I had ordered a coffee today and turned to ask my friend if he wanted one. He said no, so I just turned around and said 'eins, bitte', but I got a confused look from the cafe assistant. I then said 'einmal, bitte'. Is 'eins' wrong in this scenario?
It depends on the gender of the thing you're ordering.
- For masculine nouns like "der Kaffee": "Nur einen, bitte" or "Nur den einen, bitte"
- For neuter nouns like "das Bier": "Nur eines, bitte", "Nur eins, bitte" (colloquial), or "Nur das eine, bitte"
- For feminine nouns like "die Cola": "Nur eine, bitte" or "Nur die eine, bitte"
"eins" is number one (not in children's terms for potty). You need to use the article "ein", or in this case, "einen Kaffee".
For beer, the waiter would probably have understood you (das Bier, so ein Bier, or short "eins").