Typical Tenerife coffee: the little-known differences between ‘barraquito’ and ‘zaperoco’

These two typical Tenerife drinks, often thought to be the same, are authentic works of art.

At the heart of Tenerife’s gastronomy, two drinks capture the essence of the local culture and flavour: the barraquito and the zaperoco. Although both are typical coffees of the island, they have distinctive characteristics that set them apart. This very question has been posed to followers by the popular social media profile Guachinches Modernos de Tenerife.

Originally from Tenerife, the barraquito is more than just a coffee; it is a layered work of art that delights both the eye and the palate. This drink is distinguished by its intricate composition, which includes condensed milk, liqueur (usually Licor 43), espresso, frothed milk, cinnamon, and sometimes a slice of lemon on the rim of the cup. This harmonious blend of sweet and potent flavours is what makes the barraquito so special.

Typical Tenerife coffee: the little-known differences between 'barraquito' and 'zaperoco'

On the other hand, the zaperoco, though less known outside the Canary Islands, is equally impressive. Similar to the barraquito, it elevates the experience with additional ingredients such as honey, whipped cream, and different types of liqueurs, making it richer and more robust.

Typical Tenerife coffee: the little-known differences between 'barraquito' and 'zaperoco'


According to the website Guanchipedia, “the only difference between the two is the place on the island where they are served. While some islanders claim that what distinguishes the zaperoco is the amount of liquor, this characteristic varies depending on the bar and the waiter on duty.”

For instance, “from Puerto de la Cruz to Buenavista del Norte, the residents call the ‘barraquito’ a ‘zaperoco’.”

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