Coffee Break Spanish Review: Not worth paying for

Join us in this Coffee Break Spanish review, which takes an in-depth look at the guided audio language learning podcast.  We’ll go into what it offers and what it doesn’t, and why we’d recommend other guided audio language programmes over this one.

Our Verdict

star
star
star
star_half
star_border

While Coffee Break Spanish is by no means bad, it doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the table. Its premium content is sorely lacking for the high price tag, and other similar programmes either offer more material or similar material for free.

That being said, the free podcasts are thorough and live up to the name; you can definitely get your Spanish lessons in, and learn a good amount of words and phrases, during your coffee break.

TL;DR Coffee Break Spanish Review

For our readers in a hurry, here are some quick pros and cons of Coffee Break Spanish: 

Pros

  • Lots of content available completely free
  • Spanish course covers everything from absolute beginner to advanced
  • Available on podcast platforms to take your learning on the go
  • Can download all content for offline access

Cons

  • On the expensive side for what little premium content is offered
  • Not hosted by a native Spanish speaker
  • Only offers European Spanish, no alternatives available
  • Website is slightly difficult to navigate

What is Coffee Break Spanish?

Coffee Break is primarily a podcast that hopes to teach you languages through guided audio lessons. Think of something along the lines of Pimsleur, and you’ll find Coffee Break very similar. 

Coffee Break offers courses in several different languages, including French, German and Italian. Today, we’ll be focusing on the Spanish course, since it covers the most ground out of almost all of the programmes they offer.

What Can You Do on Coffee Break Spanish?

Coffee Break Spanish Podcast

The Coffee Break Spanish podcast is the meat and potatoes of the programme. Like other popular Spanish podcasts, the podcast has one instructor and one student. The instructor leads the lesson, usually breaking down the day’s topic into smaller, more digestible points. 

The student then repeats the words back, and the lesson proceeds from there. The narrator pauses often to give you time to think and answer the questions. 

Each lesson is about 10 to 15 minutes long. The audio quality isn’t terrible, but especially in earlier podcasts, it’s not great. You’ll often hear, what sounds like, recordings done outside, or without a breath diffuser, so you get sharp puffs of air directly into the microphone. 

Little issues like this make the programme feel a tad unprofessional. For free content, that sort of complaint is nitpicky, we admit. However, when you're paying for it, it can get a little frustrating.

Coffee Break Academy

If guided audio lessons alone aren’t enough to get you comfortably speaking Spanish, you could explore Coffee Break Academy. Each “season,” or course, offers you video and audio lessons. Additionally, you’ll get some bonus audio and notes to accompany the lesson. 

The problem with the premium content is that it’s the exact same content that’s offered for free, with only a few extra bells and whistles. The previously mentioned audio quality issues aren’t addressed, and the video is essentially a PowerPoint presentation that has been overlaid on the podcast audio. 

The notes are a nice addition, and genuinely rather helpful. They go into detail about the words and phrases you’re learning from the podcast and explain in more detail how and when you might use them. 

The premium content also comes with bonus audio. These bonus lessons include musical memorisation tools to help you consolidate and remember words. It’s meant to both reinforce the lessons as well as give you the opportunity to test yourself. 

If you find you’re struggling to remember the lessons, these bonus audio lessons are excellent for going back and reviewing. That way, you don’t have to sit through the entire lesson again.

What Does Coffee Break Spanish Look Like?

For podcasts, Coffee Break Spanish couldn’t be simpler to use. Simply go to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify, search Coffee Break Spanish, and select the programme. You can search for whichever level you need by clicking on the seasons and proceeding from there.

For the online course, however, it’s a little more complicated. There's no mobile app for Coffee Break, and the website itself is a little difficult to navigate if you click on the wrong tab. Clicking on Coffee Break Academy takes you into all of their available courses, but it doesn’t filter them by language. You have to use the search bar in order to do that. 

We recommend you scroll down on the home page and select Spanish from the “flavours” menu. That way you’ll be directed to the courses only for Spanish, and you won’t have to sift through dozens of programmes.

Who is Coffee Break Spanish Best For?

