We made it to Porto…finally – after many hours on a fairly uncomfortable bus ride from The Algarve we arrived in the land of port wine, Francesinha (a very popular five layer sandwich) and, hopefully, delicious coffee. We were so excited to explore this stunning city, high and low, in search of at least one amazing cafe. Porto is a beautiful city – with the most amazing views from every corner. From the top of the Dom Luis I bridge you can marvel at both sides of the city. Like Lisbon, Porto still has a way to go in the coffee universe but it feels like the wheels are turning in the right direction.
1. Combi Cafe
By far our favourite cafe in, not only Porto, but all of Portugal. It’s a pretty big statement considering how many cafes we have visited in Portugal but we have no doubt. What makes this cafe so special? Passion! We were lucky enough to meet the owner of the cafe and that passion for coffee pulses through his veins. We spent hours chatting with Gonçalo about his cafe and coffee in general. We marvelled as he shared his story with us. The cafe was originally only a mobile coffee shop based out of an old school, classic Mercedes Benz N1300 van but is now also a full shop in the heart of Porto. The van ran for 2 years before the owner Gonçalo Cardoso opened up his first shop on Morgado Mateus Road.
Combi has two roasts available, a House Blend (made up of beans from Brazil, Guatemala & Columbia) and a Single-Origin roast (beans from Guatemala). The roasts are available to purchase as well as coffee brewing equipment and some Compagnie Coloniale teas. The cafe is comfortable and beautifully decorated. It used to be a garage, but is now beautifully revamped into a modern, yet old-school style shop with wooden furniture, white walls, black warehouse-style windows and pops of orange and yellow for some colour. The love for every cup of coffee is what makes this cafe one of the best we have ever visited.
Our top recommendation: Espresso
2. BOP Cafe
BOP is a cafe-come-bar that serves western-style food such as burgers and fries, nachos, mac and cheese, Southern-Fried chicken and delicious coffee. It is a small cafe but with a massive attitude. One of the biggest attractions in BOP is that they have hundreds of vinyls and they play those vinyls as the background music. Any customer can request a record from the selection available and their entire record range can be found on the BOP website. They even offer a separate record player with headphones and the customer can request a vinyl to listen to on their own. Super cool concept!
BOP is also the place that we first tried a Mazagran (check out our recipe here) and it was magnificent. We only managed to visit in the morning but we can imagine that the evening vibe could be pretty great. This cafe is fun, has really good coffee and is definitely worth a visit.
Our top recommendation: Mazagran
3. Moustache Coffee House
Moustache has a pretty extensive menu with the usual coffee suspects as well as loads of sweetened iced coffees. Chocolate, banoffee, mochas, cookie lattes and frappes line the walls of the cafe enticing people to slurp down on their sweet concoctions. We managed to fight off the urge to try a sweet drink but only because we really wanted to just taste their coffee.
Their coffee is good – similar to Lisbon type coffee. There is a fair amount of seating inside, with an upstairs area full of couches and tables and a downstairs area with tables and chairs perfect to work from and even seating outside. The cafe is larger than most other cafes in Porto and Lisbon so if you visit it on a week day in the morning you will have loads of room to yourself.
Our top recommendation: Anyone of their Frappes
Porto coffee – let’s do it!
The coffee entrepreneurs there are more creative and seem to have a little more vigour about the coffee culture. There are more and more cafes opening everyday and so many more for us to visit. Porto isn’t just about the coffee though. The food there is affordable and, as with the coffee, the people there have so much pride and love for it. The scenery is amazing – walking through the town and learning the history as you wander the streets is soul-warming.
Porto is a beautiful place and we would suggest it to anyone in search of good coffee and cultural experience. Go to Porto – sip on some port; gobble up a Francesinha or two (or three); delight in the breathtaking views; stumble through the streets and take in everything Porto has to offer. Have you been to Porto and enjoyed a coffee or two at a cafe we didn’t mention? Tell us about it…you never know, we just might visit it.