Table of Contents
- Our Favorite Lisbon Cafes Serving Specialty Coffee
- Plan Your Lisbon Stay
- Thirsty for More Coffee?
- Pin It for Later
- About the Authors
- Learn European Portuguese
Cafes may have revised their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Some may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check cafe websites for updated information.
When we first visited Lisbon in 2007, Lisbon was just emerging as a tourist destination and its third wave coffee movement was still in its infancy. Though we were satisfied with Portuguese coffee served at traditional cafes like the counter at Pasteis de Belém during that initial visit, we wanted more when we returned in 2018.
Spoiler alert – we’ve found enough high quality, craft coffee in Lisbon to keep us both caffeinated and happy.
It’s no secret that specialty coffee is our preferred drug of choice. Since we drink it every day of the week, access to good coffee was a key factor in our decision to move to Lisbon.
Sometimes we drink our daily fix at a Lisbon cafe along with brunch and other times we brew a pot of filtered coffee at home. The caffeine jolt energizes us while the refined flavor satisfies our discerning palettes.
Brief History of the Lisbon Cafe Scene
It wasn’t always this way in Lisbon. Although the city’s coffee culture dates back to the 18th century when Portugal first imported Robusta and Arabica beans from former colony Brazil, the Iberian country’s affection for modern coffee is a more recent development.
For centuries, Lisbon locals convened at neighborhood cafes to sip darkly roasted cups of espresso with friends at all times of day from morning to night. Many Lisbonites still follow this practice today, often combining their coffee with an über-popular Portuguese egg tart known as Pastel de Nata and spirited conversation.
Classic Lisbon cafes stick with tradition and serve commodity coffee mass-produced by companies like Delta Coffee and Sical. On the upside, this type of coffee in Portugal is cheap – often costing under a euro for an espresso.
However, as the expression goes, ‘you get what you pay for.’ Bica, the popular name for a Portuguese shot is commonly drunk with 2 packs of sugar to counteract the drink’s bitter, burnt flavor. You can pay as little as € 0.60 for a shot. As for us, we’d rather not drink swill.
Modern, new-wave coffee roasters roast their beans light to medium – the beans are never over-roasted to a ‘burnt’ consistency. Not only do specialty roasts taste good, but they also contain many positive properties such as the caffeine ‘pick me up’ that are roasted out of old-world coffee blends.
Given the choice, we typically choose to pay a bit more for quality when we visit coffee shops in Lisbon. Craft coffee is not cheap, costing twice as much or more compared to the commodity stuff. That being said, specialty coffee in Lisbon is a relative bargain compared to the cost in other European cities.
Our Favorite Lisbon Cafes Serving Specialty Coffee
Lisbon may have been late to join the third wave movement but the city has now claimed a spot at the party. As we learned while attending the inaugural Lisbon Coffee Fest in March 2019, the city is brewing with good coffee. The city has both public cafes roasting coffee as well as stand-alone roasters producing coffee for direct sale.
Living as Lisbon locals, we’ve consumed enough cappuccinos and flat whites to become self-proclaimed experts on the topic of where to drink the best specialty coffee in Lisbon. These are our picks for the best cafes in Lisbon for digital nomads and coffee connoisseurs:
Milkees deceives with its simply decorated location on a nondescript block in São Sebastião near Lisbon’s El Corte Inglés. Thanks to passionate owners Alexandre Freitas & Joāo Pedro Erthal, the sophisticated cafe is a must-visit for specialty coffee aficionados drinking their way through Lisbon.
Sourcing quality local products, Freitas and Erthal serve bread from Gleba and produce from various top quality markets like Mercado Biológico do Principe Real and Mercado 31 Janeiro. They currently buy coffee from two local roasters, Olisipo Coffee Roasters and RoastBerry Coffee Lab (see both below).
It goes without saying that the cafe’s namesake dairy product is also local. The duo uses fresh milk both in crafting coffee and baking delectable pastries.
The Milkees menu never disappoints us whether we eat tomato pesto sandwiches, hummus with pita or squash soup with gorgonzola. However, Erthal’s cookies are easily the cafe’s main attraction. The Michelin-trained chef loads his cookies with big chocolate chips and sprinkles them with fleur de sel flakes.
Milkees is quickly becoming our local favorite when we want to work in a friendly environment. We enjoy the cafe’s excellent coffee, satisfying food and attentive service.
Milkees is located at Rua São Sebastião da Pedreira 51C, 1050-206 Lisboa, Portugal.
Olisipo Coffee Roasters
“For The Love of Coffee”
Olisipo would top our list of Lisbon cafes except for one issue – the specialty roastery operates as a cafe for just four hours each week. But that’s okay. The limited schedule just means that coffee geeks need to plan their Saturday afternoons around a coffee break in Lisbon’s Ajuda neighborhood.
