October 16, 2007

Espresso Americano goes big in La Ceiba

Espresso Americano, La Ceiba, HondurasMural at the new Espresso Americano, La Ceiba, Honduras

Espresso Americano, La Ceiba, HondurasEspresso Americano is Honduras' answer to Starbucks. They sell a variety of hot and cold coffees as well as some juices, teas, and other drinks. They also sell cookies, pastries, and cakes.

Espresso Americano has kiosks in all the malls, usually one on each floor, as well as free standing stores. Here in La Ceiba, we have a small shop in El Centro, but it doesn't have the space or ambience for sitting around enjoying your coffee.

Espresso Americano, La Ceiba, HondurasJust recently, two new mallitos (strip shopping centers) opened and one of them includes this nice big two-story Expresso Americano. Besides a large air conditioned seating area upstairs, it has a terraza outdoors where you can sit outside while you chat and enjoy your coffee.

La Ceiba, HondurasTheir prices are much less than Starbucks, but the prices have increased tremendously since we first came here in 2001. A granita de cafe (frozen coffee drink) cost L.10 (US$0.75) back then and costs L.20 now (US$1.06) − double in lempiras but not double in dollars because of the difference in exchange rate.

La Ceiba, HondurasThe view from the terraza is of the highway and the mall across the street − not spectacular, but we still enjoy sitting outside. We aren't accustomed to air conditioning anymore so sometimes it just seems too cold inside, especially when you are drinking icy cold coffee. ;-) Come to think of it, we rarely eat inside at any restaurant. Eating outside is part of the experience.

Espresso Americano, La Ceiba, HondurasThey even read my mind and have a drive through window at the new shop. Traffic and parking is so terrible in El Centro and at the mall. I know there have been a million times we would have liked to have a coffee but decided that it wasn't worth the 15-20 minutes it might have taken to find a parking place and opted for something else from a gas station instead. Not near as enjoyable!

new mall, La Ceiba, HondurasEspresso Americano is Starbucks with fewer decisions. The cold drinks only come in one size and most come pre-sweetened. They probably won't know what you are talking about if you ask for decaffeinated. I don't think they have a low fat option either, unless you request to skip the whipped cream topping that comes on some of the drinks. You can have flavorings added to some of the coffees, but forget about asking for your double-shot, low fat, decaffeinated grande.

It's not Starbucks, but it's good.
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