It’s Coffee Time

“Did the boys have their coffee this morning?”

This had to be the strangest question I had ever heard someone ask me.  After all, my boys are under three years of age.  Every time that the nanny would ask me this question, I had to do a double take until I realized what she was trying to say.

An important staple in most Latin American homes is freshly, ground coffee.  I remember growing up smelling coffee brewing in every house that I used to visit with my parents.  My dad often drank instant coffee at home, so we usually saw someone drinking it every day. 

However, I never actually got into drinking coffee myself.  On top of that, I married a guy who also doesn’t drink coffee. 

Although coffee is not an exclusive trademark of South American homes, there is a distinct difference between the use of coffee in the United States and in Latin America.  In the U.S. coffee is still primarily an “adult” drink.  Pregnant women are told to avoid it as much as possible and parents of young children are told not to give it to them. 

Here in Ecuador, parents are encouraged to begin giving their young children small tastes of coffee to help them adjust to the flavor. 

Asking someone if they “had their coffee” had become synonymous with asking if they had eaten their breakfast.  This was a tradition I had never noticed growing up here as a child, but I find it quite humorous now.  Although I now realize what they are trying to ask me when they ask if the boys have had their coffee, I still balk at responding with a “yes.”

Hey, I don’t even drink coffee, so I’m not going to feed it to my kids.


3 thoughts on “It’s Coffee Time

  1. Misty, CT

    Thank you so much for sharing this story! I still find myself balking when I see our Ecuadorian cousins letting their boys (all under the age of 10) drink coffee (usually after 5 p.m.). Your story helps me to at least understand it better; even if, I still don’t approve. I am a coffee drinker, although I am not the type of person who needs to drink it every day. Although I enjoy coffee, I will not be giving it to my children!

    1. mkmeierfamily Post author

      Yeah, what about coca cola? I see it alot (especially among the poorer people in the city). I saw a kid who must have been about a year old drinking coke straight out of the bottle.

  2. Misty, CT

    I think you raise a very good point. In reality, Coke is probably worse than coffee. I am not sure how they compare as far as caffeine. I am sure the majority of time Coke has more sugar and probably more caffeine too.

    I have never noticed how much coke people give their kids in Ecuador. I guess because it is more social acceptable here, I just haven’t paid attention. Most of my Ecuadorian family members here have been educated on the effects of caffeine and purchase caffeine free sodas. Although, I don’t think that same knowledge has transferred over to coffee.

    I use to be addicted to Coke myself. It took me almost two years to get off of it. Now, I don’t allow sodas in my house – only on rare occasions. And I only drink them on rare occasions. Majority of the time, we drink water and milk – sometimes, juice or Crystal Light.

    Last year, I watch this episode on 20/20 titled, Children of the Mountains. Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains, I know personally how true the episode was. One of the things Diane Sawyer covered was how people were addicted to sodas, mostly Sun-Drop or Mountain Dew, because there sugar and caffeine content was higher. In the show, a family gave their baby Sun-Drop in its bottle. To read more on the episode, see the link below.

    I feel the same about Coke as I do coffee, I have no plans to encourage my kids to drink either.


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