Anthony Watson and Sofia Gonçalves opened Olisipo in 2018 inspired by their joint love of coffee. Committed to both the local Lisbon neighborhood and the ‘neighborhood’ of coffee drinkers, the duo has created a cozy space where coffee enthusiasts are warmly welcomed.
Watson traveled the world, an adventure that included a homestay at an Ethiopian coffee farm, before relocating from London with Gonçalves. Striking photos from his journey adorn Olisipo’s walls.
When you visit Olisipo, expect to drink coffee made with single-origin beans sourced from South American countries like Brazil, Honduras and Peru as well as Eastern hemisphere countries like Burundi and Ethiopia. Housemade cold brew goes down extra easy on hot summer Saturdays.
Although Olisipo’s location is off the Lisbon tourist trail, coffee fans can easily walk up the hill from Alcântra or take an Uber. The reward for this small effort is what we consider to be the best coffee in Lisbon.
Beyond coffee, Olisipo serves tea and beer. Those who enjoy both coffee and beer can kill two birds with one stone by drinking A.M.O. beer brewed with Olisipo coffee.
Olisipo Coffee Roasters is located at Rua do Cruzeiro 84, 1300-167 Lisboa, Portugal.
RoastBerry Coffee Lab
We hightailed it to RoastBerry Coffee Lab after hearing about the Alcântara cafe from a Lisbon barista of Russian descent . Apparently, Russians love specialty coffee and own several shops in Lisbon. Who knew?
Open since November 2019, RoastBerry Coffee Lab has quickly developed a reputation due to its serious approach to roasting and brewing quality beans as well as for its clever roster of chilled drinks. Many of these drinks combine cold brew with exotic ingredients like condensed coconut milk and lemongrass.
After drinking a ‘barista edition’ flat white crafted with Colombian geisha beans and a ‘Thai dispatch’ cold brew, we were hooked. We later returned with our laptops in tow and tried more drinks.
Beyond specialty coffee and despite its name, RoastBerry Coffee Lab serves an extensive selection of specialty tea and a small but mighty brunch menu. Maybe it should be called RoastBerry Lab instead.
RoastBerry Coffee Lab is located at Rua Professor Machado Macedo bloco D shop B, 1300-611 Lisbon, Portugal.
We discovered The Mill in the spring of 2018 and have since returned dozens of times thanks to the popular cafe’s excellent coffee, tasty food and friendly service. In fact, The Mill is a go-to location during the winter when fewer tourists jam the cafe on a daily basis.
Opened by Aussies who relocated to Lisbon, The Mill blends Australian cafe fare like avocado toast with Portuguese ingredients like piri-piri peppers. Menu options include toasties, bowls and eggs as well as bigger brunch plates.
With its fair prices and chill vibe, The Mill is often crowded from early morning until it closes in the late afternoon. If you have time, linger with a glass of wine or piece of cake. However, if you’re planning to do a bit of work, be aware that computers are only permitted at the cafe’s long communal table.
The Mill is located at Rua do Poço dos Negros 1, 1200-335 Lisboa, Portugal. The Mill has a second location in nearby Ericeira as well.
Buna Specialty Coffee Shop
Buna is a São Sebastião cafe that treats specialty coffee with ultimate respect. Co-owner Anna Santos displayed this respect when she introduced us to the variety of coffees on offer at the small-but-worthy Lisbon cafe.
The variety of coffee available at the petite cafe is one surprise; the other is its location near El Corte Inglès on a street filled with businesses and wide sidewalks. Not just a walkway, the expansive sidewalk provides additional space where guests can enjoy Buna’s coffee and selection of healthy menu options.
Santos sources beans from Barcelona-based Nomad. After working as a barista in Portland, she selected the Spanish roastery over local options based on her respect for the beans and her preference for filtered coffee.
Though Buna has only been open since March of 2019, the cafe is quickly building respect within the Lisbon coffee community. One visit is enough to catch Santos’ passion for the flavors and complexity found in specialty coffee. However, if you’re like us, you’ll want to return to try all of Buna’s bean offerings and coffee styles.
Buna Specialty Coffee Shop has two locations. The original cafe is located at Avenida Ressano Garcia 43A, 1070-234 Lisboa, Portugal.
A relatively new entrant to the Lisbon specialty coffee scene, Neighbourhood opened shop in September 2019. This Santos cafe adds an exciting element to the mix with its proper ristretto shots and Australian sensibility.
Owner Ricky Foran shared with us that his baristas are not exactly coffee nerds but rather brew what they like. After tasting Neighbourhood’s smooth, rich style of cappuccino, we like what they like.
This Lisbon cafe uses beans sourced from London’s The Roasting Party for its espresso-based drinks. Check at the cafe for filtered bean options.
