Photo: Boris van Hoytema
“Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town” – George Carlin
Coffee has actually been around in China longer than you might expect. The heavenly brew made its first appearance in China in the early 20th century thanks to French missionaries who must have brought over a French press. But, until quite recently, coffee companies have had to struggle mightily in China to win over even a small percentage of the tea drinking locals.
Nescafe came to China a few decades back and there’s a funny story about their first steps in China. When Nescafe came on the market in China the sales were incredible and the company had to scramble to get enough shipments to China to fulfill demand. Then, almost overnight, sales tanked completely and merchandise sat on the shelves for months. The story is that people were buying the “coffee” as gifts for friends but nobody ever really started liking it enough to buy it themselves.
These days, Nescafe is back on supermarket shelves in both canned and powdered form, and in more heavily western areas, can be found in the coolers of corner stores. Unfortunately, Nescafe is still horrible; sickly sweet, and the occasional new style and flavor are no improvement.
Still, some of us have a caffeine addiction and too often Nescafe is all there is. Nescafe “black” – without “sugar” or “whitener” is doable. It’s like drinking tar, but at least the industrial taste convinces you it’s going to have a heavy-duty effect. Warning: if you’re even thinking of having ulcers do not drink “The Negro” (that would be Spanish for black). If you must drink Nescafe in a can, I recommend buying it as cold as possible – it makes it much easier to choke it down.
Yes, it’s nasty and undignified, but just because you’ve left a coffee drinking country doesn’t mean the coffee drinking bug has left you.
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