Today I had a tiny food revelation. In the midst of another game of “things I will eat when I go back home” (the favorite game of ex-pats and study abroad kids the world over), I said, “iced coffee.” For a country in which 80 degrees leads people to start wearing scarves (really really), Senegal has in no way hopped on the iced beverage bandwagon. People are still more than happy to pop a cafe touba* for their caffeine fix.
But, in the midst of this game, I realized that every component of my coffee experience in this country is already water soluable–instant Nescafe, powdered milk, and white sugar. There was no reason I couldn’t make my own coffee.
So, I meandered on over to my local grocery store. (True fact: you are never more than 2 minutes from a place to buy food here.) I grabbed a 16 oz. bottle of water, two individual-sized Nescafe packets (like those Crystal Light things for your water bottle, but full of mediocre instant coffee), and–in a moment of excited product discovery–a packet of presweetened Vitalait (slogan: “Fatfilled sweetened milk!”).
For those curious about food pricing: the water was 350 CFA/70 cents, the coffee was 100 CFA/20 cents, and the Vitalait was 150 CFA/30 cents.
After returning to the park where I sit in the afternoons to kill time, I drank 1/5 of the water from the bottle to leave space, popped in the coffee and the fatfilled sweetened milk, and shook that sucker up. Thirty seconds later, I had something roughly the color of a bottled frappachino.
In a delightful turn of events, it tasted roughly like one, too. It was a little watery (leading me to think I should have added another coffee packet or drank more of the water), but the drink was cold and sweet and appropriately milky.
I count it as a win, even if I am headdesking about not thinking of it earlier.
* Tiny, scalding cups of coffee sold pretty much everywhere on the street.