If you are an expat/immigrant here in our part of Uruguay, from a serious coffee-drinking land such as USA, Canada or many European countries, you may well despise the sugar-roasted weak sweet stuff that is nearly the only type of coffee sold in stores. Cafe “glaseado” which means glazed. Despite loving Uruguay, and beginning to get a taste for mate, we at Uruguay Expat Life / Uruguay For Me, need our real coffee fix. Even if we drank it sweetened (Lisa sometimes does, Mark considers that a sin) we want to sweeten it ourselves, not have it roasted in sugar the way Uruguayan coffee is normally distributed.
Coffee drinkers quickly find that the distinctive green and red box, from German company Melitta, originator of the now-ubiquitous cone filters, is the only decent mass-market “natural” coffee. Natural meaning in this context, no sugar added when roasting and packaging. We addicts also realize that at approaching 200 pesos for a half-kilogram box, it is reasonable but not inexpensive (typical Supermercado Disco or Tienda Inglesa prices). In those stores, it is sold as “Senior” brand (Senior as in senior citizen, not as in señor) due to a Uruguay trademark clash with local lousy sugar-roasted brand “Melita” (note only one “t” in the name”.
That Senior brand from Melitta Company is still cheaper than the same Melitta brand coffee in USA, by the way, for those who wrongly claim that everything is more expensive in Uruguay. We were paying US $6-8 dollars per can of 12 ounces (3/4 of a pound, 2.2 pounds in a kilogram, do the math*) three years ago in Colorado and Washington State, often more, for this same brand of coffee. So well under 10 dollars are current mid-to-high 22’s-to-1 peso:dollar exchange, is cheaper. Even at full supermercado pricing. Plus in whatever country, it goes very far as they grind it ultra-fine so you typically need only 6-8 scoops for a pot of 10-12 cups, not the 10-12 scoops of most brands and blend (including the otherwise good Tienda Inglesa paper-bag-packaged “natural” coffees”).
Read below the jump for a super quick super cheap deal on this good stuff that blows away the cheapest normal price!However reasonable the Disco and TI prices, we Melitta/Senior afficianados/coffee addicts soon all learn to get it at the feria instead of the supermercado or hipermercado, to save even more. For example, at the weekly Thursday feria on several blogs of Av. Roger Balet here in Atlántida every Thursday. The overpriced stand in the middle of the feria sells it for 145 pesos. The good stand, near the far end of the feria, on the left going towards Las Toscas, between 1B and 2B, sells it still for 115 pesos. I have never seen it less than 105, and that goes back to early 2012. I’m assuming the same prices at the Wed/Sat feria in nearby Parque del Plata, also frequented by many local expats and many of the same vendors.
Tonight, small grocery Super Quico in Centro has a sale for Melitta-branded (and thus “feria-style grey market”) Portuguese-labelled Extraforte or Tradicional for only 100 pesos! They had a reasonable amount of stock on hand. This is a super deal for darn good coffee.There will be less tomorrow when I go back there (Mark writing this) because I only had small change on me when I noticed it and grabbed this one box. But I don’t need all of it!
Don’t say we never pass along great savings ideas and Uruguay deals, OK? Maybe not as good as the $627 round trip (deal gone), but if you are a real coffee addict, perhaps more important, jejeje! Super Quico is in Centro, on Calle 11 between Calle 22 and 24. One block down the street from where the Atlántida English Speakers used to hold their twice-monthly lunch, until they just moved it this week. If you’ve been a recent regular at that group, you’ve probably seen it, it is the next store after JC Muebles furniture store, which is on the corner across from Don Vito, your group’s earlier haunt. Directly across the street from the very good computer supplies/repair shop and internet cafe, Electroshop. We also highly recommend the store-made dark bread loaves (but refrigerate, no preservatives, molds quickly otherwise!) and the galletas dulces crackers from Super Quico, which are not overly dulce, unlike many brands.
Do you have any great deals to share? Caffeinated or not, please share them in the comments, right below this post, or on our social media. Do you like the glazed Uruguayan coffee taste of the easily-obtained stuff? Care to explain what is good about it, maybe the best way to prepare it? Jump in, we have the coffee warm!
* Doing the math, for those who didn’t: 12 ounces weight measure in US imperial units is .75 of a pound. 2.2 oz in a kilogram. .75 oz therefore is 340 grams (roughly, rounding down to even). Today the BROU cotizacione for selling pesos (thus for withdrawing from dollar account where BROU did the exchange, which is worse than “lying” by telling BROU your US dollar account is in pesos already so you get your US VI/MC better rate) was 22.70 pesos to the dollar. Thus that low estimate of 6 dollars for 12 ounces of this same coffee, is 136 pesos for 340 grams. But here in Uruguay the Senior/Melitta coffee comes in a box of 500 grams. 500/340=1.47 times the amount of coffee. So at US prices, at the very lowest end of the US price range for this very same product, that box of Melitta/Senior coffee would cost 8.82 USD. Which at today’s exchange rate at BROU would be 200 pesos. Supermarket price in Uruguay is about 192 pesos, so slightly cheaper, and one or the other style extra, strong or traditional, is often on sale for 157 pesos at Disco. But feria prices are even cheaper, 145 or 115 pesos. This sale at Super Quico is 100 pesos, exactly half the US price for the identical product. Math! Made easier by coffee.