good coffee in south america

greg's picture
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In case you hadn't heard, Nikki and I are planning to head to South america for about "a while" starting around September 2007. It should be fun. Nikki lived in Buenos Aires for 6 months during a study abroad program and I visited her so we know a little about the country.

One thing we are really dreading is the coffee. Your choices are typically just instant folgers crystals or...well that's it. The standard north american drip isn't available in most places and it's quite a sad thing for two drip fans like ourselves.

Coffee advice from Current Travelers and Expats

I was reading one of our guide books that had the quote "You know you've been in south america too long when you get a cup of instant folgers and appreciate it." That would be a sad state of affairs.

Yankqui Mike just wrote about good coffee shops in Buenos Aires and I love him for it. That will be our guide to the first few days down there and should hopefully make the transition easier.

Irony of Latin American Coffee

The irony of all this, of course, is that the US gets our coffee beans from Latin America. The beans we use at home come specifically from Peru that we get at Kaladi Coffee here in Denver. So, why is it that Peru, direct nearly a neighbor of Argentina, supplies beans to America that taste so delicious and yet Argentina mostly drinks crappy coffee.

We'll have to see if the situation has changed since 2000 when Nikki was there - we are obviously hopeful for improvements in this area.

Yes you can get drip coffee here. In the supermercado, there is preroasted coffee, but only one is not roasted with sugar! So read the label if this is important to you.

You can also buy coffee from Bonafide, and other coffee specialty shops. So don't worry too much about not finding coffee.

HeatherFife's picture

As a professional coffee lover myself, I think I can give you some advice that worked for me.

When I lived in China I actually brought over several, several pounds of ground coffee and filters with me in my suitcase. I bought a coffee maker, but you could also bring along a traveling french press. There are starbucks now in major cities so you could always buy ground coffee in the major cities of the country you are in as well if you do not want to waster precious suitcase space.

You will probably find a great cafe that has great coffee in Mendoza. I found one in Trujillo, Peru. But, the coffee was much more expensive than my budget allowed so I let myself have coffee there as a special treat to myself and just made my own coffee at home with my own personal coffee brought from the U.S.

One of the all time coffee-friendly countries to visit (besides European countries) is Vietnam. The French did one thing good-they brought along their love of good espresso. So, you can get the best cup of espresso pretty much anywhere--on the street in the middle of nowhere or wherever--and it is super cheap. Gotta love colonialism. I wander what other French colonized countries are like.

Hope this helps!

"why is it that Peru, direct neighbor of Argentina, supplies beans to America that taste so delicious and yet Argentina mostly drinks crappy coffee". Pls review your ATLAS. To get from Peru to Argentina you either have to go down to Chile and then to argentina, or accross Bolivia. So NO, Peru is not a direct nieghbor of Argentina.

greg's picture

I reviewed my ATLAS and in fact you are correct. Congrats to you, anonymous individual on picking nits! I've updated to post to include your powerful insight.

HeatherFife's picture


You had better stick a map of South American on Nikki's forehead at all times to prevent this faux pas (that's French, you can use it in Paris!) from happening again.

One a more serious side: let's all focus our good thoughts on the good people of Peru at the moment. The earthquake sounds pretty devestating.

HeatherFife's picture

I just came back from Mexico City and was surprised by how amazing the coffee was! Coffee stands everywhere, great and delicious coffee.

[...]  English  •  Foods On our trip, Nikki and I were a bit concerned about coffee because we like the American style rich, strong, and somewhat sweet roasts. So, we brought along [...]

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