While Portugal might not be known for its speciality coffee scene, and most Portuguese still prefer to drink their coffee as cheap as possible and foam the milk in their cappuccino to resemble clouds, fear not! You can find decent (and beyond decent) coffee and spend your day chilling in a sleek cafe in Lisbon if you know where to go.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab
Copenhagen coffee lab comes from, surprise surprise, from Copenhagen, Denmark. They’ve been roasting since 2013 and opened their Lisbon location in 2014. The cafe is a light and airy, albeit compact space, true to its Nordic roots. At Copenhagen coffee lab, you can find various breakfast items such as overnight oats, yoghurt and bread, a bunch of delicious gluten-filled pastries, a variety of lunches and a selection of teas and juices as well as chai lattes.
Coffee from own roastery, americano 2€, flat white 3.2€, latte and cappuccino 3.3€. V60 and Aeropress 4€, Chemex 6/10€. Communal tables, window seats and small tables, few not allowing computers. All customers seemed to be English-speaking. Bunch of coffee- and hipster magazines to browse through on your caffeine-fueled breakfast or afternoon break. Optional almond and oat milk.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab, R. Nova da Piedade 10
Hello Kristof is a cute and tiny spot just a 10 minute walk away from Cais do Sodre station. The Scandinavian-inspired cafe combines minimalistic design with good-quality, fresh roasted coffee, a variety of cool magazines and light meals. Hello Kristof offers different options for food, including different filled breads, croissants, cakes and toasts plus an acai bowl (8e) and a granola bowl (5e). The coffee comes from an undisclosed roastery, and an americano costs 1.7e, latte and cappuccino are 2.8e, and a flat white is 3.3e. If you’re not keen on cow’s milk, almond milk is an option and costs extra .50. This compact space has just 3 small tables and a big communal table, but it is still a nice spot for working if you can score a seat. The back wall is decorated with a bunch of cool magazines, which are there for customers to flip through. Besides the usual Kinfolk, during my visit Hello Kristof had a very nicely designed and photographed magazine entirely dedicated to dogs! The magazines themselves are enough of a reason for a lingering afternoon with a cuppa. Bear in mind that Hello Kristof is only open on weekdays. If you happen to wander around in need of a caffeine-fix on a weekend, continue up the street to the Mill.
Hello Kristof, R. do Poço dos Negros 103
The Mill is definitely the most Australian cafe I’ve encountered in Portugal; even their staff includes Aussies! This cool joint is full of 20-somethings having brunch on the weekend, and when it’s not too busy, it’s a great place to get some laptop action in, too. This cafe offers plenty of breakfast and brunch options, including the mighty smashed avocado toast. For 5 euros you can pretend you’re in Melbourne, sipping your flat white (2.5€) while munching on the avo toast, which unlike in Australia doesn’t have goat’s cheese or feta in it. Even though the Mill has their own single origin beans, this cafe is more of a food spot than a full-on cafe for caffeine aficionados. There is no manual filter coffee, nor does the cafe sell coffee gear for home baristas. Oddly enough, a cappuccino, late and flat white all cost the same; I was too shy to ask how they prepare each, as the cafe was full to the brim and I’m pretty sure I would have earned the wrath of the staff until eternity. While the cafe menu might not be a vegan’s dream, they do offer both almond and soy milk as alternatives to your coffee, at no extra charge!
The Mill, R. do Poço dos Negros 1
La Fábrica Coffee Roastery
This rustic space is located in a more touristic area. The cafe has a small roastery on the back of the cafe, and they have also outdoor seating on the rather narrow street. In addition to coffees, you can buy some pastries, toasts and salads (no GF-options). If you're in the need to refill your home barista gear, you can buy different brew kits (Aeropress, Chemex, V60), grinders, espresso cups as well as coffees at rather decent prices. If you opt for the glass V60, be careful: when dropped on a stone floor, it breaks into million pieces.
La Fábrica is a bit more expensive than the other cafes, offering both blend and single origin options. An americano is 2/2.3€, latte and flat white is 3/3.3€, and a cappuccino costs 2.5/2.5€. The Fábrica espresso blend is 70% Brazil 30%, but their single origins include Ethiopian and Rwandan. During my time in Lisbon, La Fabrica quickly became my go-to spot for refilling my home stash of coffee; I was a big fan of the Ethiopian Sidamo. As for the brew bar, Fabrica offers Aeropress for 3.5€ and V60 for the same price, or 6 euros for 2. There’s also ice teas, coffee lemonade, craft beers, wines and gin tonic on the menu if you’re so inclined. Keep an eye out for their cupping sessions!
La Fábrica Coffee Roasters, Rua das Portas de Santo Antão 136; Fábrica Coffee Shop, Rua das Flores 6