Specialty coffee drinkers who travel to Porto will be delighted to find third wave coffee on both sides of the Douro. Read on to discover the best Porto coffee shops serving cappuccinos, espressos and pour overs.
Coffee is easy to find in Porto. However, it’s not all great. Hear us out…
For starters, there’s the historic Café Majestic which has been serving cups of joe in its ornate Art Nouveau dining room since 1921. We drank coffee here during our 2007 honeymoon as did J.K. Rowling when she lived in Porto.
There’s no debate that it’s a glorious space. However, the historic cafe’s coffee can best be described as old school and expensive. We say go for the experience. But, if excellent coffee is your thing, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Then there are newer spots like The Coffee House Experience which serve coffee brewed with commodity beans sourced from Portuguese conglomerates like Delta and Sical. The same goes for the city’s many pastelerias (bakeries) which put more effort into baking tasty treats than into brewing excellent coffee.
We get the temptation to order a simple cafe (espresso) or a milky meia de leite to go with an eclair or two at Leitaria da Quinta do Paco and we’d do the same if Porto pastelerias served artisan coffee. But they don’t. When it comes to great coffee in Porto, we and you have to drink elsewhere.
Discover more Portuguese pastries to eat at pastelerias in Porto and other Portuguese cities.
Our Lisbon home base has more than two dozen specialty shops serving the kind of specialty coffee drinks that fuel our souls. But we had our doubts about Porto. Does the smaller city, which is better known for its port wine houses and restaurants, have a similar specialty coffee culture?
After making multiple trips to Portugal’s second biggest city, the answer is clear. And that answer is yes.
Our Favorite Porto Cafes for Specialty Coffee
We neither sought nor found specialty coffee in Porto during our honeymoon. We didn’t even know what it was back then! But we’ve since found a number of excellent cafes to fill this Porto Coffee Guide.
Some of our favorite Porto cafes roast their own beans while others independently source beans from quality roasters. These are our favorites:
1. C’Alma – Specialty Coffee Room
Open since 2018, C’alma – Specialty Coffee Room may not be the oldest specialty coffee shop in Porto but it’s arguably the best coffee shop in Porto.
This is the Porto coffee shop that most excites us with its creative coffee flights, nitro cold brews and elevated latte art. But coffee isn’t the only reason why we race to C’alma every time we return to Porto. We also adore this Porto cafe’s chill vibe and commitment to craft.
Decorated with both tiles and plants, C’alma’s space inside the vintage Ateneu Comercial do Porto building is charming. It has vaulted ceilings and a comfortable neo-Romanesque decor.
Skilled baristas use modern gear to craft stylish coffee drinks that taste great. Beyond standard Aeropress, Chemex and V60 brewing devices, the cafe also has equipment to serve draft versions of craft beer, cold brew and nitro cold brew.
It was literally love at first sip during our initial 2020 visit which spontaneously morphed into a three-hour tasting session involving beans roasted by Senzu and Vernazza as well as a proprietary collaboration roast produced by 7G Roaster (see below).
We’ve since returned multiple times and were delighted to encounter Brian Blaker during our most recent visit. While we typically order flat whites, the champion barista served Mindi an iced coffee lemonade crafted with cold brew, lemon juice, tonic water and simple syrup that was downright delicious. In case you’re wondering, the basic cold brew that Daryl requested was good too.
Ask for directions to the cafe’s restroom if you need to take a bathroom break during your cafe break at C’alma – Specialty Coffee Room. You’ll get a tour of the building’s old-school, clubby space on your way to the facilities.
C’Alma Specialty Coffee Room has two locations. We typically visit the original cafe located at at Rua de Passos Manuel 44, 4000-381 Porto, Portugal.
2. Combi Coffee
Originally operating out of a van in 2014, Combi Coffee graduated to a garage in Porto’s Bonfim neighborhood a few years later. The former garage was repurposed by Alexandre Gamelas & Cararina Santos, a local architecture firm, to include floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the cafe and a roastery in the back.
