Venezuela gives me a migraine


(Overheard at Jeffrey’s Cafe, in Maracaibo)

Me: My migraines have been acting up ever since I got here. I think I’m not getting enough  caffeine. That tends to activate them.

My buddy: That’s probably because you’re not really drinking coffee. Coffee here is mixed in with ground peas. Some people say it’s half coffee, half dirt. You know, price controls, Cadivi, that stuff…

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. You may want to switch to tea then. You’re suffering from caffeine withdrawal. Which is generally a good reason to not chug down cup after cup after cup of coffee since your body starts getting addicted and complains when it doesn’t get it.

    • Oh, spare me the sermon, I gotta have ONE vice, no? Besides, if that’s what they do to coffee, I don’t even wanna guess what they do to tea. 😉

      • Yup. Take it from me – stay away from the tea. It’s the sweepings off the floor, what’s left after the real tea-leaves have been packaged. If you want to drink tea in Venezuela, bring it with you.

  2. Don’t try to do more than one task outside the home/office in a day, avoid banks and shopping centers, and find a good bottle of rum. That might help.

  3. How could it be half dirt? There is little dirt left; most of it has been heaped on the opposition by the same guys who run Cadivi and everything else….

    • I have this from a friend of mine that owns a Coffee Brand that hasn’t been expropriated because its too small. Basically they use ASH! You heard right, ASH! I don’t know what kind or how they mix it, or in what proportion, but its ASH!

  4. I heard that “cafe madrid” mixes coffee with coconut shells…for the reasons your friend told you. Try to never drink that s**t! There is a lot of really good quality “artisanal coffee” out there, try to support that kind of business instead… and better if its coffee beans… they cant mix coffee beans with ground peas, coconut shells, etc.. next to Jefreys there is a place called “freshco”, I think they offer better coffee.

  5. Left Venezuela 10 years ago, ALWAYS brought a couple of bags of cafe el peñon in my suitcase as gifts. Ten years latter, when my parents/friends come visit (I live in Mexico) they make sure to buy coffee here and take back. Viva la revolución….

  6. In general the best coffees now are from small, local outfits with distribution restricted to parts of the andean states. San Antonio use to be so good but now most of their grains are imported and of dismal quality. El Penon, Fama de America, etc. all the nationally distributed brands seem to have suffered the most. Curiously, the Fama de America served in Beco stores is great, but the supermarket FdeA sucks. One of the most awesome coffees ever was a special edition by Fama de America back in 1992 to commemorate 500 years of Columbus´ trip.

    With the state controlling the coffee market, as a farmer you can only sell to the state, and they pay what they wish and when they wish. No wonder coffee plantations are fading away. Ironically military brass in border areas buy coffee from the PACCA and ship it by the lorry full to Colombia to be paid real world prices.

  7. Cómprate IMI bolsa blanca letras negras. Café artesanal. De altitud. Delicioso! Lo venden (vendían en CM o excelsior y el,aeropuerto. Good luck!

  8. Mmmm….Jeffrey’s….

    Had no idea about the coffee being mixed, but that does explain why some of my friends are saying it tastes awful. Is this a hard fact with references?

  9. >>>> … Oh, spare me the sermon, I gotta have ONE vice, no? …

    Sorry Juan, coffee intake is not a vice. Why?
    Because coffee beans contain NO additives, NO preservatives.
    Coffee is always 100% natural. Coffee is the seed of the coffee
    plant (the coffee bean).
    Perked coffee may taste acidic, and can be awful. However,
    espresso is a different thing altogether. When steam is quickly
    forced through the coffee grinds, the bitterness of the coffee
    gives the tongue a welcome aftertaste that lingers for a while.
    btw vice is a practice or a behavior or habit considered
    immoral, depraved, or degrading in society.
    You are hereby pronounced vice-free.
    Sorry for this longwinded expo, I couldn’t help it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here