Portugal has no shortage of coffee. It’s there on every corner, every meal, possibly even every hour of the day (and night) for some people. But as much as I’m here for bica culture, there’s a reason the espresso nickname translates to “drink this with sugar”.
And for an Australian about 18,000km from home with an addiction to not just caffeine but the flavours of coffee, sometimes you’re just craving a perfect flat white or a single origin filter with as many tasting notes as a good glass of wine.
Specialty coffee shops and Aussie-style cafes can be hard to find outside of the big cities, but you should have no problem in Lisbon and Porto.
Portugal’s second-biggest city might be petite in size but it punches above its weight in so many ways, including coffee. Below I’ve listed my six favourite cafes that extract the best coffee in Porto. As a bonus, a few of them have fantastic food too.
This Porto-based roaster has a light-filled two-storey coffee shop in the centre of town where you can drop in for an espresso, flat white or filter coffee. There’s also a counter of sweets, plus simple toasts on offer. I spent a few peaceful mornings working upstairs at the big table beside the roasting equipment. The WiFi is fast and the coffee is excellent.
This small cafe might pull the best specialty coffee in downtown Porto, but it also helps that the space is supremely cute and lined with vintage tiles. The long wooden counter looks more like a science experiment than coffee shop, which is a good sign if you’re into coffee and alternative brewing methods like V60, Chemex and Aeropress. The head barista worked directly with 7g Roasters to design the house blend, plus there’s always single origin options and tasting flights to try all the best coffee roasters in Porto. Be sure to visit the bathroom just to explore what seems to be a cultural or community centre that the cafe is tucked inside. There’s no kitchen, but plenty of sweet treats and simple snacks to keep you going.
My partner Jorge was off surfing, so I looked up “specialty coffee” on Google Maps and boom, I found this place in Matosinhos, Porto’s seaside town. I waltzed over and with my brain focused on speaking Portuguese, I blurted out my request for a flat white with oat milk before looking around. Carlos’ reaction? Pure confusion. After all this isn’t a cafe. This is a roaster. If you’re lucky, like really lucky, Booínga actually will have the doors open and the machine on (they are focused on roasting, so are only open a handful of hours and days a week). Expect really excellent espresso, americanos and filter coffee.
A cafe and roaster in one, Combi has been slinging beans as one of the best coffee shops in Porto since 2014. It started, as you can imagine, as a van but now has a permanent home in a former garage in Porto’s inner east. Architects opened the space up with huge floor-to-ceiling glass and warm wood features. There are plenty of seats, making it tempting to bring a laptop here and settle in with a few espressos and a slice of cake.
This coffee shop and eatery in Cedofeita is worth visiting just for the interiors. All warm wood panelling with a distinctly vintage feel while still being very now. Coffee wise, it’s espresso-based drinks only and the baristas are using single-origin beans roasted by Porto’s Vernazza Coffee Roasters. For food, the focus is on seasonal eating and making things from scratch, so visit the larder on the way out. Early offers dinners on weekends too.
One of Porto’s great cafes, Época manages to serve up brilliant specialty coffee and fantastic food. Here they work with beans roasted by Berlin’s Five Elephants and change the menu constantly with seasonal produce. There’s a modern community feeling to the cafe, with goods for sale made by local artists and pop-up dinners from Japanese to Greek some nights of the week.
Still on the hunt for the best coffee in Porto?
Porto has a blossoming coffee scene with new roasters and speciality coffee shops opening constantly. Some other great cafes to explore include Fabrica, Manna and Epoca. If you venture across the river into Gaia, which you will to do a port tasting or enjoy a spectacular sunset back in over Porto, be sure to try 7g Roasters.