Coffee News: from Seed to Cup

A Specialty Coffee Shop Tour of Lisbon, Portugal

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Situated on the bank of the Tejo river, Portugal’s capital city is a charming collection of tile-adorned buildings and limestone-cobbled streets. But the city of seven hills is quickly changing. Technology startups are drawn here by the affordable labour force and government incentives. Tourism is booming, and gentrification is quickly pushing locals out of historical neighbourhoods.

Specialty coffee came to Lisbon recently, but the industry is more than making up for lost time. The first Lisbon Coffee Festival took place in March 2019, and there are increasing numbers of both third wave coffee shops and specialty roasters popping up around the city. Read on to find out which cafés stand out.

Lee este artículo en español Un Recorrido Por Las Tiendas de Café de Lisboa, Portugal

Cais das Colunas marks the historical entrance to the city from the Tejo. Credit: Éamonn McCay

Why These Five?

Although there is still a small number of specialty coffee shops compared to other European capitals, limiting myself to only five still requires tough choices. These cafés have a focus on customer service and on providing excellent coffee. They’re also spaces that gently encourage locals to try new things, rather than the established bica or meia de leite.

1. Copenhagen Coffee Lab

This small Danish chain first opened its doors in 2015 in the chic neighborhood of Principe Real. With roasting headquarters in Copenhagen, they offer lighter roast profiles served as V60s, batch brews, and espresso-based drinks. All of their coffee shops have sleek Nordic-inspired design. The Alfama and Mercado de Santa Clara locations are also worth checking out.

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Copenhagen Coffee Lab’s Principe Real location. Credit: Éamonn McCay

Where                                   Rua Nova da Piedade 10, 1200-298
Atmosphere  Busy
Espresso Machine  Victoria Arduino Black Eagle
Grinder  Victoria Arduino Mythos One
Coffee Offerings  Espresso-based drinks, V60, batch brew
Must-Try Drink V60
Retail Offerings  Bags of roasted coffee, brewing supplies
Food & Other Drinks  Pastries, sandwiches, salads
Nearby Sights  Take a coffee to go and watch people pass by in leafy Praça das Flores, or explore the high-end shopping and restaurants of Principe Real. The Portuguese parliament building, Assembleia da República, is also close by.

 

A customer enjoys an iced coffee in Copenhagen Coffee Lab. Credit: Éamonn McCay

2. Fábrica Coffee Roasters

Fábrica was one of the earliest specialty coffee companies in Lisbon, opening in 2015. There are now two locations in Lisbon and one in Porto. The original coffee shop and roastery is close to the designer shops of Avenida da Liberdade and tourist sights of Rossio, in the centre of Lisbon.

Refurbished furniture and upcycled coffee sacks provide a relaxing atmosphere. There’s no wireless internet here – you’re encouraged to focus your attention on the coffee and conversation. Fábrica offers a wide variety of coffee drinks, including bottled cascara, and the staff members are always very helpful.

The small patio outside of Fábrica’s Restauradores location. Credit: Éamonn McCay

Where  Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 136, 1150-269
Atmosphere  Friendly and relaxed
Espresso Machine  La Marzocco Linea PB
Grinder  Victoria Arduino Mythos One
Coffee Offerings  Espresso-based drinks, pour overs, cold brew, cascara
Must-Try Drink Cascara
Retail Offerings  Bags of house-roasted coffee, brewing supplies
Food & Other Drinks  Brunch options and smoothies
Nearby Sights  Designer shopping on Avenida da Liberdade, the theatre district, central tourist attractions and shopping.

 

The interior of Fábrica’s Restauradores location. Credit: Éamonn McCay

3. Simpli Coffee Roasters

Situated in Lisbon’s financial district, this is not an obvious choice for visitors to the city but provides great coffee to locals working in Marquês de Pombal. Simpli offers a variety of single-origin coffees as pour overs or espressos. All are roasted in-house by Rui. A team of enthusiastic coffee professionals are ready to give recommendations and encourage you to enjoy your drink on the patio.

A coffee served on a branded tray at Simpli Coffee Roasters. Credit: Éamonn McCay

Where  Rua Braamcamp 64, 1250-096
Atmosphere Sophisticated
Espresso Machine  Victoria Arduino White Eagle
Grinder  Mazzer Major
Coffee Offerings  Espresso-based drinks, pour overs
Must-Try Drink  Chemex
Retail Offerings  House-roasted coffee
Food & Other Drinks  Pastries, a full lunch and breakfast menu
Nearby Sights  Explore Parque Eduardo VII and take in the view of chic Avenida da Liberdade.

 

The interior of Simpli Coffee Roasters. Credit: Éamonn McCay

4. Hello, Kristof

This relaxing and engaging space combines good coffee and interesting reading material. Come here for selected coffees from roasters around Europe and a library of art, literature, and design magazines. House-made cakes and granola are also on offer. Located in the Poço dos Negros neighbourhood, this is a great place to take a break from exploring nearby bookshops, museums, view points, and galleries.

The window of Hello, Kristof. Credit: Éamonn McCay

Where  Rua Poço dos Negros 103, 1200-337
Atmosphere  Friendly, relaxed
Espresso Machine  La Marzocco GS3
Grinder  Mahlkönig k30
Coffee Offerings  Espresso-based drinks, batch brew
Must-Try Drink  Cortado
Retail Offerings  Bags of roasted coffee, merchandise
Food & Other Drinks  Brunch options and fresh juices
Nearby Sights  Palavra do Viajante (a bookshop for travellers), various art and cultural spaces including multi-disciplinary theatre venue Teatro Praga.

 

The interior of Hello, Kristof. Credit: Ricardo Galesio

5. The Royal Rawness

This café and roastery is the newest of this selection. Outside of the city centre, in the quickly gentrifying neighbourhood of Marvila, this bright space is in a beautiful historical building and filled with plants – including coffee plants. Come here to sample a drink from the Modbar espresso machine or buy some freshly roasted beans while checking out the area’s vintage furniture shops in former industrial spaces.

The interior of The Royal Rawness. Credit: Éamonn McCay

Where  Praça David Leandro da Silva 2, 1950-041
Atmosphere  Relaxed and welcoming
Espresso Machine  Modbar Espresso AV
Grinder  Mazzer Major
Coffee Offerings  Espresso-based drinks, pour overs, cold brew
Must-Try Drink  Pour over
Retail Offerings  House-roasted coffee
Food & Other

Drinks 

A full menu with a focus on healthy foods
Nearby Sights  Various breweries including MUSA and Dois Corvos, former ammunition factory turned cultural space Fábrica de Braço de Prata.

 

A barista pulls a double shot on the Modbar Espresso AV at The Royal Rawness. Credit: Éamonn McCay

Lisbon’s coffee scene is rapidly expanding, with new cafés opening regularly. But these five coffee shops have set a high standard to match. If you’re lucky enough to live in or visit the Portuguese capital, make sure to visit at least a few of them.

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Written by Éamonn McCay. Feature photo: The historical building that houses The Royal Rawness. Feature photo credit: Éamonn McCay

All views within this opinion piece belong to the guest writer and do not reflect Perfect Daily Grind’s stance.

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