I’m always a little skeptical whenever the term “guru” gets thrown around in a non-spiritual environment. I either picture the Kwik-E-Mart president bit from The Simpsons or some sketchy dude who’ll light some coconut-scented candles and totally realign your chakras for $3,500 mangos an hour.
One might be even more reluctant to use the word “guru” when referring to a coffee expert, given that coffee either does nothing to you or if you’re like me, it’ll make your heart feel it’s doing a Slipknot drum solo while simultaneously transforming you into the most productive version of yourself. There’s nothing immediately zen about it aside from those couple of seconds when your freezing fingers embrace a steaming cuppa Joe.
But in all seriousness, when I sat down with Francisco Aimone (Conurbarista) and heard about his approach to coffee selection, roasting, and tasting; I kind of had to eat my words and call him a guru. I had seen his IG profile and had met him several times in different contexts but although I knew about his travels around Indonesia, Australia, and Brazil in search of new and exciting coffee roasters and world-renowned baristas, I never actually realized how this man knew his craft.
The dude lives and breathes coffee, one only needs to look at his content where he even teaches you how to roast coffee with a popcorn maker! It was no surprise he’d be the person I’d turn to when the lockdown officially finished here in Buenos Aires and really needed to know what’s new in the current coffee landscape.
As Francisco puts it, “Cafés here in Buenos Aires are a place of congregation and celebration of unity, especially in such a metropolitan city. Every day I serve people who’ve ended up stranded after the quarantine and didn’t really feel at home elsewhere. They say people inhabit 2 spaces regularly: work and home. For coffee lovers, your trusty coffee house is the third leg in the tripod that is your caffeine-infused life.”
Enter Conurbarista’s 5 Coffee Spots to get your bean on:
BIOMA – Plant-based Delights:
Proudly self-proclaimed Argentina’s’ first-ever 100% vegan specialty coffee house, BIOMA is one of Palermo’s newest coffee places. My guide mentioned how they are able to remain consistent with the coffee-making standards while remaining cruelty-free. “It’s not a gimmick, at all. They know their stuff and the best thing is they don’t charge you extra for almonds milk cause all the milk is made out of it!” said Francisco with a playful tone. The sweet treats are also a highlight, from spongy and moist budines, to flaky melt-in-your-mouth croissants, BIOMA satisfies vegans and coffee lovers alike.
Tues-Sun 10-13 hrs. & 15-19 hrs. | BIOMA | Bonpland 1920 | Palermo
Cofi Jaus – Conurbano’s Finest:
You’ll have to travel for a few minutes if you’re in CABA for this one but it’s well worth the wait. “It’s the best coffee joint outside of CABA at the moment. The decoration is a sort of love letter to coffee growers and the staff is extremely well-trained.” It was hard to contest Fran’s word when he sent me pictures of his visit to this well-hidden Munro secret. He allowed me to quote him for a La La Lista exclusive recommendation: the Red Bourbon Guatemala brewed with Chemex. What’s more, they are currently hosting coffee tasting events (with COVID protocols of course) so now is the time to save your spot if you’re willing to embark on such a journey.
Surry Hills Coffee – Buenos Aires’ Little Sydney:
“Founded fairly recently and with the aim of proliferating Aussie-style coffee, Surry Hills serves some amazing and exclusive blends including their house specialty: a deep and rich Ethiopian, Colombian and Brazilian blend that will surely kickstart your day if you’re feeling extra groggy.” Fran couldn’t stress enough how amazing the Eggs Benny are and how they’ve added their own spin on Avo Toast, some Aussie classics. Now that it’s getting progressively warmer, you’ll definitely want to go with their wide array of cold brew varieties such as the Iced Caramel Latte and the Iced Flat White. “It’s undeniably a place where you go for the coffee and stay for the people who run it. Even if you’re looking for the chilliest cold brew, you’ll find their energy is heartwarming nonetheless.”. So, whether you miss the taste of home or just wanna try out Aussie-style coffee, this is your spot. It’s got the Conurbarista seal of approval.
LATTEnTE – Specialty Coffee Pioneers:
With two coffee shops already open in Las Cañitas and Palermo, LATTEnTE has been in the business for quite some time now and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. My guru said “The quality of the beans is truly astonishing. I had a natural Nicaraguan Java cup and it’s amazing how they’ve remained consistent with their quality through the years. A little known fact is that they actually freeze the beans and thaw them whenever they need to use them. That’s a little barista secret for you right there.” Their latest shop opened recently in Belgrano. The place is aimed towards takeaway since it’s got a little window on the side if you need to get your fix and get going.
Mon-Sun 10-18 hrs. | LATTEnTE | Blanco Encalada 2457 | Belgrano
FAUNA – Coffee & Flora:
Last but certainly not least, there’s FAUNA. “This one opened literally just a couple of weeks ago and it’s both a coffee house and a plant nursery all in one. There’s been a huge spike in sales in all plant nurseries around the city so the fact that you can have an espresso made with 100% Guatemalan beans (as all their beverages are) while you’re shopping for succulents is a fun experience. The presentation is really good and you can catch the owners running about since it has opened quite recently.” The brunch options go from the classics to some nice little new additions such as brunch falafel. If you love plants and have become a parent recently, the guru doesn’t want you to sleep on this one!
Tues-Sun 10-20 hrs. | FAUNA | Malabia 1578 | Palermo