Bica (coffee)

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Café Delta.jpg
A Bica coffee by Delta Cafés
Place of originPortugal
Main ingredientsLight roast coffee beans, water

Bica is the term commonly used in certain areas of Portugal for a "café" (coffee in Portuguese) that is similar to espresso,[1] but extracted to a greater volume than its Italian counterpart (akin to a lungo in Italy) and a little bit smoother in taste, due to the Portuguese roasting process being slightly lighter than the Italian one.

In almost all regions in Portugal, it is simply called 'um café' (a coffee in Portuguese) and always served in a Demitasse cup.

The name bica originates from the way the coffee flows, falling from the espresso machine to the cup on the tray,[2] an analogy with a water spring or fountain, both can also be called bica in Portuguese.


A Brasileira in 1911, before its 1920s Art Deco renovation.

The A Brasileira coffeehouse was opened by Adriano Telles on 19 November 1905 at No.122 (an old shirt shop), to sell "genuine Brazilian coffee" from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, a product generally unappreciated in homes of Lisboetas of that period. In order to promote his product, Telles offered each shopper who bought a kilogram of ground coffee (for 720 réis) a free cup of coffee. It was the first shop to sell the "bica", a small cup of strong coffee, similar to espresso, with fresh goat milk from nearby farms.[3]

There's a belief among many (Lisbon) locals that states "Bica" as an acronym for "Beba isso com açúcar", which literally means "Drink that with sugar".

Outside Portugal[edit]

Following mass immigration post-World War II, Bica coffee is now served in Montreal and other centers of Portuguese migration abroad, namely Fall River, New Bedford, Toronto, and East Providence, RI.[4][failed verification]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Neves, Orlando (2001). Dicionário da origem das palavras. Lisbon: Lisboa Editorial Notícias. ISBN 9724611876.
  3. ^ "Portugal's Coffee: A Sumptuous and Delectible Treat". Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Cafe Bica". Retrieved 11 February 2015.