Since Starbucks started popping up all around Buenos Aires city, coffee ordering jargons like: tall, grande, venti, trenta, frappuccino, etc, have also become part of coffee drinking vocabularies. While these names and this modern way of personalizing your coffee drink are still very much a Starbucks signature, you will not find them in a local cafetería or restaurants. Instead, you are more likely to see a long list of coffee style options without clear descriptions. Therefore, we have here a little guide for you covering the most typical ones that you’ll see in a menu:
Since pretty much every café and restaurant serve expresso and not dripped coffee, when you ask for a ‘café‘, you’re actually getting espresso. A café chico is a shot of espresso in an espresso cup. In the case of café en jarrito, it’ll be a double shot in a little taller cup.
This is the most popular way the Argentines like to drink their coffee. It is a café ‘cut’ with a little warm milk and comes in an espresso cup. You could ‘modify’ this to your liking base on size. Like me, when I want to have a bit more milk in my coffee but I don’t want to drink a whole big cup (see below café con leche), I’d ask for ‘un cortado mitad mitad‘, which means half coffee half milk, and that usually comes in a jarrito (taller espresso cup). It’s actually a café con leche but in a smaller size.
Café con crema
Instead of a little milk, it’ll be a blob of cream in your shot of espresso.
Café con leche
When you order this, it’s automatically assumed that you want the big size (as seen in the main picture). The proportion of warm milk to coffee is 50-50 or mitad mitad.
You may not see this in every menu as this is not very common. However, you could just ask for it. This is the same as the typical Americano we all know, where more hot water is added to your espresso.
Cappuccino (or could be spelled Capuchino)
The cappuccino here is a stylish little drink. It’s usually served in a transparent jarrito where you can see the beautiful layers formed by the coffee, milk and then the foam on top sprinkled with chocolate powder or shavings!
Decaffeinated coffee is very very uncommon here. Places that gear more towards tourists might serve it, but in general, it’s not available at regular cafés or restaurants. So, when you just want a little bit of coffee but not the kick, this one will do it for you. This is a cup of warm milk with just a “tear” (lágrima) of coffee.
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