The Caribbean Latin culture has long been steeped in sugar cane and sugar production, which tends to facilitate, and dare I say encourage, the consumption of coffee. Dominicans drink coffee all day long, morning noon and night. A “cafecito” is a panacea for all possible ailments and/or celebrations. We, as a culture, really love our coffee.
Apparently, among Dominicans, giving coffee to children was quite prevalent and not frowned upon at all. Kind of like how they also give “just a little” alcohol to teething or colicky babies with nary a second thought just to shut them the hell up. Sugar also is integral in the production of rum so that may be why its culturally acceptable to booze up the kiddies. We all know how that works out. Drunken hordes of Dominicans partying non-stop, I’m looking at you!
My introduction and subsequent addiction to caffeine began at an early age, according to American standards, because of my grandmother. When I was a tiny tot my maternal grandmother was my babysitter. During her relaxing afternoon cup of coffee she would usually pour a small amount onto the saucer for me to share in the moment with her. It was such a tasty treat and before I knew it I was hooked. Now I can’t survive without all of my daily café con leches. Having either a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts on every corner doesn’t help and feeds my addiction, making it impossible to quit.
There have been many occasions I have decided to cut down on my daily coffee intake. Only one time did I ever attempt quitting coffee cold turkey. That was the most miserable 48 hours of my life! Health-related news reports often flip-flop on the health benefits or dangers associated with caffeine, as with most other items in your local supermarket touted as stealthy killers or the next cure-all. I’m proud of myself that it’s no longer four cups of coffee daily and I’m down to two cups. Let’s see how long I can keep that up. I’ve also been able to gradually reduce the amount of sugar I use in coffee. Not that I was ever a real sugar freak but I figure the less of that nasty business the better.