Lisbon, or as the Portuguese say, Lisboa! The home of fado (a Portuguese music genre that will melt your ears – in a good way), pasteis de nata (the most amazing custard tart) and trams – so many trams (even though they borrowed the idea from the Americans – at least they credited them by calling them ‘Americanos’). But we weren’t here to munch on tarts or ride the tram, we were here to taste their coffee. We were here to indulge in the best Lisbon has to offer the coffee universe. We were here to sip on ‘uma bica’, enjoy a mazagran or two and even slurp down on ‘um galão’.
The coffee in Lisbon is changing and that’s a good thing. More and more specialty coffee shops are popping up all over town. There are scores of roasters opening up and down the streets of Lisbon. Third wave coffee is on the up and with more cafes opening everyday comes more education about coffee. We explored the seven hills of Lisbon in search of third wave coffee that is beyond delicious. We tasted loads of bitter coffee at tiny corner cafes. We finally delighted in mouthwatering coffee at these 3 different cafes.
1. Copenhagen Coffee Lab
The cafe and micro-roastery began in Copenhagen (as the name suggests) but has spread its wings into Portugal and Germany – with 4 cafes in Portugal and 2 in Germany so far. We visited the cafe in the Praça das Flores area in Lisbon. It is a small, busy cafe with a prominent minimalistic, Scandinavian touch. Tons of white, lightly-coloured wooden finishes and black chalkboard for a menu. All pastries and some jarred eats were beautifully presented on the counter and the kitchen open for all to see – something we just love!
The cafe has a pretty extensive menu including V60, Aeropress, Chemex and a dirty chai latte. Their pastries are very much Scandinavian based but are freshly baked everyday – as is pretty much every bread or cake in the country. We enjoyed a flat white, cappuccino and an espresso with a Danish. The cafe is a self service kinda place so after we ordered and collected our drinks and pastry, we found a seat in the back of the cafe. The cafe is pretty small and if you are a digital nomad looking to hold there for the day, you might be a little disappointed with their internet speeds. Our overall impression is that this cafe is great to hangout in with your mate and enjoy a really good coffee. Next time you are in Lisbon don’t forget to drop in.
Our top recommendation: Americano and Danish Combination
2. The Mill Cafe
The Mill is a coffee shop by day and a wine bar by night. It was founded by an Australian/Portuguese couple. Their goal to serve great coffee, fresh food and superb Portuguese wines, has very quickly become a reality. This is a very busy cafe – tourists and locals alike settle in here for a delicious breakfast and a coffee or three. The staff are very welcoming here and they seem to be genuinely happy to have you as a guest.
Like most cafes in Lisbon, this is another really small cafe and, because it is so popular, is always full with a magnificent atmosphere. There are people chatting and laughing as they guzzle down a tasty meal and gulp down a mouthwatering coffee – and their breakfast menu really is superb. They serve their own house blend as well as single origin coffee roasted in a nearby roastery. But, in our opinion, the best thing they serve is their iced-coffee. This is no ordinary iced-coffee, this is an experience. We ordered it, tasted it and couldn’t quite figure what was added to make it so appetising until we reached the end and notice an orange rind resting at the bottom of the glass. The addition of a little bit of citrus to this coffee reshaped the flavour. We enjoyed it so much that we went along and made our own recipe – Orange Iced-Coffee.
Our top recommendation: Any of the breakfasts
3. Tease Cafe
The decor in this little cafe is beautiful. Portuguese style tiles line the walls behind the counter, stunning glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and delectable cupcakes spread across the work surface. The cafe has a very homely feel and is one of the most charming cafes we have ever seen.
Tease has an interesting menu – some of the usual coffees but also section called ‘Decadent Coffees’. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? We tried their ‘Summer coffee’ from this menu and it was pretty damn good – a sweet, chilled drink with fresh coffee at its core. While Lyndsay consumed the ‘Summer coffee’ I sipped on an espresso – bitter and dark, just the way the Portuguese seem to like it but not as bitter as some other places. The coffee is good here and their baked goods are amazing but if you come here for anything it should be for the atmosphere – nothing but comfort.
Our top recommendation: Choose one of their Decedent coffees
Worth visiting Lisbon for coffee?
Lisbon coffee is on its way up. There is still some way to go but there are more and more coffee experts popping up in every corner of Lisbon. We loved our time here – not only are there some good cafes here but the city in general is great. There is so much to see and do here that you will always find something interesting and fun to do. Lisbon is worth visiting and stopping off at these 3 cafes to enjoy a great coffee or two. Have you been to Lisbon? Have you found amazing coffee at an amazing cafe? Let us know what you think of Lisbon coffee culture and where your favourite cafes are.