Season 1 – Lesson 01 – Coffee Break Spanish

Welcome to Coffee Break Spanish! In lesson 1 of this first season, you’ll learn to say “hello” and ask people how they’re feeling, using simple, easy-to-learn phrases. Please note that lesson 01 of Season 1 was originally known as lesson 101 of Coffee Break Spanish. We have renumbered the lessons of each season as lessons 1-40 to make things more simple for our listeners.

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Access this lesson and all future lessons of Coffee Break Spanish automatically by subscribing to the podcast. You can access the podcast on your computer, tablet or phone using the appropriate links below.

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The premium version of Coffee Break Spanish Season 1 provides additional materials which will help you move forward more effectively with your Spanish studies. These are available on the Coffee Break Academy.

Video lessons

Listen to each lesson and see the words and phrases covered in the lesson displayed on the screen of your computer, phone or tablet.

Bonus audio

Use our review lessons to practise the language covered in the main lesson, and to pick up some useful bonus vocabulary.

Lesson notes

Study the language of each lesson in greater detail and access additional information about Spanish in our comprehensive lesson notes.

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116 thoughts on “Season 1 – Lesson 01 – Coffee Break Spanish”

  1. How can you access archive podcasts beginning from lesson 46? I’ve been working my way through the archives, but now all that’s available is Lesson 1 and from October 2008. I really appreciate your show and want to keep learning.

    • Assuming you have itunes installed, click on the itunes link for any of the lessons, you will be taken to the itunes podcast menu, click on coffee break Spanish and all 46 podcasts are there

  2. @Michael – you can! Follow the iTunes link below the episode and then subscribe (for free) to the podcast in iTunes. Then sync your iPod with iTunes and you should have the latest episode. Click on “Get all” in iTunes to get the episodes back to lesson 1.

    • Hi Mark – I’ve been listening to the podcasts for about 2 months now. I’m through to lesson 59 at this point. I’ve taught myself over the years with books, tapes, CDs and software. You’re podcasts (on my iPod) are such a convenient way to refresh my learnings on my way to work in the mornings. I especially value your friendly voice…it’s clear that you know what you’re doing when your teaching…you have a true gift. Often times, a concept that I’m already aware of finally “clicks” when I hear your explanation on the subject. For example, how tocar means “to touch” and “to play (an instrument)”. Thank you so much, and I wish you much success.

      Tricia Burke
      New Jersey, USA

  3. Hi – Just started with coffee break spanish and totally sold it to my friend by word of mouth… but she has a different mp3 player, not an ipod. Can it be downloaded just onto computer, or does it have to be itunes?

    • Sarah,
      I listen to Coffee Break Spanish on my computer, so it must be possible. I use the iTunes link. Mark’s answer to Michael explains it a bit, and I think there are more complete instructions on the “Coffee Break Spanish Step by Step” box on the home page. If your friend doesn’t have iTunes, she can still hear a lesson on her computer, but she may not be able to save it. But it’s easy enough to download it again, if you want to hear it again.

      Best of luck!


  4. @Marjorie – thanks for helping out

    @Sarah – if you look at the top of this page, you should see a Download link underneath the flash player and the stars rating graphic. It says “Podcast (cbs-podcast): Download”. If your friend right-clicks on the word Download and then saves the file to her computer she’ll be able to transfer the mp3 files to her mp3 player without a problem. Hope this helps.

    • Robert >>>> Enjoying the course but have one question.
      Is it possible to remove the music intro from the podcasts in iTunes?

      If you save the MP3 files on your PC, you can listen to them and edit them in Audacity, add pauses, delete things you already know or don’t need, etc., then export them as MP3 files again. If you know how to get the new MP3s into iTunes, you’ll have what you want.
      [Google Audacity Sourceforge]

  5. my son and I just found your site. We are coming to Spain to learn spanish after he finishes highschool. Your sense of humor as well as Scots accent makes learning Spanish very enjoyable. cheers. R

  6. Gracias! This is educational and fun at the same time. And I must say, I love the theme song. I get it stuck in my head and sing it to my cats.

    Like c tang who commented above, I, too, was wondering if the text is available anywhere… I’d like to see how the words are spelled.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Nicole and Salina:

      The written material is available through the Members’ Materials link near the top of this page. (Downloaded as a pdf file.)

  7. hola,
    hi to every one I m faridoon from Afghanistan, I like spanish and I have taked ur frenh class too, thnx for ur nice site radiolingua, how can I get the PDF ?
    hasta la vista

  8. I don’t like the fact of learing spanish phrases without knowing how to write them. Is there a website where I can see the phrases learned in a lesson written down??

    • What accent do you speak with now? This is an excellent way to learn the words and grammar. Castilian and Puerto Rican accents are very different, but if you learn this much, you’ll pick up on the accent on your own.

    • I agree with you, I am Spanish (learning English)
      An English friend of mine is learning Spanish from this site
      And the first time he talked to me in Spanish I said to him, you are not from London, you are from Scotland……
      Now I understand why he pronounces the “r” like “rrrrr”.
      He is learning a wrong accent…I am afraid…
      It sounds Scottish and sometimes Russian.

