Buenos Aires is famous for its café culture. We caught up with local photographer Vicky Martinez, who is passionate about capturing the city’s unique coffee culture on camera, to see what she had to say about what makes the Argentine capital’s love of coffee and cafés so unique.
“If it is a specialty coffee shop, I ask for a flat white, and if it is a traditional café, I will order a double cortado, a typical coffee with espresso and just a small amount of milk. In summer, I drink a lot of iced coffee or coffeetonic.”
“In Buenos Aires, similar to what is happening in gastronomy and with the explosion of breweries, every time more premises are opened, people are more willing to explore new flavors, and then they begin to demand quality products. They are educating their palate little by little. Thankfully, despite this, the traditional cafés, bars, and restaurants are far from disappearing, so there are still lots of options to suit all tastes.”
“I really like Café Rivas. I think it’s a magical place, and it’s also in my favorite neighborhood, San Telmo, and it’s on a corner! An unbeatable place for a bar.”
“It is a very typical custom of ours to go to a café or bar and spend hours chatting with a friend or reading a book without anyone bothering us. Our city is full of bars and cafés which are our favorite places to meet people, for pleasure or work. In a café you are never alone. It’s a social event, it goes beyond drinking a shot of coffee at the bar like the Italians, or asking for a takeaway coffee: it’s socializing.”
“The most porteño (Bueno Aires native) type of coffee is the cortado (coffee or espresso with an equal amount of milk), but I think everyone should take it the way they like it. But definitely without sugar, please!”
“It speaks of a nostalgic, traditional, and friendly city. Of a society that usually goes to the usual bars and treats them as a kind of social club; they are places with a lot of life, almost like a second home. A refuge to get away from the urban chaos.”
“I love the bares notables for their architecture and history more than for their coffee, which is not always the best. If I want a really good coffee, I go to a specialty coffee shop, but if I want to sit in a café for hours and watch the urban tribe go by, just to entertain myself with the locals and listen to the conversations of the neighboring tables, or feel part of another time, I would choose to sit in a beautiful old café a thousand times over.”