. Get ready to indulge in the warm and comforting flavors of Cafe Galao!

Cafe Galao

What is Cafe Galao, AKA Portuguese Coffee

Cafe Galao is a classic coffee drink from Portugal that’s made by combining a shot of espresso with frothed milk. The name “Galao” refers to the tall glass in which it’s typically served.

Galao is a beloved coffee beverage in Portugal that offers a delectable blend of milk and coffee. With its rich, creamy, and subtly sweet taste, this popular drink is a hit among both locals and tourists and can be easily found at numerous coffee or pastry shops across Portugal.

Although the exact origins of this beloved drink are uncertain, it is said to have originated in Portugal during the 1980s. Since then, it has become a beloved staple in the country, winning coffee lovers’ hearts worldwide.

In Portugal, Cafe Galao is often a breakfast beverage, but you can enjoy it anytime. It is a delicious and comforting coffee drink that will warm you up on a cold day.

Check a list 30 different Espresso based Coffee drink

Cafe Galao Recipe

The preparation of Cafe Galao involves pouring a shot of espresso into a tall glass and then filling the glass with frothed milk. The ratio of espresso to milk can vary depending on personal preference, but it is typically served with a 1:4 or 1:5 ratio of espresso to milk.
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 90kcal
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • Espresso machine
  • Milk Frother


  • 14-16 grams Coffee Grounds Dark Roast Preferred
  • 8-10 ounces Milk Whole Milk Preferred
  • Sugar or Sweeteners According to taste


  • Start with grinding your coffee beans to fine settings and pull a double shot of Espresso with the Espresso Machine.
  • Now pour cold milk into a steaming pitcher and submerg the steam wand into the milk. Keep the wand near the bottom of the pitcher and slowly raise it as the milk starts to foam. Stop frothing, Once the milk reaches a temperature of around 150-160°F.
    If you don't have the steaming pitcher you can simply heat the milk in a saucepan and froth it in a mason jar or with thw whisk.
  • Now it's time to assemble your Galao masterpiece – pour your freshly brewed espresso into your favorite mug, add sugar or syrups (as desired), and then top it off with the frothed milk. 


And voila! You’re now ready to enjoy a delicious cup of frothy espresso that will satisfy your coffee cravings.

What is the difference between a latte and a galao?

Café Galão is essentially Portugal’s version of a latte, with a slightly higher milk-to-espresso ratio. It has a slightly higher ratio of milk to espresso, which contributes to its velvety texture and sweeter taste.

In some regions of Portugal, Cafe Galao is prepared by steaming and blending the milk and espresso together in a pitcher. This unique method creates a smooth and consistent taste and texture throughout the entire drink.

On the other hand, a latte is traditionally made by pouring steamed milk over the top of the espresso shots, resulting in a layered appearance and potentially different taste profiles.

Another way that Cafe Galao and a latte are different is in how they are served. Cafe Galao is typically served in a tall glass, which shows off its frothy appearance. A latte, on the other hand, is usually served in wide mugs with elegant latte art on the top.

Other similar Coffee drinks from Portugal

In Portugal, coffee is a big deal. You can find a Pastelaria or coffee shop on almost every corner, making it a central part of everyday life. These places are always buzzing with customers, especially in the morning.

Portugal has a variety of coffee drinks to offer, each with its own unique twist. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, it’s essential to know the most common types.

Um Café

“Um café” is a frequently used expression in Portuguese that translates to “a coffee” in English. This phrase typically refers to a small but potent shot of espresso same as Italian Espresso, which is often served in a demitasse cup.

It is typically served with a small glass of water, allowing drinkers to cleanse their palates between sips and fully savor the complex flavors of the coffee.

In Lisbon, you would ask for “uma bica” (bee-kah) whereas in Porto you would ask for “um cimbalino.” You can just ask for “um café” in either city, though, and people will know what you mean.


Meia de Leite

“Meia de leite” is a beloved coffee beverage that can be found all across Portugal. Its name literally means “half milk,” as it’s made by combining equal parts of steamed milk and coffee, resulting in a smooth and creamy taste

Whether enjoyed as a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon treat, “Meia de Leite” is a staple of Portuguese coffee culture that will warm your heart and soul.

This drink is similar to Cafe Au Lait or Cafe Misto.

Café com Cheirinho

For an unforgettable coffee experience in Portugal, be sure to try “Café com Cheirinho.” This regional favorite translates to “coffee with a little scent,” and it’s not hard to see why.

This special drink is made by adding a small amount of Portuguese brandy called Aguardente to a shot of espresso, creating a unique and enticing aroma and flavor

Cafe Com Cheirino is similar to Italian Espresso Corretto but with a Portuguese touch.

Café descafeinado

If you want the taste of coffee but without the caffeine, “Café Descafeinado” is the drink for you. It’s popular in Portugal and made with decaf coffee beans, so it won’t give you the jitters or make you feel anxious.

Another tip for those who take their coffee temperature seriously, there is a hack in Portugal: you can request a “Chávena Quente” or hot cup, to keep your drink warm for a longer period.

Um café duplo

“Um café duplo” is a Portuguese phrase that translates to “a double espresso” that packs a powerful punch of caffeine and intense flavors.

Um Garoto

“Um Garoto” is a coffee drink that is popular in Portugal. It is made by combining espresso with foamed milk and is similar to a cappuccino.

Garoto means kid in Portuguese as this was the coffee kids drank before they were allowed to have a proper coffee.


Um Café Mazagran

“Um café mazagran” is a refreshing coffee drink that originated in Algeria but is also popular in Portugal.

It is typically made with cold black coffee, lemon juice, and sugar, and served over ice in a tall glass. Some variations may also include rum or a dash of brandy.

Final Thoughts on Cafe Galao

I hope after reading this article, you can confidently walk into any Portuguese Pastelaria or coffee shop and order the perfect cup of coffee to suit your taste.

In my opinion, Cafe Galao is one of the most delicious coffee drinks I’ve ever tasted. The creamy texture of the steamed milk blended with the rich and robust flavor of espresso creates the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Whenever I visit Portugal, I always make sure to order a Cafe Galao, preferably with a fresh pastry on the side. It’s the perfect beverage to start my day or to enjoy during a relaxing afternoon break.

If you’re a coffee lover, I highly recommend trying Cafe Galao when you have the chance!

Read about other popular Espresso based drinks

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.