Neighbourhood is located at Largo do Conde Barão 25, 1200-163 Lisboa, Portugal.
The name Hello, Kristof is ironic considering that the Portuguese owner’s first name is Ricardo. Shouldn’t this Lisbon cafe be called Hola, Ricardo instead?
However, there’s nothing ironic about the intimate cafe inspired by its Scandinavian brethren. The design is minimalist, the space is cozy and the coffee is impeccably crafted to order.
Irony aside, Ricardo Galésio designed his version of the ideal cafe when he opened Hello, Kristof in 2016. The small room features a long communal table as well as a few small tables where people can chat or read magazines that line the cafe’s back wall. One table bans laptops, but computers are allowed at others.
As for coffee, Galésio sources beans from top European roasters. He was serving London’s Kiss the Hippo for espresso drinks and Copenhagen’s La Cabra during our most recent visit.
Hello, Kristof is located at Rua do Poço dos Negros 103, 1200-337 Lisboa, Portugal.
Proving that the Lisbon coffee scene is constantly changing, popular Cafe de Finca changed ownership in 2019 and is now called Selva Lisboa. Despite these changes, co-owner Marek Bronstring has assured us that Selva’s trio of new owners is committed to serving quality specialty coffee at the cosy two-story Alcântara cafe.
Although the new owners have replaced the previous Barcelona roaster with beans locally roasted at Olisipo Coffee Roasters (see above), baristas continue to craft flat whites and cappuccinos as well as prepare pour overs using AeroPess, Chemex and V60 devices. In terms of food, the menu features fresh, healthy options like smoothie bowls and toasties.
Selva is located at Rua Luís de Camões 112 A, 1300-361 Lisboa, Portugal.
Bloom Coffee Room
Proving that there’s no such thing as too many specialty coffee shops in Lisbon, Bloom Coffee Room quickly made its mark after opening across the street from the Parque metro stop in November 2019. But what makes this cafe different from the pack?
First and foremost, owner Nikita Pirokgov brings a refreshing enthusiasm that exudes both from his words and his actions. He crafts each coffee using modern techniques and the best available beans. Plus, he’s an engaging conversationalist.
That leads us to the second differentiator. Unlike most Lisbon coffee shops, Bloom independently sources its beans from top European roasters. During our last visit, we spotted bags from Berlin’s Fjord Coffee Roasters and The Barn as well as Lisbon’s WOW Coffee Roasters.
Bloom Coffee Room is located at Avenida António Augusto de Aguiar 22A, 1050-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
Fábrica Coffee Roasters
Open since 2015, Fábrica Coffee Roasters has been serving some of the best coffee in Lisbon since the roastery opened its first cafe in the Avenida neighborhood. Fast forward and Fábrica now has two cafes in Lisbon plus a location up north in Porto.
Both Lisbon cafes have an urban, funky vibe that reminds us of spots we’ve frequented in cities like Portland and Cape Town. The coffee is comparable as well. Fábrica serves a variety of options for lovers of both espresso-based drinks and pour overs.
In addition to freshly roasted coffee available in cups or by the bag, Fábrica sells light cafe fare and baked goods like pasteis de natas and chocolate brownies. Coffee fans can often smell beans roasting in the back of the cafe.
We’d probably frequent Fábrica more often if the two Lisbon cafes offered free internet. Instead, we stop at Fábrica when we need a coffee break when we’re doing errands in Chiado. The service is friendly, and the shop provides a comfortable respite from Lisbon’s touristic hordes.
Fabrica Coffee Shop is located at Rua das Flores 63, 1200-193 Lisboa, Portugal.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab and Bakery
Danish-based Copenhagen Lab opened its first Lisbon coffee shop in 2015. Considering that Scandinavians consume more coffee than any other people around the world, it’s no surprise that this Nordic coffee shop is a leader in Lisbon’s third wave movement.
Popular with Lisbon digital nomads, Copenhagen Lab roasts its beans in Denmark and serves them in a variety of espresso-based drinks and pour overs in its original Principe Real location as well as in newer cafes located in neighborhoods like Alcântra, Alfama, Cais de Sodré and Santa Clara. Offerings beyond coffee include sandwiches, salads and pastries.
We recommend pairing your coffee with a cinnamon bun. This pastry rarely disappoints in Scandinavia as we personally discovered in Finland, Norway and Sweden. Before you leave, buy a loaf of homemade sourdough or rye bread to enjoy later.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab and Bakery has multiple locations in Lisbon as well as in cities like Copenhagen, Düsseldorf and Duisburg.
Off the tourist track in the business district just off Marques de Pombal, this Lisbon cafe offers a comfortable space to drink coffee and work. While the epic statue in the nearby square celebrates the man who helmed the city’s rebirth after the devastating 18th-century earthquake, Simpli celebrates good coffee for everybody six days a week.
