Mar 31, 2010, 12:14 PM
Since the door has been opened to discussion of instant coffee, café soluble, I feel safe to come out now. Outside of higher-end, chain, or tourist hotel restaurants when ordering coffee you are most likely to be given a cup of hot water and jar of Néscafe or a cup of café de olla, sweetened coffee brewed with cinnamon in a large pot (olla) with loose grounds - the latter being my preferrence though I seldom sweeten my coffee otherwise. It should be noted that you will always be given sugar but do not count on any type of creamer being available even on request, though some places will have it.
There are numerous $3 dollar cup coffee houses like Starbucks, Café Europa, and others but in time you will likely frequent those places less and less. Any city or larger town will have specialty coffee places places with a variety of roasts to sample and purchase, coffees of sufficient quality to dazzle guests and visitors from the US and generally give you a warm feeling that you have not yet compromised your tastes and standards. But in time if you are coffee drinkers like me that consume cup after cup from the time you rise in the morning till you go to bed at night, after living here awhile you may turn to the solubles (instant) for your regular fix leaving the fresh-brewed delicacies for the aforementioned guests.
My bottled water dispensers have the instant hot water taps. I highly recommend having such as they are excellent for not only tea and instant coffee but also for preparing many other very readily available Mexican standard items found in any small street corner tienda like instant oatmeal (avena) and cups of Maruchan Instant Lunch. In these small tiendas they are most certain to have Néscafe available in most smaller sizes, 50 gram up to the common larger 200 gram size, the larger running from about $50-60 pesos. Whole bean or ground coffee will likely not be available in these ubiquituous tiendas that you will come to utilize often for their convenience of location.
In the supermarkets you will find a variety of coffees; whole, ground, or instant. I will only comment here on the instants. Café Oro is a lighter, golden (as its name indicates), and smooth-flavored brand which I buy often but after time I tend to like a darker type like Legal and sometimes blend a bit of the two. Bodega Aurrera has its own brand Columbian-type coffee, but again I prefer something darker after time. There are many solubles to be found and may be a good idea to try those as they go on-sale at a good price. Néscafe is to be found at all supermarkets.
Taster's Choice is often favored among many drinkers of instant coffees but is not usually to be found in most Mexican supermarkets but will be found in Costco or Sam's Club. It is higher priced, 200 gram size around $95 pesos compared to around $50 for other brands but Sam's house brand Member's Mark is comparable to Taster's Choice and better priced at around $100 pesos for a 340 gram size and is the brand favored in my household these days.
This is not Lake Chapala-specific info but should apply in general.
(This post was edited by Peter on Mar 31, 2010, 12:31 PM)