Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Field Notes: Caffeine, Please?

I hate to sound like one of those snooty ex-pats who wants everything to be just like it was back home. I like to think of myself as pretty adaptable, really. And I will try to keep my blog posts balanced about the good things and bad things that I experience. There are just some things that are easier to adapt to than others. That said.....

I have a problem with the coffee down here. Not only does it taste different (which I will get to momentarily), but it doesn't seem to have the same caffeine content as in the U.S. Several days after my jet-lag should have worn off, I still felt groggy in the mornings. That is, until I found.... ta-da! Cafiaspirna!

It was a revelation. It's aspirin! It's caffeine! It's Cafiaspirina! Two pills have about the same amount of caffeine as one cup of coffee, so I can ween myself off my Starbucks addiction gradually.

Now as to the taste: well, it just tastes different. I'm not a complete coffee geek, so I'm not sure, but I suspect they brew their coffee at a high temperature which gives it a different flavor. That, and the beans are from a different area than I am used to. Whatever the reason, I can only manage to suck down café con leche, which is a mixture of about half coffee and half milk when I go to a café.

As for the ground coffee for sale in the grocery store: it has sugar added! That's right. Sugar. It tastes awful. I managed to find a brand with no sugar added that is decent, so that is what we use at home at the moment.

We have been told that Bonafide is a coffee shop with gourmet coffee, but of course, as with anything imported it actually costs more than what we would pay in the U.S., so it will have to be many degrees better to be worth it.

Well, they say Starbucks is coming soon to Buenos Aires. I'm sure the locals won't like it, but I suspect there may be a line of ex-pats outside the door opening day. I don't think people will be running around with paper cups of coffee everywhere, though. People don't have coffee to go here. You drink and eat sitting down. The only exception I've seen is a few people sipping soda from a bottle with a straw in the heat. So Starbucks will have to adapt to the café culture here. Let's just hope they keep the same flavor as back home. I can adapt to a lot of things, but my morning cup of coffee is a bit sacred.

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