Sharing Culture: Coffee

My Principal trying coffee

My Principal trying coffee

One of PC’s goals (number 2, I believe) is for PCVs to share American culture with their host country. Trying to define the culture of the Great Melting Pot is, well, a little difficult. However, coffee has never really crossed my mind until I had a few conversations with my principal.

Coffee is SA is…very different from coffee in America. First of all, it is always instant coffee that is part coffee and part chicory, whatever that is. South Africans use exactly one small spoonful in a cup half full of milk and a few tablespoons of sugar. And coffee is always a second choice to tea.

Anyways, I had told my principal about how we drink ground coffee in America, and she had no clue what it was. But she wanted to try it. So on Friday, I brought some real coffee and my French Press to school to let her experience “American coffee.”

The teachers were a bit bamboozled when I took out the can of coffee and the French Press. I think they thought ground coffee was still instant coffee. I had them smell the wonderful aroma of ground coffee and told them how I would make it. My principal grabbed the coffee and decided to taste the grounds, even though I told her not to. Yes, she ate coffee grounds. I don’t believe she liked them.

My principal went off to get some hot water, and brought back a thermos cup full of milk and water…sigh. I told her it needed to be just water, so after a bit more time, the AA brought the kettle and we finally started brewing the coffee.

After it was ready, my principal grabbed a teacup, poured the coffee in, and wanted to try it “black”, so she added about a tablespoon of sugar to a tiny teacup and tried it. Then grimaced. Then she added some milky water and said she liked it (still grimacing). 🙂

Later she made her own. I asked how much coffee she added, and she said she added a pinch. It sounded about right, because the coffee looked like weak tea. She added her milk and tablespoon of sugar, and then the coffee, and enjoyed her cup of beige-coloured coffee. I caught her eating sugar out of a spoon later. I don’t think she really like my American coffee, but she was a good sport.

So, I am a good PCV because I am trying to get my counterparts addicted to real coffee. Yeah!


About Jen Lamos

Christ follower. Writer. Permaculturist. RPCV. Photographer. Gardener. Keeper of Chickens. Daughter of God.

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