Don’t be surprised if the taste of traditional Portuguese coffee leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. You’ve probably been served a bica – an espresso from an Arabica-Robusta blend that results in a darker roast and unfortunately results in a bitter flavour. Bica is said to be an acronym for the Portuguese phrase “beba isto com açúcar” or “drink it with sugar”, which is why you may see locals adding the sweetener from accompanying sugar packets.
In the last few years, some of the best cafes in Lisbon now serve the best coffee in Portugal. They have fast gained a reputation for providing lighter roasts and blends without the bitterness. Even some of the locals are embracing filtered coffee and pour overs! Of course, we had to find out for ourselves and we can honestly say that the future of specialty coffee in Lisbon looks promising.
FIND AMAZING SPECIALTY COFFEE IN THE BEST CAFES IN LISBON PORTUGAL
Copenhagen Coffee Lab
You can feel like you’re in Scandinavia without even leaving continental Europe. Step inside Copenhagen Coffee Lab for a Nordic experience.
One of the early pioneers of third wave coffee in Lisbon, Copenhagen Coffee Lab is a must for coffee snobs. In true Scandi style, you’ll find white table tops, stools and bench seating with a large communal table that is strictly a no-laptop zone. Silver lamps hang low, white framed sketches hang perfectly and white coffee cups serve third wave coffee.
Select from the cakes and pastries neatly presented on the counter. Coffee beans sourced from Ethiopia and Kenya are also available for sale. With an extensive coffee menu, there is sure to be something for even the fussiest of coffee drinkers. We visited the Praça das Flores cafe, however, you will find three other branches in Lisbon in Campo Santa Clara, Alfama and Alcântara.
Wish Slow Coffee House
UPDATED APRIL 2020 | Permanently Closed
Set within Lisbon’s cool LX Factory, Wish Slow Coffee House serves specialty coffee, breakfast, pancakes and ice cream. Located about halfway to Belém, we’d recommend making this a pit-stop.
Illustrations decorate the wall and funny life advice sits on the shelf behind the long bench seat. Croissants and fruit salad are served at breakfast or swing by for lunch for bagels or baked potatoes. Cheese and cold meat platters are also available for sharing (or not).
We popped in to grab an espresso on our way back to Lisbon but if you have more time, order a filter coffee and pop next door while your coffee brews to browse through a selection of stationery, homewares and clothing inside Wish Concept Store.
Fabrica Coffee Roasters & Coffee Shop
Another leader in the specialty coffee in Lisbon, Fabrica has two sites across town for you to enjoy their third wave coffee. The roastery on Rua das Portas is one street back from the chic Avenida da Liberdade. Take a break from shopping and grab a seat outside in the sunshine if you can.
Rua das Flores features wooden crates as seats, low hanging lamps and squishy sofas. Merchandise including coffee beans are available for sale. If travelling with a fellow coffee connoisseur, we can recommend the V60 for two.
TIP: This isn’t the place to write your next novel (sorry J.K. Rowling) as laptop work is discouraged and no wifi is provided. Take a break from your screens and don’t post on Insta here. Sit back, find a seat on the sofa and enjoy your single origin blend.
Any travel experience would be remiss if we didn’t find at least one café with Australian roots serving up specialty coffee. Luckily for us, The Mill is where you can find the perfect flat white to go with your vegemite toastie, making this cafe one of the top spots for the best breakfast in Lisbon too. The toasties are rather small but are available all day. Some salads and healthy smoothies are also on the menu.
Seating consists of few round tables, a long bench table in the middle and one window bench from which you can watch the famous yellow 28 tram rumble by. The 100% Arabica beans are roasted in Estrela and changed each month. If you miss the morning coffee run, swing by in the late afternoon where the Mill serves Portuguese wine and tapas. Reservations are not accepted.
Our final stop on our Lisbon coffee journey was at Hello, Kristof. Just a few doors down from The Mill, this corner café only has seating for around 20 people. A large bench table stretching in the middle of the shop with three geometric-top square tables along the windows. Concrete floor, exposed white walls and suspended light bulbs make for a light airy space.
Dedicated to coffee and small bites, the coffee beans are roasted at the Academia do Café. Grab a beautiful magazine from the back wall to peruse as you sit to enjoy your brew. Closed on weekends.