Café: Spanish Word of the Week

The meaning of café shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, however, the term often used among Argentines, feca, is sure to confuse even the best Spanish speaker. One aspect of Argentine slang (lunfardo) is simply reversing or even rearranging the letters of a word to create its slang. For instance you could order a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) in lunfardo by asking “feca con chele, porfa”. This slang is quite fun, once you know a bit of Spanish. But for beginners, it can feel almost like learning a third language!


Cafe culture is strong in BA. But (Argentines cover your ears, err eyes), the average cup of Argentine joe is not that great. Often the milk is too hot, the beans taste burnt or old or both and it’s generally drinkable only on a needs basis. However, we’ve done our research and found some amazing coffee houses and roasters right here in the city. Some of the ones that stand out are The Shelter, LAB, Lattente, Coffee Town, and of course Full City. (Special shout out to fellow expat Alan who was incredibly kind and welcoming to us when we first moved here and knew no Spanish.) Full City brings coffee beans from Alan’s father-in-law’s farm in Columbia, roasts, and sells them to other coffee shops and in their cafe. We buy a kilo about every week or two.

Some of the more common coffee orders here are cafe con leche, americano, cortado/macchiato, espresso, and, at the hipster joints, flat whites. The Italian influence is quite strong in many aspects of life, including coffee culture. After a meal, it is bit of a faux paux to order anything like a latte or cappuccino. You may get a strange look, but ultimately should be served your order. If you want to fit in like a porteño, instead opt for an espresso or cortado to accompany your postre.


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