I actually have another item for my list of priorities for retirement places:


Wherever I travel, it is right there amongst the first things I seek out. Most places have some version of coffee that is distinctive, some places have Nescafe. Here are some of the finer cups of coffee I’ve found.

Café Cubano

Living in Miami for many years, I really developed a taste for good coffee. Ubiquitous good coffee. Morning noon and night coffee. Cubans take their coffee very seriously, actually, they take most everything very seriously! Here are some of the best:

Cafecito or Café Cubano: A small but potent dose of Cuban coffee served in a thimble-sized cup. Twice as strong as American coffee and super sweet, you can sip or down it like a shot.

Colada: This is what you order when you want to make friends. It typically comes in a large Styrofoam cup, with a stack of four or more small plastic cups. Pour and pass around at the counter or bring it back to the office. You may get that raise after all.

Café con leche: A Latin latte – hot, steamed milk with a shot of Cuban coffee. If you’re watching your sugar intake, ask for sin azucar (without sugar) and add the sweet stuff to your own taste. Good for breakfast or as a comforting cup of warmth on one of Miami’s rain-soaked afternoons.

Cortadito: Cuban coffee with a few tablespoons of milk (a short café con leche). This is a good introduction to cafecito if the straight stuff seems too strong at first.


If you find yourself in Miami, here are two of the best places for coffee:

Versailles, 3555 SW 8th St., Miami (Little Havana), 305-444-0240.

David’s Café, 1654 Meridian Ave., South Beach, 305-672-8707.

Coffee in Saudi Arabia was not at all to my taste. The coffee beans are greenish, and the resulting coffee is rather insipid. Who would guess, given that Arabica is the best coffee? Coffee is important to Saudis, and served very ceremonially:

saudi cafe

saudi coffee

Saudi Coffee never moved me, but Turkish coffee? Man!

I’ve had what is called Turkish coffee in Egypt, Morocco, Oman and, of course, Turkey. Love it despite the sugar, which, to my mind is necessary because if the intensity of the coffee. The little pieces of Turkish delight on the above plate are best purchased from Haci Bekir, in Istanbul, but any other will do and offset the intensity of the coffee and impart a bit of rose fragrance  (

Vietnamese Coffee:

cafe sua da

viet cafe

I first tasted Vietnamese coffee while I was living in Korea. I traveled to what was then a rather early touristic Vietnam. Cafe sua da and hot Vietnamese coffee are enough to keep me visiting Vietnam. Cafe sua da cuts through the dense afternoon torpor, leaving me ready to carry on. The sweet condensed milk and chocolatey coffee cut by lots of ice makes me forget the sweat pouring in my eyes.

Vietnamese coffee has a very distinctive flavor. I’ve heard say that much of it actually comes from Cambodia, but I haven’t found Cambodian coffee to be at all the same. Used to not be able to get Vietnamese coffee by brand in the US, but now you can order it in the US from various sources. Trung Nguyen is very good. The gourmet blend is what I buy, when I can. My Vietnamese students brought it to me when I taught in Bangladesh. It was like bring ice water to someone in hell!



him coffee


Bangladesh is tea country. I fortunately had a chance to go to Bangkok fairly regularly and brought back coffee for the next few months. One break I went to Nepal. I knew I’d have to find some coffee to take back to Bangladesh with me. I figured I’d find some commercial brand that would get me through to my next trip to Thailand. Then I found that Nepal has splendid high mountain shade grown organic coffee. In fact, I would put Nepali coffee up with Vietnamese, and love them both. I spent every morning in Kathmandu at Himalayan Java, where they also serve great breakfasts and lunches. Of course I took plenty back to Bangladesh.

Photo Joanne Brezer

Photo Joanne Bretzer

2016 will be spent traveling in Latin America. I know there is great coffee there, and I expect it will be different in every country. Research is such a splendid task!

For a full discussion of Vietnamese coffee: cuban coffee Turkish coffee Vietnamese

3 thoughts on “CAFÉ!

  1. I always found coffee not good to my liking, so I’m unable to judge coffee from different parts of the world. I did hear favorable comments about Turkish coffee. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Interesting assortment of coffees! My husband and I loved Brazilian coffee when we were in Brazil for one of his conferences. We chose not to take any back with us, so we could keep it as a memory specifically of that place, although I sometimes regret that decision.

    Liked by 2 people

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