The new breed of Budapest cafes are hip, happening and highly caffeinated. Read on to find out our favorite spots to drink third wave coffee in Hungary’s capital city.
Budapest is a city known for a cafe culture that’s as rich as the cream that flows into its coffee. Back in the day, artists and poets would meet at Budapest coffee houses to share ideas and philosophies while sipping strong brews and eating a variety of Budapest cake specialties like strudel and flodni.
Hundreds of cafes graced both sides of the Danube before two world wars and communism ravaged the city and its cafe culture. Most of the best cafes in Budapest bit the dust during these dark times – but a few survived and now offer a glimpse into the city’s gilded past.
We stepped back into this past when we visited Ruszwurm Cukrászda in the city’s historic old town on the Buda side of the river as well as New York Café and Café Gerbeaud on the trendier Pest side. And what a glorious past it was!
Let’s be real. We’re are all about third wave coffee. Whenever we arrive in a new city, our top priorities are to find locally roasted single origin coffee and streaming internet, preferably at the same place.
We’ve done this successfully in cities like Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Florence, Graz, Hamburg, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris, Porto, Rome, Strasbourg, Vilnius and Cape Town. We even found a specialty coffee shop in Naples, one of the world’s most traditional coffee cities.
If you’re wondering about the Budapest coffee scene, let’s cut to the chase and add Budapest to this success list.
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Our Favorite Budapest Cafes
We drank a lot of coffee during our caffeinated-fueled month in Budapest. Though we appreciated the historic Budapest coffee shops, we spent most of our time exploring the city’s burgeoning specialty coffee scene.
Yes, it was our personal mission to visit all of the best coffee shops in Budapest.
Based on our on-the-ground and in-the-mouth research, we recommend the following Budapest coffee bars for lovers of pretty cappuccinos and fast internet:
1. Espresso Embassy
One of the city’s original third wave coffee shops dating back to 2013, Espresso Embassy uses all of the modern extraction methods including AeroPress, V60 and Chemex, though we never regretted ordering simple flat whites from the shop’s friendly baristas. This is the coffee shop where we bought locally roasted Casino Mocca beans to brew in a Moka pot in our apartment and also the shop where we discovered freshly baked chocolate chip cookies from our favorite Budapest pastry shop, Chouchou.
If you only have time to visit one coffee shop in Budapest, Espresso Embassy is the one.
Visit the nearby St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István Bazilika) after you finish hanging out at Espresso Embassy. It’s an essential part of any Budapest sightseeing plan.
Espresso Embassy is located at Budapest, Arany János u. 15, 1051 Hungary.
2. Double Shot
Located in District VIII’s expat-friendly Újlipótváros neighborhood near Margeret Island, Double Shot lives up to its name by serving drinks with (you guessed it!) two shots of espresso. Beyond its strong coffee and sweet desserts, we dug the cafe’s modern barista techniques and cozy upstairs space.
Since the cafe opens early, Double Shot is a solid spot to start a full day of Budapest touring. Plus, as everybody knows, two shots are always better than one when it comes to both cocktails and coffee drinks.
Shop at nearby Fromage for the best selection of imported French cheese in Budapest.
Double Shot is located at Budapest, Pozsonyi út 16, 1137 Hungary.
3. Tamp & Pull
Proving those good things do indeed come in small packages, Tamp & Pull serves big coffee flavors in a tiny space. The shop feels very of-the-moment with its blackboard menu and shabby chic decor. However, there’s nothing shabby or chic about the coffee with classic espresso drinks that look like they came straight out of a third wave coffee manual.
The definition of Tamp & Pull is to pack and prepare espresso. Yeah, they got that down. Way down.
Stop by the nearby Central Market after drinking a cappuccino at Tamp & Pull. You’ll enjoy the hectic market better with the extra jolt of energy.
Tamp & Pull Espresso Bar is located at Budapest, Czuczor u. 3, 1093 Hungary.
4. My Little Melbourne
All You Need Is Coffee
When we saw the five-word sign outside My Little Melbourne, we suspected that we had found our happy place in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter. The folks at the tiny Budapest coffee shop clearly got us.
