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Jan 20, 2014 12:25 PM

Cream for coffee

What do you look for in the market when you want something akin to half-and-half or cream for coffee? We've never figured out what it is -- "crema" got us something sour-cream-like, which is really not good in coffee.

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  1. I think you're looking for media crema which comes canned.

    3 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      We did try that -- it was close, I was just wondering if I was missing something else due to my rudimentary Spanish.


      1. re: lsmutko

        Media crema (in cans or tetrapak) isn't really very much like half and half, as you have already discovered.

        Once in a blue moon I see half and half at Chedraui Selecto in Polanco (next to Costco), but that's only once in a blue moon.

        We use Clavel (Carnation Evaporated milk) and have learned to like it a lot. The consistency is similar to half and half and it gives the same body and color--and a similar flavor--to your coffee. Clavel is available everywhere.


      2. re: DiningDiva

        Media crema is something totally different. It's more like British Double cream. Definitely not for coffee--it will break in the heat. It's used for desserts mostly.

      3. Spending 7-10 days in DF in March, so before I go I'm going to try a little experiment and thin out media crema with Clavel until I get the right ratio. Media crema's too thick, and I find Clavel much too thin, probably because it has been skimmed before it's reduced. I'm fortunate to live in a part of the US where media crema is a supermarket staple and not too expensive.

        If I hit on the right proportion, I'll pass it along.

        4 Replies
          1. re: lsmutko

            I'm going to keep an eye out for Lyncott products, thanks to those who mentioned the brand.

            I'm currently drinking a cup of Peet's Major Dickason's Blend, which is a pretty dark roast, to which I added a tablespoon of Nestlé's media crema and a tablespoon of Clavel.

            It's delicious, a bit more like drinking coffee with 36% cream, or what's sometimes called "light whipping cream," but very pleasant.

            If my memory is right, most Mexican household coffee (and when I'm there, I'm buying Punta del Cielo) isn't typically roasted nearly as dark, so a different ratio might be called for in-country.

            Thanks everyone for the good advice on brands and preferences!

            1. re: lahtiji

              Another reason why most (most--not all--I've found a few exceptions) Mexican coffee sucks is they use Robusta, not Arabica. Even when they roast them, they're still lacking. Took me a while to figure it out. A coffee plantation owner filled me it. They export the Arabica and keep the Robusta for the domestic market.

              1. re: hankstramm

                That makes sense. Until I found Punta del Cielo (which now is available in many supermarkets), I had wondered why Mexican coffee was so well-regarded elsewhere.

        1. Actually, I like Clavel better than half and half (the generic half and half sold in the US). I do prefer real half and half, which I have to hand mix, which I never do.

          Buy a can of clavel, works just fine unless you're an ingredient snob. See this thread then:

          2 Replies
          1. re: hankstramm

            When at home and I I want milk in my coffee (rarely), I use Nido Leche Entera en Polvo. It is really a valuable addition to my kitchen pantry. (I use it mostly in baking and sometimes in "cream" soups.

            1. re: hankstramm

              How one takes one's coffee is so intensely personal. I'm so reliant on color as the key to the right amount of half-and-half that I could add an entire can of Clavel and never get it, regardless of the mouthfeel.

              I use Nido when making yogurt and baking bread, so I'll try that as well.

              Any experiment where I get to drink more coffee is all right by me.

            2. In Puerto Vallarta we have lots of Lyncott half and half. I find it has a little more of a caramel flavor than that in Toronto. So I still dilute whipping cream to get a more familiar flavor.

              3 Replies
              1. re: mexivilla

                Ok, couldn't remember what it was called. Lyncott (I think) is the brand of whipping cream you find in Mexico City--white and red packaging. The whipping cream has added stabilizers, so I've never used it in coffee.

                1. re: hankstramm

                  Lyncott in Mexico makes all things dairy: whipping cream, half and half, cottage cheese, etc. I buy the whipping cream and the cottage cheese, but the last time I saw actual half and half here in Mexico City was about a year ago. I've stopped caring, to tell you the truth. Clavel is fine with us.


                  1. re: cristina

                    I was just in Puerto Morelos and they had the Lyncott half and half at the resort store.