Brazilians: And Their Coffee

As you can imagine, experiencing Brazilian coffee at the source was a huge excitement for me when I learned I’d be going to Sao Paolo on business for a week.
Unlike the American mantra of ‘more is more’, Brazilians inhale their coffee in tiny, shot-sized cups. But even though the quantity of liquid is much less, the time taken to consume it is nearly equal, the Brazilians sipping slowly over a highly animated conversation (about what, I have no idea, I still don’t speak Portuguese), and the amount of caffeine is much more. The Brazilians love their sweets, but I am baffled by the nation-wide sweet tooth that this country endures and still cannot top ours in obesity rates.

My favorite cookie in the enormous packaged cookie aisle. And these really charming sweet carts were also all over Paraty, but i didn’t manage to snag a shot myself, Paraty sweet cart ..but i digress.

The point is, sweet coffee is no exception to this rule. A trail of sugar packets follows any coffee drinker wherever he goes. Even I, after late night dinners with clients found myself supplementing the little shots with copious amounts of sugar.
Cappuccinos, however, are a whole separate matter. It took me several days to realize that to Brazilians, this is where a cappuccino comes from

I don’t know if it’s the ease of preparation of the built in sweetness but about the third time I ordered a cappuccino and the beautiful little cup of foam that appeared was filled tasted a lot more like hot chocolate with a large lump of sugary powder at the bottom, I realized Brazil and I were not on the same coffee page. I mean what are they playing at. They have the abominably strong coffee, and they’re already going to the trouble of steaming the milk. Why not just make a real cappuccino?! But alas, I’m sure this question too would have been lost in translation.

I’ll admit that I developed a special soft-spot for the instant hot chocolate masquerading as a serious beverage. I began looking for it in grocery stores once I figured out the ploy, but couldn’t get my hands on any. If anyone knows where to find it, particularly with unintelligible Portuguese directions for ‘brewing’ on the back, I’d be ever so grateful.


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