Drinking coffee at Simpli is a full sensory experience starting with the taste of house-roasted specialty beans sourced from Central and South America as well as Africa. Sounds of music stream through the comfortable space and scents of roasting beans often waft from the back of the cafe. A friendly crew of international coffee professionals completes the experience.
Beyond Simpli’s coffee, the cafe serves a food menu that includes pastries, excellent house-baked bread and a rotating lunch menu with items like soup, focaccia, sandwiches and Portuguese dishes. This Lisbon coffee shop also sells bags of roasted beans, both whole and ground to order.
Simpli Bakery & Coffee has two locations. We frequent the original location at Rua Braamcamp 64, 1250-096 Lisboa, Portugal.
Cafe Dede’s became a favorite Lapa neighborhood brunch spot when we stayed at a nearby Airbnb apartment in 2018. Reminiscent of Australian cafes, this Lisbon cafe serves exciting global cuisine and specialty coffee in a friendly, comfortable setting.
Married owners Agne “Dede” Costa and Rhi Pulford run the cafe with a passion for local, seasonal ingredients. Dede cooks specialties like Okonomiyaki and Berry Pancakes while Pulford runs the front of the house with precision. They procure beans from Porto’s 7g Roaster and serve their flat whites and cappuccinos with small sweet treats – a welcome extra touch.
Cafe Dede’s has two locations. The original cafe is located at Rua de Sant’Ana à Lapa 33, 1200-796 Lisboa, Portugal.
The Royal Rawness
The aroma of freshly roasted coffee flows through the air at The Royal Rawness. Not only do baristas prepare coffee with the Lisbon cafe’s gleaming La Marzocco machine, but employees roast coffee beans sourced from South America, Asia and Africa at the rear of the cafe.
Located in Lisbon’s rapidly gentrifying Marvila neighborhood since early 2019, the cafe has an airy vibe and space for people to work, eat and drink coffee. A long wooden table fills the center of the room, offering a communal space for those looking to mingle with old or new friends.
The Royal Rawness offers a full menu with loads of breakfast, brunch and lunch items. More adventurous diners will want to order a super salad or artisanal fish pot along with a colorful smoothie or healthy detox shot. However, there’s nothing wrong with sipping crafted coffee with comforting pancakes or french toast.
The Royal Rawness is located at Praça David Leandro da Silva 2, 1950-131 Lisboa, Portugal.
Located near the popular Time Out Market, COMOBA is a stylish cafe that serves a healthy menu in addition to a selection of specialty coffee and pastries. This Lisbon cafe sources local ingredients and serves Outpost coffee beans from London.
Despite being situated in a historic building, COMOBA offers a modern menu filled with items appropriate for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diners. Think chia porridge and smoothies as well as fish tacos and breakfast burritos. For us though, COMOBA’s main draw is its specialty coffee program and cake, both ideal for a mid-afternoon break after touring around Lisbon.
COMOBA is located at Rua de S. Paulo 99, 1200-109 Lisboa, Portugal.
Dear Breakfast lives us to its name with a menu filled with a variety of breakfast items including all manner of eggs plus smoothies, pancakes, croissants and yogurt parfait. Not just available in the morning, breakfast is served all day, every day at this Lisbon cafe.
Although Chef Raquel Patronilho takes breakfast seriously, Dear Breakfast retains a sense of whimsy with its clean design aesthetic and added elements like candles and fresh flowers. Open since 2017 in Sao Bento, the cafe’s windows open to one of Lisbon’s many cobblestone sidewalks.
Coffee doesn’t take a back seat at Dear Breakfast. The cafe serves drinks like cappuccinos and lattes with the option of ordering a pink version of the latter.
Not to be confused with a standard latte, Dear Breakfast’s caffeine-free pink latte’s primary ingredient is beetroot juice. The taste is familiar yet unique with a hint of minerality.
Dear Breakfast has two Lisbon locations. We frequent the original cafe located at Rua Gaivotas 17, 1200-719 Lisboa, Portugal.
Bettina & Niccolò Corallo
Sometimes we’re thirsty but not in the mood for coffee. It’s rare but it happens. For times like those, Bettina & Niccolò Corallo offers a hot chocolate option that makes us swoon.
Chocolate lovers don’t have to drink their passion at Bettina & Niccolò Corallo. They can also eat bars, brownies and sorbet made with chocolate produced at the family’s estate located in Africa’s São Tomé and Príncipe.
Bettina & Niccolò Corallo is located at Rua da Escola Politécnica 4, 1250-096 Lisboa, Portugal.
Additional Lisbon Cafes
Plan Your Lisbon Stay
Pin It for Later
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.