  9. hey dear
    thank you somuch , about this website , i like it somuch ,
    i like to learn always new language , am albania 23 years , so i speak albanian , english , arabic and littel italian and now i gana learn all languages in this web site , that will be great .

    so good luck to everyone


  10. You people are simply the best! I have been teaching myself from books and CDs but no one has come close to the way you put things across. You make it so simple and enjoyable! Now I cant wait to get a break from work so I can listen to your invaluable lessons! Muy gracias! Hope you keep on!

  11. Hi Guys, love the site and the lessons.
    Could you tell me if there is a way of saving the lessons on my Windows phone please, it is a “HTC HD2.

    Thank you.

  12. Hi,

    I love the program. I think it is wonderful. However, i found it difficult to know the language without learning how to write it. Is there a companion program that teaches how to write/spell all that is taught?

  13. HI Mark and Kara,

    I just found these Spanish lessons online. Brillant, short, friendly and I personally love your Scottish ascents.

    Muchos gracias amigo’s. Excellente!

  14. Hi everyone, LOVE this course!! My husband is from Mexico and we live in Southern California. He listened to this with me and edited it according to the Spanish spoken in this area.

    This is for everyone who wants to know!!

    – Que tal is appropriate, but so is “como estas”
    – fatal is almost NEVER used – “muy mal’ is more appropriate for this area
    – Asking que tal back to someone sounds weird to him, always use “y tu”

  15. I’m from Venezuela spanish is my natural lenguage and “qué tal” does not mean how are you, is a way to say “what’s up”…. how are you is “cómo estás?”

  16. If (as other people have previously pointed out) “que tal?” means “what’s up?” then surely you wouldn’t be able to reply with “bien” or “muy bien”….?? Wouldn’t a better answer perhaps be “todo bien” (as in everything’s good, rather than I’m good… makes more sense to me anyways)? Or maybe instead you could change the question to “como te va?” in which case it would make more sense to reply with good, bad, etc.

  17. Hola Mark y Kara,

    Muchas gracias por las lecciones. Me encanta estudier espanol con ustedes.

    I shall have to continue in English, but you guys are doing an excellent job ! I just started taking Spanish lessons earlier this week and my friend recommended that I listen to your podcasts alongside. Although I’m only on lesson 8 so far of the podcasts, they have done me a world of good in terms of getting me used to the pronunciation and helping me revise whatever has been taught in class. Excellent job ! Mark, you switch so effortlessly from Scottish accented English to Spanish, I hope to be able to do that some day .

    Thanks again and keep up the good work !


  18. “que tal?” in Spanish from Spain means “how are you?” so the reply “bien” is appropriate. I am half- Spanish and grew up in Spain. Being also half-Puerto Rican, I understand how spanish in north and south America has changed compared to how it has changed in Spain.

  19. I followed your directions for getting all lessons back to lesson 1 on iTunes. However, it only goes back to Lesson 7. When I click on “Get All” it does nothing but open all of the 100 files to be downloaded. It does not go back to Lesson 1. How can I get Lessons 1-6?? Thanks. I am anxious to get started learning Spanish!

  20. wow!!! so easy to learn via this site. i have been trying to learn for many years now but found it very difficult as there teacching techniques didnt quite match yours. i love this site. and i hope to be fluent enough to hold a conversation with any spaniards i meet whilst on holidays or at home. gracias. excellente

  21. What is the instructors regional accent? (his Spanish accent, not his Scottish accent)
    He pronounces ‘c’ and ‘z’ as ‘th’, eg: grathias, ocho nueve dieth

    • Es la pronunciación del norte de España y la que se corresponde exactamente con las reglas ortográficas utilizadas en el castellano, según la última gran modificación que se hizo, creo que en el siglo XIX.
      La mejor forma de saber si una palabra se escribe con “c” o con “s” o con “ll” o con “y” es conocer su pronunciación en la España del norte.

  22. You may have missed it, but he says in this lesson that he’ll be using the pronunciation they use in mainland Spain. As you probably suspected, it’s different from the pronunciation in Mexico and other Latin American countries.

  23. well well well!i have been trying to learn from google translate which is very complicated but now i’m finally here.this one is perfect, very easier me gusta!

  24. First lesson very easy, the lesson was over before I knew other words it was interesting and informative that the time went by so quickly. Great way to learn a new language and for free. Give it a try. Thank you for your free lessons

  25. I really wanted to learn another language and it wasn’t spanish…I figured it would be to my benefit to learn the language that is taking over the american english language which is very upsetting to all true americans! Our ancestors came to america wanting to learn the american english, they felt it was a great honor and privilege to learn the language of the country that accepted them as american’s! But as we all know spanish speaking immigrants don’t feel they should learn the language of the country that has excepted them, give them countless opportunities (all free) but they still refuse to learn the language of our great country. I don’t like the fact that I need to cater to them and learn spanish but at least I will know what they truely saying and maybe since learning their language I will be able to help change a few things!! Another note of interest; it is amazing to me that the native spanish speaker picks and chooses what he/she can understand or not understand depending on what they will gain and benefit from by understanding or not understanding our language, which is AMERICAN ENGLISH!!

