Кофе в Китайском квартале Буэнос-Айреса

Don’t drink coffee in Argentina: Bitter Truth of Cafe Torrado

When you go shopping in Argentina, you might be in for a surprise: it’s almost impossible to find coffee without sugar in supermarkets. This in a country where folks enjoy coffee from dawn to sunset!

You can find good ground coffee in specialty stores, but be prepared to shell out around $40 per kilogram (2 pounds). Only a handful of mass-market coffee brands offer a sugar-free product, and even those may not hit the spot flavor-wise.

Back in 2017, supermarkets were stocked with shelves full of Nescafe instant coffee and not much else! Today, there’s a bit more variety, but unfortunately, Argentine coffee quality often falls short of expectations.

*however, the you will find great coffee in the cafes – unexplainable paradox!

Why is this happening?

That coffee with sugar you see in supermarkets is called cafe torrado.

Torrado is made from the lowest grade coffee beans. During roasting, about 15% white sugar is added to mask the imperfections, giving the beans an artificial dark brown hue and sheen.

This practice aims to hide flaws in the beans. Additionally, during roasting, coffee loses between 12% to 18% of its weight due to moisture evaporation. So, roasting with sugar not only hides poor quality but also compensates for the lost weight.

Who came up with this idea?

The credit for roasting coffee with sugar goes to Jose Gomez Tejedor. He patented cafe torrado in Spain back in 1901. This coffee was sold under the La Estrella brand, now owned by Nestlé.

Cafe torrado is banned in most countries, except Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Spain, and Portugal due to global quality standards for coffee products.

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