May 2014

Extract on Co€ffee

The coffee is originally from Arabia. Farming coffee was introduced in America around 1500 by Spanish conquistadors who, due to Arab influence in the peninsula, had a traditional attachment to this drink. After the conquest of America, the first plantations were introduced in Central America, careful as to not carry them over to other areas, mainly to the tropics of South America, avoiding competition. The Hispanic control over the cultivation of co¡ee would be broken by Portugal by introducing this plant to Brazilian colonies. It is then possible to assume that the first plants introduced to the Spanish colonies in South America have come from Brazil, but due to the monopoly Portugal imposed, medium-scale plantations were introduced later.

By: Walter Sánchez C.
Instituto de Investigaciones

Today you can enjoy a cup of coffee at all the cafés in Cochabamba
Photo: Walter Sánchez C.

In the 19th century, the first Bolivian plantations were started in the eastern tropics, more precisely in the old Jesuit areas of Moxos and Chiquitos. From the beginning, this drink was greatly accepted and in little time the level of the consumption was high due to its stimulation effect; energizing, but also recognized for its medicinal purposes. At the beginning of the 20th century, Placido Molina M., from Santa Cruz, who was a traveler, photographer and avid coffee drinker, praised the drink. He even dedicated a poem to coffee, which was published in illustrated edition of El Almanaque Guia del departamento de Santa Cruz, written and published by Luis Lavadenz in 1903.

In Cochabamba, information on coffee is scarce. In the first half of the XIX century, D’Orbigny makes a relevant commentary that mentions the sale of this drink in the city: “There is not only one place to drink coffee.” This changed gradually over the next years. The Municipal Ordinance on Patents of 1881, published in the Municipal Digests, emphasizes the existence of “Coffee and snack stands” that paid, according to the Municipal Patents Fees, different prices, such as: 1st class (10 Bs.), 2nd class (8 Bs.) and 3rd class (5Bs.).

There is not much registered over the next years, however, and without doubt, the taste for caffeine didn’t decline. What is evident, is that during the 1940s, there were many places where people, mainly men, could go to try different coffee.Among the more famous places were the Club Social, Plaza Hotel, the Mira Club and Café Pigalle (newspaper El Imparcial 4.II.1940). Here, amateurs, intellectuals and politicians would gather to exchange ideas and plan conspiracies. In the large market places, people would gather to taste coffee, usually accompanied by bread.

During the 1960s and 1970s, cafés around the city of Cochabamba are unknown. It seems during these years cafés were in decline as public spaces due to the appearance of the new Peña Folklórica (see Cochabanner ), where wine and other alcoholic beverages were in style. The first peña to open in Bolivia was the Peña Naira (in La Paz). In Cochabamba, the Peña Ollantay was a place for social gathering, games, folk singing, protest music and debating among young rebels and revolutionaries of the time. Even though the passion for caffeine declined in public, it didn’t decline in private homes, where it was still the preferred drink.

With the recovery of democracy and the decline of the Peña (1980), coffee begins again to gain importance within the social and intellectual life of the city of Cochabamba , mainly among intellectuals and university sectors. The “Café Bolivar” (Bolivar Street, near the corner of San Martin ), was a popular place where intellectuals, foreign World War II veterans, conspirators and academics could go to chat.

The new coffee “boom” happened during the 1990s, associated to other phenomenon: university population increase due to the growth of the San Simon University and the appearance of more than ten private universities . This reemergence gives rise to a booming city center, around calle España (España Street), where a large number of “cafes” open. These cafés de la España quickly turned into evening hangouts where cultural and musical events are promoted. Among the most important hangouts, and who have left their mark, are “Metrópoli” and “El Carajillo”. With this “boom” new cafés began to appear, creating competition among the musical and theatrical presentations which, in little time, began to take over the streets, bothering the neighbors who in turn complained about the excessive noise caused by alcohol consumption, and resulted in the cafés having to shut down indefinitely. This also caused the cultural activities in the area to decrease.

However, the taste for caffeine had already marked its place in the palates of the younger generation in the city. Using new approaches, a lot of these old cafés were reopened changing, however, their offer towards the consumption of alcoholic beverages and fast foods. Most importantly, nevertheless, is the appearance of new cafés offering coffee around the city. One place, located around the Main Plaza 14 de Septiembre, that offers a variety of coffee. Other important cafés are “Café Express” and their chain of cafés, “Cofradía”, “El Turista” and “Café Paris”. The Recoleta is another area that offers a variety of cafés. The better known cafés in this area are “Habana” and the Hotel Cochabamba’s coffee shop.

May 2014

El Café

By: Plácido Molina M. 1903

A man enjoying his coffee at a café.
Photo: Walter Sánchez C.
Quién quiera siempre estar alerta
Y su cabeza mantener despierta
Tome café.
Otra delicia como estar cantando
Y mecerse á compás y estar tomando
Jamás gocé.

Pruébelo usted y tome si hace frío
Que le traerá calor.
Que no me río Ya lo verá.
Tome si hace calor, y la frescura
Que en la mañana trae la brisa pura,
él le dará.

Si se ha enfermado, tome, óigame uste,
Una tasa de extracto de café, y al corazón,
Le volverá el contento y la salud,
Que para tal dolencia es de virtud
sin condición.

Si nos viene un disgusto, dulce salma
Levantando á las nubes nuestra alma
Nos trae el café
Que en los vapores del café, su vuelo
Remonta hasta llegar al quinto cielo,
Si créalo usté.

Si es usted escritor, no diga jota
Sin tomar una tasa gota á gota,
qué inspiración
No solo para prosa tendrá usté
Sino para poeta, tenga fe
y vea la acción.

Si es artista, político ó es cura
Al ir á teatro; Club ó sepultura
no tome té,
Chocolate ni coca, lo que valga
Ha de tomar ¿lo oye? Antes que salga
tome café.

Translated by:
Students of English Translation - San Simón University
Translation edited by: Lic. Daniela Viljoen

Calendario MAYO 2014

Todos subtitulados en español

5 de Mayo - 19h
El baile de las actrices
Directora: Maïwenn. Francia, 2009

12 de Mayo - 19h
Director: Pierre Schöller. Francia, 2008

19 de Mayo - 19h
Mañana desde el amanecer
Director: Denis Dercourt, Francia, 2009

26 de Mayo - 19h
La tierra de la locura
Director: Luc Moullet, Francia, 2010

Sábado 10 de mayo

10h Calle La Paz nº784 casi Crisóstomo Carrillo Ingreso libre

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