Who would have thought that Porto is bigger on the coffee scene than Lisbon! The northern capital seems to be on point with everything hip and cool, and the people in the speciality coffee scene are positive that this is just the beginning of something great. Due to Porto's compact size, it is relatively easy to do a cafe-hopping tour if you're short on time. If not, pick a different cafe for breakfast and lunch every day!
This roastery/cafe is the pioneer of speciality coffee in Porto but seems to be only known by the industry specialists. Located on "the other side of the bridge", 7g is definitely a must-visit for anyone into good coffee. In addition to cafe and roastery, 7g also has apartments for short-term rent. What a dream - to live in a nice chic apartment and roll downstairs for your morning cup, made by the Portuguese barista champion!
For the brew bar, I got to choose from two Ethiopians or Panama, the latter of which was more full-bodied and intensely chocolatey in flavour. The coffee isn’t that pricey, either: for the manual brews (Aeropress, V60, Kalita, Chemex and French press) you pay 3€ for single, or 5-5.50€ for two people serving. 7g serves their espresso-based coffees either as small or large; cappuccino and latte cost 2.5-3€, a flat white is 3-3.2€, and an americano is 1.8-2€ (expresso as they call it, or filter). There are several iced coffees, craft beers, wines, juices and other drinks such as cascara soda on offer, too. The breakfast did not disappoint, and on weekend there's brunch!
7g Roaster, Rua de Franca 52, 4400-174 Vila Nova de Gaia
If you are looking for a cool spot to sit down and have a drink and want to actually talk about coffee, Combi is your spot. Opened in September 2017, Combi is a coffee van/coffee shop combo that roasts their own coffees and hosts monthly cuppings (had I known when arriving in Porto on a Sunday...). You can enjoy some pastries, smoothies or an acai bowl with your cuppa, but this cafe is definitely focused on and passionate about the liquid goodness. The owner, Gonçalo, is amazingly friendly and clearly enthusiastic about his craft. He seemed to know all the customers by name, which is enough of a reason to return. If that's not enough, he also prepared ginger tea to a sick customer, even though it's not on the menu. As for the coffee, you can choose between 2 single origins, Guatemala and Ethiopia during my visit. With just 8 tables, the cafe is cosy and airy, and apparently gets really crowded during high season. If you're not keen on working, there are your usual suspects: Kinfolk, Craft and Standart-magazines to keep your coffee moment pleasant without staring at your phone.
Combi Coffee, Rua Morgado Mateus nº29, 4000-334
Mesa 325, meaning Table 325 (325 coming from the street number where the cafe is located in) is a cute, airy and stylish cafe located a bit out of the hustle and bustle of Porto centre, but that’s no biggie as Porto is not very big altogether. Mesa is well worth the walk for either just a delicious cup of coffee or perhaps a lingering afternoon/brunch kind of deal. The cafe gets their beans from local roasteries Luso and Vernazza.
Surprisingly enough, this hip cafe has the cheapest V60 and Chemex I have ever encountered, with V60 (and French press) costing a measly 1.6€, and Chemex being 2.2€! if this isn’t reason enough to pay Mesa 235 a visit, I don’t know what is. But that’s not all: you can choose whether to have your cuppa made from beans from 4 different single origin beans and 4 different countries. Soy milk and lactose-free milk cost an additional 0.5€.
In addition to coffees, teas and juices, like what seems like all cafes in Portugal, Mesa serves a variety of bagels, sandwiches, salads and pastries. You can also choose different breakfast combos. For 7.5€, you get granola or overnight oats with yoghurt or chia pudding, croissant or pastel de nata, fresh orange juice and cappuccino (which can be swapped to other coffee at no extra cost, yay!). There are other sweet deals, too. Because of its cool interior and Standard magazines for reading, Mesa 325 is a great place for spending some time and even working, like the best hipster cafes anywhere in Europe. You can also buy a grinder, V60 or French press and single origin beans from Luso (10e for 250g) to take home.
Mesa 325, Av. de Camilo 325, 4300-066
Bop is an interesting mix of a cafe, a bar and a grungy place to get your belly full. Located just off Mercat de Bombal, Bop is a cool spot for a feed, some drinks or coffee. The dimly lit space is filled with LP records, playing groovy tunes all day long. Their coffee on offer is by 7g; The only way I found out anything about the coffee was because I asked the barista - as like in other places in Porto and in Portugal in general, (local) baristas don’t seem to be too interested or keen on talking about coffee for some reason. In Bop, you’ll pay 1.4€ for the batch brew, which luckily for me was made to order and it was a decently big cup. Bop offers also v60 for 3.5/6€. The menu also includes something called a red eye for 2.2€ and 1.8€ for mazagran, which I haven’t encountered anywhere else before and might have to go back to try.* A single shot of espresso costs 1€, double is 1.8€. You can get a cappuccino for 2.4€, and there's no flat white or latte on the menu. Soy milk costs 0.5€ extra. The filter coffee in Bop uses a blend (which the waiter/barista wasn’t too keen on talking about), for the pour over one can choose Ethiopia or Panama (except that they were out of Panama).
Bop isn’t necessarily where one would go to get a speciality coffee, but in case you are in the area and in a need of a coffee, it is more than suitable for said purpose. The space is more fit for a relaxed night with some friends, having drinks and maybe some delicious nachos. But don’t be surprised, the nachos have bbq/cheese flavoured tortilla chips, which was a bit surprising and a tad confusing, too.
*According to the almighty Wikipedia, mazagran is an Algerian cold and sweetened coffee drink, which in Portugal might use espresso, lemon, mint and rum. Sounds good to me!
No pictures of Bop, it was way too dark and didn't look too interesting anyway. Here are some general pictures of Porto instead.
Bop, R. da Firmeza 575, 4000-110
Cafe Progresso (at least claims to be) the oldest cafe in Porto, in operation since 1899. And fair enough, the rustic space is decorated in an old-fashioned way, but could be like any hipster cafe anywhere. Cafe Progresso takes their coffee seriously: you can choose beans from several single origins, or opt for their Brasil 60% Guatemala 40%-blend. I chose my long black to be Peruvian Cajamarca, a tad acidic coffee with what I found to be citric notes. The coffees’ prices vary according to the beans, but be prepared to pay anything from 1.5-2.4€ for the long black, 2.5€-3.10€ for a flat white, and 2-2.6€ for a cappuccino. As for the filter coffees, single origin Chemex or V60 costs between 3.2-3.8€ for one, or 5.20-5.80€ for two people. Aeropress is 3.20-3.50€, and Kalita costs 3.20-3.80€ (for the same origin as Aeropress, which is a bit strange). Progresso also offers syphon coffee, which along with Kalita and Aeropress seem to be very rare in this latitude. To cater for the locals who don’t care about good coffee, there is also a batch brew option that is bulk coffee blend with undisclosed origins. Bleh. Besides coffee drinks, teas, fresh juices and smoothies, one can choose from a variety of wines or various iced drinks.
If you arrive hungry, Progresso has a vast variety of breakfast and brunch items, ranging from toasts to pastries to yoghurt and smoothie bowls, egg dishes and vegan pancakes. What makes it obvious that Progresso is in Porto and not Brisbane, is the absence of smashed avocado on toast. In the evenings the restaurant serves wood oven pizzas and oh-so-trendy bowl foods (at bit steep prices for Portugal). The place would be perfect for working or to read a book, but during my visit, their wifi didn’t work. What’s more, in December they seemed to be very keen on blasting Christmas music, albeit not the jingly-tingly ones.
Cafe Progresso, R. Actor João Guedes 5, 4050-159