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« Dinner, and a movie, under the stars at The New Leaf Cafe | Main | I love NY »

Calling all coffee snobs: It's time to stop sticking our noses up at (gasp) Instant Coffee

During the five-day work week, The Lunch Belle spends her days managing one of her firms offices in midtown Manhattan. Luckily for me, our two New York locations are located right across the street from one another, so whenever I have to get a signature from our CFO or fetch invoices to/from our accounting team, I don't have to walk very far.

So on a recent trip across 59th Street, I strolled by a make-shift stand set up in front of my building's deli. There was an adorable young man making some sort of drink, and he could barely keep up with the crowd that was lining up for a taste. As I made my way through the excitement, the dapper young fellow handed me a 2 ounce cup filled with a milky hot liquid. As I took my first sip, I knew that my armful of paperwork would just have to wait for five more minutes. Whatever I was drinking was so outstanding that I had to find out what it was, where I could purchase it, and get the story behind this truly incredible beverage.

After exchanging business cards, I learned that the young man was a sales rep for a Mexican coffee company called Cafe La Paz. It turns out that what I was sipping was an instant coffee that was made with 100% natural ingredients (instant coffee, brown sugar cane and cinnamon) and no chemicals. I'm not sure which part I loved more: The sales rep, the beverage itself, or the fact that this was a Mexican product.

I purchased a bag of Cafe La Paz to make on weekends. Being the self labeled "Queen of Laziness," I wanted to see what the coffee would taste like should I follow the easiest instructions on the package, thus only making a cup with water, instead of diluting with milk. In a mug, I added about 6-8 ounces of water, 2 spoonfuls of the instant coffee and stirred the mix together. I placed my cup in the microwave for 1 minute, and upon pulling it out, I made the following observations:

  • There were no clumps of instant coffee floating on the top of the beverage (like you typically find with other brands)
  • The color evoked a rich, espresso brown color
  • The smell reminded me of cajeta (which is a pungent and delightful Mexican caramel)

The taste was great, as well. I'm always stoked when I know I don't have to add additional sugar/Splenda to a drink, and this coffee has the perfect amount of sweetness. I also love the subtle spicy kick of cinnamon, as it reminds me of home and vacationing in Mexico. I do, however, think that with the addition of milk (which unfortunately, I didn't have this morning), this beverage would be phenomenal and hopefully the hump that breaks my Starbucks addiction.

Currently, Cafe La Paz is only selling their product in the New York area. So if you're local, I highly recommend checking out this truly authentic and unique take on coffee. Viva Mexico!

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