Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I´ve started writing. But I´ve run into one completely unexpected difficulty here. There is no coffee.

I seem to be living in one of the few small pockets in Latin America where people don´t really drink coffee. It´s not that coffee is completely absent. You can order it in a restaurant. It´s not unknown. It´s more that no one really cares about their coffee. And finding things such as coffee filters can be difficult. Since going without coffee isn´t really an option for me, I´ve been reduced to drinking instant coffee. Nescafé is easy to find. It even seems to be what some of the restaurants serve.

The truly upsetting thing about this whole situation, however, is discovering that I don´t mind instant coffee. I like the Nescafé just fine. This has shattered my self image as someone who knows and appreciates good coffee. Perhaps there have been great strides in instant coffee technology in recent decades of which I am unaware. Or perhaps I really can´t tell good coffee from bad. In any case, I may just surrender and buy a jar of Nescafé for my office when I get home.


  1. My grandma uses Nescafe, and for whatever reason, it tastes SO good at her house. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that she makes it for me, and coffee you don't have to make yourself is the best coffee. And, when I am at grandma's, I sip on coffee having a conversation, totally relaxed, not like my morning coffee where the goal is to make sure I'm keeping my eyelids open. There's nothing wrong with a little Nescafe! But I will have an extra cup of regular coffee tomorrow for you...

  2. Very common in Mexico, or so I've found in D.E.F. The nescafe thing. Ask for coffee at a restaurant and you are very likely to get something watery, dark, and from a packet of coffee crystals.

    But when you are jonesing for coffee, what are you going to do? Be glad that your taste buds are tricking you. Gulp that stuff down!

  3. Oh, my. No coffee. That is a bit of a roadblock to writing. Nescafe is definitely Old School.

  4. Nescafe frappes are quite something, too, if you want to experiment a bit with your coffee crystals

  5. It's Latin America wide and as I remember Nescafe also rules Greece. All the real beans are exported and Nescafe is imported. The same applies, practically, to avocados and lemons in my hometown in California, which is a top world producer of these fruits. They are an export crop and if you can find them to buy at home they are terribly expensive - you have to have your own tree. Coffee on coffee farms in Mexico and elsewhere is very good but hard to find in stores.

    In Mexico the thing to look for and ask for is cafe de olla, coffee from the pan, they get real coffee grounds and put them in boiling water with cinnamon sticks and who knows what else. It is stellar but if you look like you wouldn't know what it is you have to insist ... and be at a traditional type place where they would actually have it.

    Also notice the canned milk fetish. Everyone wants canned milk, sweetened condensed milk, hyperpasteurized milk, etc. They fear regular milk because in the past and perhaps now it carried / carried disease, but this is mostly untrue now. Yet still, since the canned milk is what people had as children it is what they prefer. In Brazil dried milk is adored ... I've even seen people steal it and fight for it.