If you haven’t got a whole lot of time to sit down and study, Coffee Break Spanish could be a great fit for you. You can listen to the lessons anywhere; at work, during your commute, at the gym, you name it. The podcasts are available to download for offline listening or you can use your smartphone’s podcast service.

However, if you’re a visual learner, or prefer to have lots of supplementary materials, Coffee Break Spanish may not be the best choice. The premium content is good, but it’s nothing extraordinary. For the cost, you could get a lot more with other programmes. 

What Languages Does Coffee Break Spanish Offer?

We mentioned before that we were only focusing on Spanish for the sake of this review. But Coffee Break does offer courses in other languages; they’re just not all quite as expansive as the Spanish course. The other courses they offer are: 

Coffee Break also offers two courses for children in French and Spanish.

How Much Does Coffee Break Spanish Cost?

The podcast episodes themselves are completely free to listen to. Simply click on the podcast, play the lesson you want, and you’re off to the races.

If the podcasts aren’t enough and you'd like some supplementary materials to use alongside, the courses are $124 per “season.” Each season is roughly equivalent to a single level in Spanish. There are bundle options for your convenience, as well as other supplementary materials for purchase. But for the core program, you’re looking at about $390 for the whole Spanish course, from beginner to advanced.

While there isn’t exactly a free trial of Coffee Break Spanish, each course does offer a preview of what the full programme offers. That way you can get an idea of what to expect in each course before you spend the money.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these prices are all one-time payments. Coffee Break does not offer a subscription model for any of its programmes. You can purchase the programmes directly either in US dollars or in British pounds. If your currency is different from either of these, you’ll be subject to additional taxes on the product.

What are the Pros and Cons of Coffee Break Spanish?

Pros

  • Lots of content available completely free
  • Spanish course covers everything from absolute beginner to advanced
  • Available on podcast platforms to take your learning on the go
  • Can download all content for offline access

Cons

  • On the expensive side for what little premium content is offered
  • Not hosted by a native Spanish speaker
  • Only offers European (Spain) Spanish, no alternatives available
  • Website is slightly complicated to navigate

Are There Any Coffee Break Spanish Alternatives?

Coffee Break Spanish vs. Bite Size Spanish

Coffee Break Spanish claims to teach you Spanish in short lessons, but the lessons tend to run anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes. Bite Size Spanish cuts it down even further into conversations that are less than a minute long but pack quite the punch! Plus, it features native speakers, something that Coffee Break Spanish does not. And it’s more affordable, to boot. 

Check out the Bite Size Languages page to learn more!

Coffee Break Spanish vs. News in Slow Spanish

If you are a fan of guided audio language learning, you might want to check out News in Slow Spanish. Where News in Slow differs from Coffee Break Spanish is that it is conducted entirely in Spanish, and offers full lesson transcripts rather than just accompanying notes.

That said, it’s aimed at people who have a little bit of Spanish study under their belts, and isn’t a substitute for traditional language learning. Coffee Break Spanish hopes to teach you fluency and tries to stand on its own as a language programme. 

Coffee Break Spanish vs. Language Transfer

Language Transfer is another great guided audio programme that wants to get you thinking in Spanish, not just memorising words. All of its content is completely free, though it doesn’t offer any supplementary materials. It does, however, have its own dedicated app, and the lessons are also available on Soundcloud. No extra downloads, no extra fees, no extra headache.

You can read more about what we think of this program in our Language Transfer Review.

A Round-up of Our Coffee Break Spanish Review  

If we were looking at just the podcast, we’d give Coffee Break Spanish a solid four out of five stars. The explanations are concise and the pronunciations are clear, even if the instructor isn’t a native speaker. The amount of ground the podcast covers makes it great for learners of all skill levels. the fact that the podcasts are available for free is even better. 

Where it lacks is in the premium content. We just can’t justify the cost of the programme for what little you get by paying the extra money. A handful of notes, what amounts to a powerpoint presentation over the free audio, and some extra reviews? Other programmes offer more material for less money. So save the money and stick with the free podcast, or find other programmes to suit your needs.