While Combi Coffee sources its green (raw) beans from countries located around the world, its pastries and clientele are both local. Contributing to the local vibe, co-owner Gonçalo Cardoso is game to chat with customers when he isn’t busy working the coffee roaster.
After rapping with Cardoso during our first visit, we drank two flat whites at the laptop-friendly cafe. The flat whites, crafted with an international blend of beans from Brazil, Indonesia and Rwanda, were roasted a little darker than we prefer, but they still hit our coffee sweet spot.
We left Combi Coffee feeling more awake than we when arrived. The buzz we got from the combination of caffeine and conversation fueled us for several hours until our next coffee break.
Pop over to Casa Guedes for a sandwich before or after your coffee break at Combi Coffee. The popular spots are just two blocks apart.
Combi Coffee is located at Rua do Morgado de Mateus nº29, 4000-334 Porto, Portugal.
3. 7G Roaster
Although technically located in Vila Nova de Gaia just over the Dom Luís I Bridge, 7G Roaster is a great spot to take a break from port wine tastings. Hidden in plain sight, the spacious cafe is just a four minute walk from Kopke, Porto’s oldest port wine house and a personal fave.
Those who make the short walk will find a green space with plenty of tables, all-day brunch and an expansive coffee bar. The bar is where baristas craft coffee drinks with freshly roasted beans sourced from countries like Brazil, Panama and Ethiopia.
7G offers accommodations for those who crave good coffee as soon as they wake up each morning.
We first encountered 7G Roasters’ coffee at one of our favorite Lisbon coffee shops and were keen to check out the Porto cafe with the clever name. Fun fact – baristas typically use seven grams of ground coffee to craft one espresso shot.
Ironically, we didn’t order any espresso shots during our first visit to 7G Roasters. Since it felt like a million degrees that day, we drank iced lattes instead. We’ve ordered flat whites, our typical coffee drink of choice, during subsequent visits.
Buy a bag or two of coffee as edible souvenirs. Options include inexpensive blends as well as pricier competition beans. If you’re truly obsessed and live in Portugal, you can sign up for 7G’s ‘dynamic box’ subscription.
7g Roaster is located at Rua Franca 52, 4400-174 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.
4. Mesa 325
Mesa 325 justifies a visit to drink out of its cups made with recycled beans alone. Luckily, those unique cups aren’t the only reason to visit this Porto specialty coffee cafe located in Porto’s hip Bonfim neighborhood.
While some people head to Mesa 325 specifically for the cafe’s bagels and smoothies, coffee was our primary reason to make the trek. Other potential reasons include the cafe’s cool space, tasty treats and refreshing juices.
We opted for a pour over and a flat white during our mid-afternoon visit. Both drinks, crafted with single-origin Senzu beans grown in Costa Rica, tasted excellent.
Our only regret was that we hadn’t brought our laptops and didn’t have time to linger in the modern cafe. With a stone wall and plenty of seating, this is our kind of coffee shop. Plus, we rarely say “no” to bagel sandwiches when they’re available.
Sink into a comfy chair if you spot one unless you want to eat or work at a proper table.
Mesa 325 is located at Av. De Camilo 325, 4300-295 Porto, Portugal.
5. SO Coffee Roasters
The team behind SO Coffee Roasters offers two different experiences in Porto.
SO’s larger Porto cafe is a great option for those who want to multi-task their coffee experience with either brunch or a co-working session. However, we’re fans of SO’s smaller cafe located on the first floor space of The Feeting Room near Porto’s São Bento Railway Station.
Call us crazy but we enjoy sipping coffee surrounded by shoes and other apparel items.
Not only were we smart to kick off our second Porto coffee exploration with excellent coffee at So Coffee Roasters, but we were also lucky to meet one of the cafe’s owners – Pedro Pereira.
Pereira’s enthusiasm, which isn’t limited to coffee, is contagious. After discussing SO Coffee’s commitment to roasting excellent coffee, we talked about Porto’s emerging craft beer movement and the city’s best restaurants. By the time we finished our flat whites, we were already plotting and planning our next trip to Porto.
