skip to Main Content

Coffee culture in Argentina and why we love the Expanish coffee machine

The coffee culture in Buenos Aires is one of my favorite things about the city.  When porteños (Buenos Aires natives) have coffee they go to a café, sit down and slowly drink it maybe while talking with friends, reading the paper or studying.  Many foreigners, including myself, are used to the on-the-go coffee that you drink from travel mugs or paper cups.   Grabbing a to-go coffee at Starbucks and rushing to work is the norm in my home country (the United States), so coming to Buenos Aires was a great change in terms of my coffee addiction.  I have learned to greatly appreciate the quick 20 minute coffee while I read the paper and the 2-hour coffee/gossip sessions I have with friends.

Here at Expanish Spanish School we have a coffee machine in the student common area with a variety of Argentine coffees.  I am officially addicted to this coffee as it is MUCH cheaper than getting a coffee at a café, or even at McDonalds, and it is in the same building I work in, so it feeds my coffee addiction whilst appealing to my laziness.  During my daily Expanish coffee machine fix, I always wonder if our students felt the same way and if they had certain preferences like me.  For example, in the morning I always prefer a stronger coffee, while in the afternoon I prefer something a little bit sweeter.  Do our students think this much our their coffee choices as well, or do I just think about this too much?  So I decided to conduct a short survey to see who drinks our coffee and what is the favorite choice overall.

To give you some vital background information, the coffee machine has eight options that appeal to everyone from coffee newbies to the coffee elite.  They reflect similar drinks that one can fine in cafés throughout the city.  They are the following:

  • Café corto – Quickly filtered coffee for a smoother taste
  • Café largo – Slowly filtered coffee for a stronger taste
  • Cortado – Espresso topped off with a bit of milk
  • Café con leche – The famous café con leche (coffee with milk)
  • Cappuccino – No explanation needed 😉
  • Chocolate – Hot chocolate
  • Te al limón – Lemon tea
  • Choco leche – Hot chocolate with milk

With these options, do people just default to the café con leche?  Does anyone actually order a lemon tea?  I passed by each class and had students fill out a short anonymous survey asking whether or not they drink the coffee and, if so, what is their favorite.

Of our student population, 68% of our students say they drink the coffee from the coffee machine, which is good to hear.  The 32% who do not, are those who do not drink coffee, who bring their own or

who just do not like it.  Here is a really incredible graph that I made of the complete results:

As you can see, the clear winner is the cappuccino with about 42% of our students votes (this is also my favorite!!!).  A close second is the café con leche (29%) and you can clearly see that no one seems to prefer the café corto, the cortado or the te al limón.

My advice?  I recommend trying them all (even the te al limón!) to see what your favorite is.  You can then drink each one slowly while reading the paper, studying or chatting with friends in our student common area.  It is just another way to experience Argentine culture.

Oh, and whilst we’re on the topic of coffee…here is my favorite Argentina coffee commercial and the follow up