With an open door with two tables blocking the entrance to the house, one of Porto’s many pastry shops is still selling bread and other essentials. One of the employees positions herself next to the improvised barrier that is waiting for customers. There is one who approaches and says with all possible modesty between her teeth: “There are four”. On the other hand, in order to neglect the investment of the human being, any secrecy is disregarded and one hears aloud: “Four what? Four coffees? “. With the expression of someone who felt they were part of the most dangerous Mafia network in and around the Invicta, with a certain embarrassment in the mix, the man nods in agreement. “I’ll call now to get it,” they reply.
Since the beginning of the second delivery in January there has been no cimbalino or beak on the street. There is no coffee for anyone in catering establishments that keep their doors open. Neither to take away nor in the wicket of restaurants, cafés or bakeries – at least in theory. But in a country where 80% of the Portuguese consume coffee (data from the Coffee Industry and Commerce Association), many of whom do so outside the home, as the Portuguese do, following a routine so ingrained in our culture break? Apparently they can’t do it outside of the home. But in practice you have to do it. The race for the “traffic” of coffee started badly, a new restriction was enacted that is to apply until the restrictions are lifted. Taking advantage of some exceptions, or using the trust of a more adventurous trader, there are those who manage to get their espresso to drink gatherings.
This is the case of Manuel Teixeira, who during his lunch break drinks one of the coffees that his colleague had just ordered with discretion. A claim that ended had proven unsuccessful in the neighboring house. He leans against a wall with the plastic cup in hand and complains about the “gymnastics” that he has been forced to do in recent months in order to perform a ritual that he has maintained for many years. “I drink three coffees a day, one in the morning, one at noon and one in the evening,” he says. How did you manage to keep doing this? “In the morning I can order gas pumps near my house. At lunch, I get along with one or the other place where they know me. I drink at home at night, ”he says.
When you don’t drink coffee you say “you feel sick”. However, he argues that if coffee had not been added to the list of items that cannot be sold, he is unnecessarily submitting to this type of “clandestine activity”. “I even understand alcoholic beverages because they bring people together. But coffee is drunk immediately. It asks, drinks and leaves. Or they could even sell it in plastic cups, ”he suggests, holding an empty one.
Eduardo Silva drank the same number of coffees a day – three. The detention came and he stopped taking it, right? Not correct. So you also go to a facility where the machine is still switched on for some customers? No. You don’t have to count on someone to help make the process easier. So how do you drink at least three coffees a day? “It’s easy. I go to the subway station and go to the machine,” he explains. “There’s a can, coffee, everything. Just put the coin.” I had already gone there as a couple.
Another fortune is a group of professionals who smoke in front of the workplace entrance before returning to work after the break. It’s not an issue that makes a difference to them. Inside there is a coffee machine for employees.
“Those who work outside the home are needed”
“Don’t rely on me to sell coffee,” says Aníbal Fonseca, owner of Pão Quente Muralhas do Olival, as he registers another take-away meal at the cash register. “I’ve turned the machine off since we were arrested,” he says. There are many who will ask if there is nothing that can be done. The answer says it’s always the same: “I can’t. I don’t want to have any problems with the authorities. ”
It’s not a primary source of income, but at the end of the day “you can always see the difference in the box”. He believes that an agreement could be reached and an exception made for the sale of coffee. “That was possible. It was included in the take-away exemptions, ”he shoots.
Vítor Aleixo from Cafetaria dos Clérigos agrees with this solution. “It took and went,” he says. But it is not against the possibility that people can drink on the premises, but abroad. The ban on selling coffee primarily affects those who continue to work outside the home – those who cannot remain teleworking.
And that’s why in another part of town there are those who continue to sell, but in a “controlled way”. We are told that they mostly do it in the early morning when there is not much exercise. Customers are mostly people who work nearby. However, after lunch they guarantee not to sell any further. “The machine is switched off”.
In another institution there are those who absolutely disagree with the measure. You can smell coffee in the air in the room, even with the mask on. There are those who ask for you. The owner takes it out asap to position himself just behind the door to make sure the customer has a rested coffee with no problems with authorities for either party. “It seems we are running away from PIDE,” we hear. The owner does not agree with the restriction, but also guarantees that he has mostly given the coffee machine a break. “I only serve those who I know and with certainty, so that no one joins,” he assures.
What is strange for the “caffeine addict” – in the Castilian expression – is to be able to drink anywhere, be it a gas pump or an institution that has a coffee machine that works with coins. Your location is valuable information for those who cannot pass without the dark liquid. “Oh, now I can’t even have a coffee, but I’ve already found a seat,” says a taxi driver from Lisbon, proud of her knowledge of picking up at the São Francisco de Xavier hospital “.
Maria Felisbela Magalhães, who was waiting at the counter of Muralhas do Olival for a soup that she had ordered for lunch, has further difficulties in satisfying this habit. One of the first things I did when I got off the bus was to get a basin. “I’ve always been to a different café that also belongs to these gentlemen,” he says. “Now I don’t know where to take it,” he adds.
He does not agree with the restriction, but “what means” he must adhere to. He continues to drink three coffees a day, but now he no longer does it on the street. “Now I have to do it at home in a dull coffee maker. Sometimes I do it in another one with a basin, ”he shoots. He says he “doesn’t know the same thing” but right now it’s the only solution he says he has. He counts the days to the point of indeterminacy and says that he longs for better days: “I really want to sit on a terrace and drink a pool”.