After four months of private deprivation, a university administrator sent an emissary to my door with a small, friendly Christmas present: a neatly wrapped bottle of instant Nescafé. My will was broken, and I drank.
As soon as I’d washed the bitterness out of my mouth from my first and last cup of instant coffee, I took the hour-long bus ride to the foreign supermarket, in the city’s most upscale shopping mall, and bought a french press. The only bean option was $40-a-pound Lavazza, roasted and ground in Italy. It wasn’t cheap or particularly convenient going back to my morning indulgence, and it certainly wasn’t an exercise in localism, but I found it was possible, and it’s becoming more so every day.