    • Why are you posting that comment here? This is a place to comment on the podcast, not your view on spanish speaking immigrants.

      BTW, I love these podcasts, and I’ve lesarned alot from them!! Thanks

    • Jodee,
      I’m a “True American” and I’m not at all upset that there are people here speaking Spanish and not ‘American English’. Please speak for yourself.

    • Jodee,
      I think you will find that the languages of the Native Americans were a lot more prevelant in north America before American English. I must remind you that French was also more prevelent than English for quite some time. America (and you should check who it was called after!Not an English speaker.) was ‘discovered’ by Christopher Colombus an Italian speaker who arrived with a crew of – wait for it!- Spanish speakers!I am from Ireland, a country where our native language still survives despite being opressed. The result? Ireland has produced some of the finest writers in the language forced on us. James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett for example. So learn pocos palabras. It’s not all bad!you might become a great writer like Cervantes. Just stop tilting at windmills!

  26. Hi,
    Too bad the lady doesnt pronunce properly. You should use a native speaker to teach correct pronunciation. La lady says: hola Qui tal?

    • The ‘lady’ is a learner, and the teacher on the course is using native pronunciation. The whole idea of Coffee Break Spanish is that listeners learn along with the learner, and over the course of the 80 lessons they will improve their pronunciation along with the learner.

      • hello, I would like to know how much does it cost in US dollars for the premium membership and will this include transcript material of each podcast? I tried to signup as a member, but I only received an error message that the membership does not work.

        I look forward to hearing from you soon. Please reply to my email address with your response.

        Thank you in advance,
        Stacie Vazquez

  27. Jodee:
    It’s not “has excepted”, it’s “accepted”… You are right, don’t study Spanish… you still need to learn English :>)

  28. Download buttons don’t work, and the podcast files can’t be found. I suggest if you want people to purchase stuff from you, it’s critical to enable the free stuff to process so that potential purchasers can test it first.

  29. I found the pod cast Coffee Break Spanish to be enjoyable and easy to follow. I will be using this format to assist me in my journey to learn Spanish. I wish the rest of you the best in your future endeavors.

  30. spanish language is another journey, I think the next step is to stay
    with a spanish family, is there some group that can organise such
    an event ?

  31. I appreciatte the effort of Radio Lingua network to teach Spanish. I such as Spanish teacher I recommend that you use for your records a Spanish native people because is very important the accent in all Spanish conversation. This will be help the students to understand people whom speak this language.

    If you want to learn more about Spanish go to:
    Best regards,
    Liliana Pimentel

  32. Hi Mark and Kara,

    I’ve recently discovered Coffee Break Spanish and I just wanted to thank you guys for producing such a great podcast! I’ve been really enjoying listening to them and they’ve been so useful.

    Un abrazo muy fuerte!!


  33. Further to an earlier post, ‘Como estas?’ is familiar the same as ‘Que tal?’. The formal version is ‘Como esta?’ or, even more formally ‘Como esta usted?

    Unfortunately I have been unable to put the ‘stress’ accents on que, como and esta.

  34. I love this program for me it is the first of its sort. Thank you! I have spent the last two years learning Spanish without a teacher. This is certainly one great tool.

    Es el mejor!

  35. Hi!
    I think your format is very interesting, learning with a colleague “estudiante” is very helpful in understanding and correct common pronunciation and grammar errors.
    More than that I’m Italian, so it’s funny to learn Spanish from English teacher!

  36. I love CBS and now am delighted you’ve started CB German as well. It’s so enjoyable learning this way and when Spanish friends compliment my accent I’m made up.
    Could you clear up one thing – ‘Es’ and ‘esta’ = ‘This’ or ‘is’.
    In ‘Esta es mi madre’ it seems ‘esta’ means ‘this’ and ‘es’ means ‘is’. eg this is my mother. In other sentences, ‘esta’ seems to mean ‘is’. e.g esta lejos? = is far?

    Getting quite confused on a very simple matter!


    • There are 2 ‘to be’ verbs in Spanish, so there are 2 ways to say ‘is’ and they’re used at different times. ‘Es’ comes from the verb ‘ser’ and ‘está’ comes from the verb ‘estar’. There is also the word ‘esta’ (without the accent over the a) which means this. The pronunciations are slightly different – with ‘está’ the stress is on the 2nd syllable, whereas with ‘esta’ the stress is on the 1st syllable.

  37. Hey Mark and Kara. I’m a graduate student from China who has a love for learning new languages. So I have been listening to CBF and found it really really helpful. Now I’m just trying out CBS, would probably travel to Costa Rica shortly after.

    Anyway,mucho gracias! Bisous*1000:)

  38. Hello Mark & Cara!
    I’m a Native American and wanted to learn my own language but my mother refused to speak it. She and her brothers were beaten at school if they spoke it. I’ve tried learning through tapes and classes to no avail. So I decided to try Spanish. I found your podcast and I am having the best time learning with Cara! I love that she is making the same mistakes that I make. keep up the good work! I’m just finishing the first group of lesson one! Thank you for being awesome. A.


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