But I think Starbucks would have a hard time getting a foothold here, with their US$5.00 coffee drinks and such. Maybe not, so many Brazilians seem to fall for all things American, but the sheer size of US coffee mugs (let alone the super-sized grande/vente drinks at Starbucks) is mystifying to most.
The coffee ritual here includes a small cup/glass in the morning with your toast and butter. Generally it is sickening sweet to my taste, and often it is cut with some milk. If you are on the street there are vendors on every corner and many riding around on bikes (or with other contraptions) trolling for workers on the go. It is ubiquitous. Luiz tells me his grandmother used to mix coffee, milk and sugar (mostly milk and sugar) for him in his baby bottle when he was tiny.
Then at several hour intervals throughout the workday people will sip teeny tiny cups of this national beverage to keep the motors running. Most places of employment provide free coffee to their workers. It is set out, often presweetened, in a thermos and refilled throughout the day.
After work and getting on to the 7:00 p.m. dinner hour another batch is prepared, traditionally using the drip method, strained through a fine weave cotton sock made for this purpose.
Me – I’m a drink a pot in the morning kind of guy. The size of my typical US coffee mug alone gets some people pointing and exclaiming. Then when they learn I can drink nearly a full pot (we brought a 12 cup Mr. Coffee drip machine with us) without thinking they blink in disbelief. Pile on that I do not use milk, sugar or artificial sweetener and they shake their heads, it’s simply incredulous.
Coffee, I thought when I moved here, would be one area I had in common with my Brazilian friends. Well, sorta. But the ritual is completely different. One thing I have learned is to enjoy several small cups in the morning when waking up at a friend’s house. If I just pour myself a big glass (they usually do not have a good size mug) I just come off as the gluttonous American.
Excuse me while I go refill my mug.