Another Saturday Story

Somehow a Saturday morning coffee discussion on Twitter triggered the memory of how I learned to like coffee – or, more specifically, the first time I tasted coffee and liked it.

It was 1974, sometime between January 1 and March 31, and I was in Guatemala teaching at the American School there. (I think that link is the same place, although the pictures look quite different. Of course, it has been almost 40 years!) We only taught Monday-Thursday to give us some time to travel around the country and check it out. Some trips were planned for us. Some we planned for ourselves.

Four of us took the bus to Chichicastenango where there was a famous Saturday market. We took the bus on Friday (all day Friday) and arrived exhausted early in the evening. We all conked out at around 7:30 which meant we woke up early on Saturday – very early. Let’s say 5 AM.

Nothing was open for breakfast at that point so we headed out to watch them set up the market. We were enjoying that when the locals invited us into the coffee tent for some coffee, which had been made in a large kettle (think witches brew type of kettle, not tea or coffee). I’m not sure how it was brewed but I did notice sugar cane laying across the grounds. I was not a coffee drinker, but I was smart enough to know that this was something I needed to try. It was amazing! Just think, fresh Guatemalan coffee, fresh sugar. Yeah. Amazing. (Brief aside: I’m pretty sure that there was no milk in this coffee because milk was a precious commodity.)

Of course, for some reason the locals were thrilled that the gringos wanted to watch them set up the market and kept plying us with coffee that they wouldn’t let us pay for. That was a day that I really wished I could speak Spanish, but only one of us could do that so he had to act as translator. Sigh.

Anyway, that is how I learned that coffee could taste good. And, of course, over the years this coffee has taken on mythic proportions. But still…

And, yes, I still like my coffee sweetened, no milk.

Now go quilt on!


3 thoughts on “Another Saturday Story

  1. Great story Gretchen, thank you so much for sharing! To me coffee without milk is just too bitter no matter how much sugar I put in it. But that’s just me I’m sure!

  2. I will bring you back Guatemalan coffee next time we go to visit friends in Guatemala.

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