The city of Buenos Aires is no stranger to cafe culture. So prolific is the cafe tradition that more than seventy historical coffee shops have been deemed cultural relics by the the city government. Coffee culture, however, is a whole different story. Many wake up to a fresh mate rather than a cup of joe. Instant coffee is standard in many homes. And in even the most celebrated old cafes, burned beans and watered-down brews dominate. But java-loving pioneers are changing the way that porteños caffeinate, and in the last year a small number of modern coffee shops have popped up and made baristas local stars. Here's where to enjoy the Buenos Aires coffee revolution.

LAB Tostadores de Cafe

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When you see your barista carefully measure out the coffee beans on a scale, grind them in front of you and whip out an Aeropress — a contraption unknown to locals — you know you're in a special place. LAB Tostadores de Cafe is the original nouveau coffee shop in the heart of the trendy Palermo Hollywood neighborhood. The modern white tiled space and long bar that wraps around the baristas' work space is a far cry from the traditional wood-and-marble cafes. At LAB, brewing is treated like a science and the baristas' instruments like chemistry equipment. Get in there for a flat white or an espresso shot and do not under any circumstances forget to order a chocolate chip cookie. 

Where: Humboldt 1542, Palermo, CABA
When: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
More info: +54 11 4843-1790; Facebook


Coffee Town

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One of the first on the scene, Coffee Town showed up in an unlikely spot: the famous Mercado de San Telmo, a historical fair that is one of city’s most popular tourist attractions, and a spot that's noteworthy for its traditional, old-school Buenos Aires vibes. Originally a small stand in the middle of this indoor market that takes up nearly an entire city block, Coffee Town is now a full-fledged shop and restaurant that offers simple lunch options and some of the city’s best coffee. Baristas are used to an international clientele and are known for their ability to break down all the options to even the most novice coffee drinkers. Take the house recommendation and order an espresso to enjoy the purity of a good cup. 

Where: Bolivar 976, Mercado de San Telmo
When: Daily, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
More info: +54 11 4361-0019; Facebook


Full City Coffee House

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You might be hard-pressed to grab a seat at Full City Coffee House, as it seems to be the preferred spot for local freelancers to set up shop. And it’s for good reason: This quiet, relaxed space provides a comfy atmosphere and serves up a great morning meal in a city that doesn’t do breakfast. Order a traditional cafe con leche and choose from dishes inspired by the owners' English and Colombian heritage — a plate of bacon, eggs and toast or an arepa and fresh juice with your coffee. 

Where: Thames 1535
More info: +54 11 4833-6774; Facebook



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Coffee purists flock to this small cafe located on a quiet street on the edge of Palermo Soho. It has just a few tables, a strict no-Wi-Fi policy and a traditionalist take on coffee. At LATTEnTE, the typical cafe cortado (espresso with milk) and toasted ham-and-cheese sandwiches have been swapped out for macchiatos and a Sunday breakfast pop-up where Sheikob’s Bagels takes over the sidewalk. The espresso-bagel combo is a must on a lazy Sunday.

Where: Thames 1891
When: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
More info: +54 11 4833-1676; Facebook


Negro Cueva de Café

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Brand new to the scene, Negro is a hidden gem in the busy Microcentro business district. Although this area is overflowing with cafes, once you hit Negro, no other cup of coffee will do. Grab a spot at the bar to get a front-row view of the brewing process or a quick to-go cup between meetings. And don’t forget to complement your brew with a cake; our favorite is the cinnamon apple. 

Where: Suipacha 637, Centro
When: Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
More info: +54 11 
4322-3000; Facebook

By Kevin Vaughn

When Kevin isn't writing about Buenos Aires food and culture, he's guiding travelers to Buenos Aires with his intimate arts and lifestyle tours via Buenos Aires Art Tours. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.