After practically inhaling flat whites at My Little Melbourne Budapest, we were convinced that the little slice of Australia in Hungary was the real deal with its properly brewed coffees, tasty pastries and healthy salads. Comfortable seating is available both upstairs and outside, though we recommend the outdoor seating (weather permitting) for its prime people-watching opportunity.
The folks behind this cafe also offer a barista school. Yes – they take coffee that seriously.
Enjoy a cappuccino or flat white at My Little Melbourne before you tour nearby Dohány Street Synagogue. It’s the grandest synagogue in all of Europe.
My Little Melbourne is located at Budapest, Gázgyár u. 3, 1031 Hungary.
Hungarian is a highly complicated language, similar only to Finnish and Estonian. We didn’t learn many Hungarian words despite a valiant effort, but we did learn the word for black – fekete – thanks to the Budapest cafe called Fekete.
Despite the cafe’s colorful name, we never drank any black coffee at Fekete. Instead, we opted for flat whites made with London’s Alchemy espresso beans. Other non-black items at Fekete include cold brews, yogurt, croque monsieur sandwiches and carrot cake.
Choose between Fekete’s sleek interior space or its cozy outdoor terrace. There’s no bad choice at Fekete Budapest!
Fekete is located at Budapest, Múzeum krt. 5, 1053 Hungary.
6. Budapest Baristas
Despite our meticulous research, we found Budapest Baristas the old-fashioned way. We bumped it to to the cafe while walking in Budapest.
We couldn’t resist getting a cappuccino at this cute cafe once we saw the display of Casino Mocca coffee beans (see Espresso Embassy above) in the window. Next time, we’re going to try the cafe’s mocha lattes and pancakes after a night out at the Budapest bars.
Budapest Baristas is just a few doors down from Fekete. Since coffee is so reasonable in Budapest, you can hit up both coffee shops as part of a Budapest coffee tour.
Budapest Baristas is located at Budapest, Múzeum krt. 15, 1053 Hungary.
7. Blue Bird Cafe
There’s no need to feel blue at Blue Bird Cafe, a third wave coffee shop in the heart of Budapest’s Jewish Quarter. If the colorful decor doesn’t cheer your spirit, then the freshly roasted beans will surely perk you up.
The Blue Bird baristas brew up coffee drinks using classic third-wave techniques and globally sourced beans. If you like the coffee here, you can buy extra beans to brew later.
Plan to save the environment another day. Blue Bird Cafe serves their coffee in disposable paper cups.
Blue Bird Cafe is located at Budapest, Rumbach Sebestyén u. 10, 1075 Hungary.
8. Vinyl & Wood
If you love classic Italian coffee, then you’ll love the coffee at Vinyl & Wood. This Budapest cafe brews coffee with Manetti beans sourced from Venice Italy.
Though we personally have mixed feelings about the Italian approach to roasting coffee, we dug the cafe’s cool vibe and big windows. We also liked the cafe’s concept of combining two of our favorite activities – shopping and drinking coffee.
Vinyl & Wood has a great selection of sunglasses. Prices are on the high side, but the shades selection is mighty fly.
Vinyl & Wood is located at Budapest, Wesselényi u. 23, 1077 Hungary.
Additional Budapest Cafes
We feel your angst if eight coffee shops aren’t enough to fuel your explanation of Budapest. With this dilemma in mind, here are additional Budapest cafes where you can drink cappuccinos, flat whites and lattes:
Budapest Coffee Shop FAQs
Yes. Coffee is popular all over Hungary and Budapest is no exception.
Expect to pay the equivalent of $2 to $3 for cappuccinos and flat whites at specialty coffee shops in Budapest. Coffees at classic cafes like New York Café cost more while coffees at kiosks cost less.
Yes. Budapest has many specialty coffee shops in addition to hundreds of traditional cafes.
Top Budapest specialty coffee shops include Espresso Embassy, Double Shot, Tamp & Pull and My Little Melbourne. Try them all plus more to find your favorite.
Yes. Budapest’s first Starbucks opened in 2010 and the city now has more than a dozen Starbucks cafes.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: January 4, 2018
Republish Date: August 13, 2020