Breakfast – Cafe da Manha

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First Published: 1st of April, 2021 by Patrick Carpen

Last updated: April 1, 2021 at 23:42 pm

In Brazil, the Portuguese expression for “breakfast” is “cafe da manha” (cah-fay dah man-yah). But let’s break those words down and see what it means.

Cafe = Coffee

da = of the

manha = morning

Coffee of the morning? That’s right. In Brazil, we don’t eat breakfast, we eat “coffee of the morning!” Strange, isn’t it? Not if you study Brazilian history and culture. Brazilian history and civilization evolved largely through coffee plantations. And yes, Brazil does produce the world’s best coffee. Brazilian coffee tastes so good that most Brazilians, and foreigners visiting Brazil, “wake up for the smell of Brazilian coffee.” That’s right, it’s not just the taste of Brazilian coffee, but the smell and mood-lifting effect of it as well that’s alluring.

Needless to say then, the first thing that most Brazilians grab when they wake up in the morning is a cup of hot, tasty, strongly brewed Brazilian coffee. And unlike in many other parts of the world where it is customary to make instant coffee by just adding hot water, Brazilians brew their coffee by boiling the coffee beans thoroughly and straining with a “coador.” It is then sweetened and placed in flasks and coffee dispensers in homes, shops, offices, and so many other places.

So, a Brazilian breakfast may consist of bread, cheese, eggs, and coffee, but it is all collectively called “cafe da manha.”

But what if coffee is not included in your breakfast. Do you still say that you had “cafe da manha”? Absolutely. Even if you had juice, bread, egg, and cheese, and no coffee, you still refer to it as “cafe da manha.” Why? Simply because that’s how the language evolved. And it gives an idea of how deeply ingrained the “coffee culture” is in the lives of Brazilians. In fact, it’s not unusual for a Brazilian to say, “Eu tomei suco para cafe da manha,” which means, “I had juice for breakfast.”

Here are some common expressions using “cafe da manha.”

Did you have breakfast already? – Você já tomou café da manhã?
What did you eat for breakfast this morning? – O que você comeu no café da manhã?
Would you like eggs for breakfast? – Você gostaria de ovos no café da manhã?
I drank a glass of juice for breakfast. – Bebi um copo de suco no café da manhã.
I don’t eat breakfast in the morning. – Eu não tomo café da manhã.
I’ll just have a cup of coffee for breakfast. – Vou tomar uma xícara de café no café da manhã.

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Denny Carpen
April 1, 2021 11:40 pm

Sounds good!