Cafecito, Corazon

Mmmmm cafecito!

What is it about Latinos and our love affair with coffee?  Could it be that we’re basically weaned from the bottle on it?  I remember being a little girl in my grandparent’s kitchen stealing sips of my Papa Chava’s cafecito and loving it.  Even knowing better, I’d give my kids cafe con leche (mostly condensed milk with a few drops of coffee on occasion.  They loved it.  Don’t judge me!

Needless to say I’m a total coffee addict.  I grew up on Bustello and MJB (useful for it’s brightly colored green cans that served as containers for marbles) and graduated to exotic roasts, organic beans, my beloved Trader Joe’s Sumatra and Zapatista coffee because I support indigenous rights any way I can.  I’m not myself until that French press is sitting in front of me on the table steeping while I make my current obsession for breakfast, the toasted bagel with nutella and fresh strawberries.  Nothing gives me more pleasure than adding my coffee creamer (I love Hazelnut) to my cup, then gently pouring in that hot stream of strong coffee and letting the intoxicating smell rush up and tell me good morning.  Yeah, I’m in love.

I use coffee for other things too in my kitchen.  It’s absolutely perfect in chocolate frosting on banana nut bread.  Instant works for this.  You boil a small amount of water, put in A LOT of instant and dissolve.  It becomes this syrupy, sticky mess that gets poured into my chocolate buttercream frosting and then spread thickly over my bread.  Oh yeah. Total ecstasy.

I worry though about growing conditions, the rights of coffee bean growers and farmers and am wondering what my addiction is costing others.  What is the best way to drink responsibly and no impact our world for the worse.  Must I give up my beloved cafecito?  Even more, now that the economy and my budget is suffering, how to feed my need for the addictive bean without damaging my wallet.  The more ethically responsible coffees are really darned expensive!!  Are we more inclined to care more about the world around us in a better economy?

So tell me…what coffee are you drinking and are you drinking responsibly?  What brands are the best?  What’s in your cup of Bustello?

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