Coffee lovers from the States, who have been raised with bigger cups of unsugared espresso or pour overs will be in for caffeine culture shock when visiting Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producer.
Whether you’re visiting Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics or you’re on an international medical team trying to stem Zika, coffee is served differently in this nation. And, that’s no complaint because it is “their” country and they can serve coffee anyway they please.
Coffees served in Brazil are for the most part called cafezinhos, tiny, powerful, sugar-to-the-max with no milk to cut the black lava flow. In Miami and other U.S. cities, a cafezinhos resembles a small sugar added cortado sans milk.
A Rio cafezinho experience is more like crowded Manhattan than leisurely Seattle or San Diego. For example, at Curto Café in Central Rio you walk up to the lanchonete (snack bar) order and drink it standing or if you’re lucky find a chair or bench.
I mention Curto Café because the grapevine reporting back says this second story, hard to find, establishment at the end of an open air hallway in a parking garage serves on request more American style espresso (read cappuccinos) than other places in this vast city of six millions.
As one would expect such a large coffee growing region, there are zillions other coffee shops and café’s all over Brazil but few are able to pull an American style cappuccino or latte as well as Curto Café. You have been warned and finding the place, well that’s another story. For that check out Google Maps or ask the locals when you’re downtown.
Avenue Erasmos Braga, 278
Sobreloja, Quiosque 47
Central Rio de Janeiro
Phone: +55 (21) 98323-0183
And, if you’re looking to break into Brazilian coffee industry by seeking work as a Curto Café cashier—you can forget that job. The Curto has no cashier. It has no menu on the wall or a wall for that matter. What it does have other than cappuccinos and espresso is a basket at one of the tables where you can make a donation to the cause. Owners ask to drop in what you as a customer feels the service was worth.
Also, Brazilians think American coffee drinkers are nuts for many reasons, but the two most common causes of local eye rolling are the prices charged at a U.S. coffee houses. Paying more than $4 is outrageous. And, the sheer size of a coffee cup in the States makes a Rio native ask if a lifeguard comes with the 8 to 12 ounces servings.
But, when in Rio...