Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On not drinking coffee

There´s one little reason why I can never be Spanish. Some would even say I´m not quite fully human. I don´t drink coffee.
Is this in my flat? Yes. Do I use it? No.
It´s really quite simple. I don´t like the taste. Countless friends here and at home have insisted, "Here! Try this. There´s so much chocolate/cream/caramel/hazelnut/you-name-it in here you can´t even taste the coffee." I oblige, take a sip. Nope, all I can taste is the coffee.
Vocabulary that has not been added to my Spanish
I know it would be easy enough to acquire a taste for coffee. I could start with sugared down drinks and work my way up. But I have absolutely no desire to begin a potentially very addicting habit. I survive just fine without all that caffeine and sugar in my diet, and I keep a few extra euros in my pocket everyday. Here in Spain it´s not near as expensive as the $5-at-Starbucks-twice-a-day trend back home (a café con leche runs about 1.20€-ish).

Both in Spain and in the U.S., drinking coffee is a huge part of the culture. How many times have you heard, "Let´s go grab some coffee" as a euphemism for "Let´s go to some little place where we can sit and chat and also happen to have a drink in our hands." Okay, so maybe it only sounds like that to this non-caffeine addict. I so badly want to take part in this social activity. I want to hang out with my friends when they all meet up for coffee. Especially in Spain, this is an excellent way to while away the evening, or to stall until it becomes an acceptable time to eat dinner (never earlier than 9:00pm).

Luckily for me, there are alternatives that still allow me to take part in this coffee shop/cafetería tradition. Back home I have tea, iced tea, and my usual preference, cream-based frappuccinos. Here in Spain, it´s all about Cola Cao.
 It's basically the Spanish version of Nesquik, readily available in any proper establishment. Do I feel like a child when a group is all ordering coffee and I chime in "Oh, and one Cola Cao!"? Yes, I definitely do. Do I care? No. I'll take awkward stares over drinking coffee any day.
Although only a simple glass of Cola Cao, it will always taste better when your grandma makes it.


  1. Haha! So funny. Unfortunately I cannot relate on this one. COFFEE LOVERS UNITE! I honestly don't know what I'd do without it.

  2. You may take comfort in knowing that Mario drinks basically no coffee. He has it before a really important exams, but that period is over. He's a tea man.

    Also, that vocab for coffee? Nube? Hahahahaha. I only know/use café solo, cortado, con leche, and leche manchado. :)

  3. Wow, I had no idea there were so many words for coffee in the south! I love my coffee but can't handle all the caffeine that life here brings, so I always get mine "descafeinado" if it's past, say, 11 a.m. Luckily you can avoid sleepless nights ('Yes, I swear it's decaf!'...not) with Cola Cao!

  4. I'm fairly certain that range of vocabulary is specific to Málaga. My Granadino expert also thinks the different names are a bit ridiculous.

  5. Cola Cao has kola nut extract! Last time I checked, that's loaded with caffeine! Perfect for kids ;-) in Spain, it's good training for their future cigarette habit!