spanish coffee

I will never forget my first visit to Espresso Royale Cafe (Dinkytown location). It was the middle of February, I’m sure I couldn’t feel my fingers and North Face jacket or not, it was one of those chilling-to-the-bone days. For those of you who live in warm climates, I don’t mean 20° F, I mean -40°. But for that particular few hours, the temperature didn’t bother me, in fact, I doubt I even thought about it. I was 17 and had just finished what would be my final college tour. I knew right then and there this was where I needed to be. I would worry about getting accepted later, I was going to be a Gopher.

The decision was made right then and there, over a hot drink with my parents. I don’t remember what I drank that February afternoon, but that would be the first of many drinks at Espresso Royale Cafe. It was my favorite place to study and I will always think of it as my spot.

I first had this drink at Espresso Royale and it has been a favorite ever since. I think every coffee shop has a slightly different name/origin for it, but Espresso Royale calls it Spanish so that is what I use. (Thai would be my #2 choice based on the sole fact that I love Thai food) It consists of coffee and sweetened condensed milk – exactly why it is treat. Sweetened condensed milk isn’t exactly good for you, but at 120 calories, it beats a 500 calorie Frappuccino anyday!

Dunn Bros has introduced iced coffee growlers and it sounded like too much fun to pass up. So on a recent 95° day, a mere 135° difference, I knew just what I needed to have.

Only this time it was most certainly iced.

Spanish Coffee – 2 servings

  • 2 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 oz strong iced coffee

Mix the milk and coffee together until well combined. Add a few ice cubes if desired.


  1. says

    Oh good gracious. I drank a lot of sweet and condensed milk coffee in malaysia and probably gained 10 pounds from the amount I knocked back! It’s so good and comforting though, isn’t it? Ahh Minnesota winters…how we love you!

  2. says

    I know exactly what you mean when you say you’ll always think of it as “my spot”. For me, that’s the Dunn Bros in Linden Hills (and yes – I succumbed to buying one of those growlers too). On camps, I end up buying coffee most often from the rec (which is *terrible*, but at least caffeinated), or Java City in Moos Towers. :)

    • Emily says

      Ohhhh, so many memories!! BF and I rented those green bikes the other night and rode around campus. I love the U of M. hehe.

  3. says

    Gosh, I remember Dunn Bros. When I lived in the Twin Cities – 15 years ago, there were only about 2 locations.
    I love the idea of sweetened condensed milk in iced coffee, since I like my iced coffee sweet and creamy. :-)

  4. says

    I’m not sure what type of coffee they use in the Vietnamese version of this (because it is SUPER strong) but I love it with sweetened condensed milk. I would always pass on bubble tea in Chinatown for the iced coffee.

  5. says

    Wonder why they call it SPANISH? This coffee is so similar to the ones in Southeast asia by using sweetened condensed milk. I love that stuff, it’s like crack!

  6. says

    you had me at coffee! i haven’t tried s.c. milk in my coffee before but bet it is yummy. i have coveting the dunns growlers all summer but didn’t buy as i felt it would be cheating on my coffee shop. nothing stopping me now tho!

  7. says

    i’m with kate, i’ve never tried sweetened condensed milk in my coffee but i will have to try it out and thanks to you i am not craving dun bros (even though i treated myself to some caribou caffeine this morning!).

  8. says

    Thai iced coffee WAS my life in Thailand. there was this local shop that served the best I’ve ever had…in fact, now you have me dreaming of it…

    I think they used espresso + condensed milk, which certainly means I drank my fair share of fat, calories and deliciousness :)

  9. says

    I have many fond memories of coffee in Dinkytown. I LOVED the monster syle cookies that they used to sell at the old Purple Onion (I don’t know if they sell them any more). I like to drink my coffee black or sometimes with steamed milk. This post, however, transports me to Spain – my host mother always prepared strong coffee and then added tons of sweetened condensed milk. I am not sure if it was Spain or the coffee but I remember it as total bliss.

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