The travel section in today’s New York Times featured an article on Rio de Janeiro coffee bars: Coffee Bars in Rio de Janeiro – Travel – New York Times.

Brazilian botequins — sort of café/lunch counter/bistro combinations — can sometimes be pretty awful. Despite Brazil’s esteemed coffee status — this is a nation where the word for “breakfast” is “café da manhã”, or “morning coffee” — they often serve coffee that has sat on burners for far too long. But at these botequins, you can order a traditional cafezinho — a Portuguese diminutive for a “small coffee”. You can order it black, Carioca (“Rio style”: with added water), media (with milk), or pintado (just a few drops of milk). And no matter how you order it, it will come with mandatory sugar: the Brazilians and Portuguese love their coffee sweet.

Espresso made from Italian interlopers, such as Illy and Lavazza, has replaced many of the cafezinhos served to visitors at shops, cafés, and restaurants. But it’s a mandatory tradition; one that I promise to write about whenever I can make it out there.