You can find SO Coffee Roasters in Lisbon’s Chiado neighborhood at a shop located just off Rua Garrett.
SO Coffee Roasters has two Porto locations. We visited the cafe located at Largo dos Lóios 89, 4050-338 Porto, Portugal.
Not your typical Porto coffee shop, Manna also operates as a vegetarian restaurant, yoga shop/studio and bookstore. Without doubt, it’s a lot for one business to tackle.
Since we visited Manna specifically to drink coffee, we can’t comment on the quality of its food or yoga. However, we can report that the quality of of our cold brew and flat white was top notch.
Both coffee drinks were expertly crafted with beans sourced from London’s Allpress Espresso. But that’s not the only reason why we fondly remember them. We also appreciated the unique vessels in which both coffees were served.
Daryl’s cold brew arrived in a modern, brown-tinted Japanese glass while Mindi’s flat came in an oblong Portuguese mug. While both were visually striking and memorable, the high quality coffee completed the drinking experience.
Your friend can order a hot chocolate, chai masala or matcha latte if he or she isn’t a coffee drinker.
Manna is located at Rua da Conceição 60, 4050-213 Porto, Portugal.
7. Época Porto
Health conscious diners flock to Época Porto to eat dishes created with local, seasonal vegetables. After all, there are only so many Francesinha sandwiches that one can eat before having a heart attack. We, however, visited the airy Porto cafe specifically to drink specialty coffee.
While we weren’t alone at the cafe, we seemed to be the only ones not eating lunch. The open kitchen was buzzing. Before long, we were buzzing too but from caffeine.
Época Porto sources its food ingredients from local producers and its coffee beans from further flung quality roasters. During our visit, we drank excellent coffees crafted with Brazilian and Ethiopian beans sourced from Barcelona’s Right Side Coffee Roastery.
Grab a spot at Época Porto’s communal table if you’re feeling social.
Época Porto is located at Rua do Rosário 22, 4050-522 Porto, Portugal.
8. Fábrica Coffee Roasters
While Fábrica Coffee Roasters is a Portuguese coffee operation, it’s not a Porto coffee operation. At least it didn’t start that way. Its roots are actually 313 kilometers (approximately 195 miles) south in Lisbon. But, since Fábrica’s first Porto location opened in 2018, we decided to include the specialty coffee cafe in this guide anyway.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten the logistics out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the matter. The coffee drinks at Fábrica Coffee Roasters are solid whether you drink them in Lisbon or Porto.
Fábrica’s two Porto cafes couldn’t be much different from each other with one exception – they both serve excellent coffee crafted with globally sourced arabica beans. The notable differences are all related to the contrasting physical spaces.
While the Rua de Sá da Bandeira cafe is primarily designed for take-away, the spacious Rua Rua José Falcão location has a menu that transcends coffee to include brunch dishes like avocado toast and pancakes. And, unlike the Fábrica cafes we’ve visited in Lisbon, the bigger Porto cafe provides wi-fi to its guests who arrive with smart phones and computers.
Fábrica Coffee Roasters is a great Sunday option since both Porto cafes are open seven days a week.
Fábrica Coffee Roasters has two Porto locations. We visited the cafe located at Rua de Sá da Bandeira 9, 4000-069 Porto, Portugal.
Additional Porto Coffee Shops
We’ve provided enough specialty coffee options to keep you caffeinated in Porto. However, if you’re a coffee over-achiever, you can add the following spots to your Porto coffee agenda:
Porto Coffee Shop FAQs
Yes. Coffee is popular all over Portugal and Porto is no exception.
Expect to pay 1€ for a simple cup of coffee (i.e. bica) at traditional cafes and triple that for cappuccinos and flat whites at specialty coffee shops.
Yes. Porto has several specialty coffee shops in addition to hundreds of traditional cafes.
Top Porto specialty coffee shops include C’Alma – Specialty Coffee Room, Combi Coffee, 7G Roaster and Mesa 325. Try them all plus more to find your favorite.
Yes. Porto has several Starbucks coffee shops.
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: July 17, 2022