Coffee break-time here is a bit of a religious experience regardless of the business or work environment you are employed in. I would probably compare it to the Happy Hour festivities we partake in the states. Let me explain. I know it sounds confusing but it is probably one of the few traditions that Spaniards and Americans have in common, but the Spaniards have taken it to all new heights as is their nature.
Regardless of your work environment in Spain, there is a an early morning break that everyone participates in and almost appears to be mandatory through an unspoken rule that is known to everyone. In the school where I teach, the coffee break-time is usually when my coworkers take the opportunity to catch up on what they did the previous weekend and discuss work issues, but most importantly the break allows everyone to establish and reinforce coworker comradery.
I quickly learned last year that if you want any chance to make friends here in Spain, you have to participate in coffee break-time. Everyone knows I am not really a fan of coffee partially because my doctor says I am not allowed to have it because of a particular medical condition I have. The irony for me is the Spanish are fervent coffee aficionados. Coffee break-time, on several occasions, has served as an icebreaker between my colleagues and me and is responsible for getting me several invitations to other events including an invitation to take trips to fellow teachers’ hometowns. Coffee break-time is also responsible for landing me other job opportunities in the form of providing private English lessons.
Coffee break-time consists of more than just coffee. It is usually a very light breakfast that includes pastries, coffee, toast and jam. We Americans would basically refer to this as a continental breakfast. Local coffee shops happily accommodate this customary morning tradition. Most (if not all) coffee shops here offer a serving of coffee with a bolleria (pastry) at a usual fixed price between 2.20-2.50 . Not bad if you are a baller on a budget!
So even if you’re not much of a coffee drinker like yours truly, have an alternative like hot coco and participate in the tradition and see where the experience will lead. I, for one, am sold on this tradition.