Coffee culture in BsAs?

ljwander

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I'm a barista from Seattle planning an extended Uruguay/Argentina trip. I would like to work when I'm in Buenos Aires, not only to help stretch my savings but to plug into the community. I'm getting all my ducks in a row to have the opportunity to teach English, but I would love to work in a cafe making coffee. Where I live, waiting tables and making coffee are very lucrative service jobs; I know this is not the case in South America. But can anyone else shed some light on the other differences? I like the social nature of my job now, and would love it if I could meet people and network in the same way in Buenos Aires. What is the customer-barista/server relationship like? I've read on this forum to prepare yourself for bad to terrible service in comparison with the states; does this mean I'm going to have to eat shit from rude, demanding people, or will my smile and can-do attitude towards service be a refreshing change that customers would notice and appreciate?

Any and all insight into the coffee culture would be greatly appreciated. I also wonder if being a tall, white, tattooed American guy would be a novelty that would help me get a job, especially in an expat heavy area, or if it would be a hindrance.

Thanks!
 

ljwander

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I had read that already...thanks! I guess that's what I'm wondering about; I would never work in a Starbucks here. That's a really tough gig...everyone modifies the drinks so much and wants it to be the same every time. And if Starbucks is as good as it gets coffee wise, I guess I should prepare to be disappointed.
 

Ries

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Without a work visa, you cant get a legal job.
And you cant get a work visa unless you have a job first.

There are not groovy coffee bars in BsAs on every corner, like in north america- there are old, neighborhood places, with 50 year old waiters in ties and black vests, and then there are a few Starbucks.

So the possibility of just dropping in and getting a short term barista job are pretty slim.

It might be possible to get a job in the black (under the table) at an expat owned place catering to foreigners, but there are very few of those. And it would take some time to make the connections to do that.

Argentina's relationship with visitors is based on taking your money, not on paying you. Jobs are tight enough for locals, and the market here is flooded with 20 something foreigners who dont speak much spanish- if anybody wanted to hire one, they are a dime a dozen.
 

ChicagoJordan

Registered
Ries said:
Jobs are tight enough for locals, and the market here is flooded with 20 something foreigners who dont speak much spanish- if anybody wanted to hire one, they are a dime a dozen.
Well put. You will have to do some serious networking/pulling strings but nothing is impossible.
 

Ries

Registered
one more thing- Argentines DONT TIP!

So the idea that you can make decent money as a barrista here is a fantasy.

And because of the labor laws, its almost impossible to get rid of an employee, once you hire one. Ever. As in, lifetime employment.

So most businesses dont hire short term employees.

In fact, my favorite coffee bars in my barrio dont hire employees at all- they are almost all just family members.
 
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