Monday, September 20, 2010


Chilean espresso is terrible. As described previously, they let the machine run too long, which over-extracts the grounds. It finally dawned on me that I could be an obnoxious customer and ask them to make the espresso by shutting the machine off after 30 seconds. To be diplomatic, I say "It gives it a different flavor" rather than "It tastes really bad the way you usually do it." Cafe employees accept this with anything from polite confusion up to an unquestioning "the customer is always right" feeling, although I think that guy might have actually understood why I was asking.

Nonetheless, I come to Starbucks in Vina a fair bit, more often now that I do aikido nearby. This is technically known as "gringo-ing," which is pretty much what there is to do in Vina, but more practically, Starbucks is still the best coffee in Chile (certainly around Valpo/Vina), with the comfiest chairs (couches, Montresor!) and best Internet. I'm not sure what I'd do otherwise, though, since native Chilean culture has no acceptable substitute.

Also, if you want brewed coffee, this is the only option.


  1. Want to know something strange? Since moving to Valpo, I have yet to go to Starbucks. Odd, no?

  2. Only you can answer that for you--it would certainly be odd for me. =) At home I visit the coffee shop at least a couple times a week (more in the pre-Chile unemployment), and I'm feeling the strain of teaching (which pushes a lot of my buttons) and being away from my various supporting stuff at home for such a long time.