I can’t exactly pin point when did specialty coffee enter my life, but man, am I glad it happened! Gone are the days when I was ordering “a long espresso with milk”, my present looks like a “flat white” now!
However, without entering in the realm of explanations regarding the benefits of specialty coffee, its presence in my life is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing… it’s obvious why, but a curse? Yes, it’s also a curse because now I can’t tolerate shitty coffee anymore and wherever I go I need my caffeine intake in the form of a flat white at least once a day!
So when visiting Porto earlier this year I didn’t want to go through the Barcelona coffee experience all over again, therefore I did my homework and researched beforehand the available options. Luckily, the friends I was visiting there are also specialty coffee aficionados so they had a few cool recommendations to begin with.
Now, before presenting you my list of favourite coffee places in Porto, I must tell you it wasn’t easy to find these. There were quite a few hit and miss in between, because the Portuguese seem to understand differently the word “specialty” when referring to coffee. When looking up “specialty coffee in Porto” there are a plethora of places, some of them really appealing, with a nice interior design and branding. We went to 1 or 2 of these with high expectations, only to get a tasteless wannabe cappuccino with plenty of shallow milk foam and cinnamon decoration on top. Which is when we realised that many consider coffee to be “specialty” if it has a cinnamon star on top or chocolate syrup flowing over a whipped cream hill.
So don’t get fooled like us!
Without any further ado, here are my top specialty coffee spots recommendations in Porto!
Beautiful in its simplicity, with a vintage air, this place was our first introduction to the Porto specialty coffee scene by our friends living there. They have 2 or 3 single origin coffee types along with the house blend and, of course, some delicious bites if you’re in for breakfast or brunch (croissants, cake, fruit bowls… yum yum yum!).
You might see them around the city with their green vintage truck (I sadly never spotted them anywhere else except their main location:() or check them out at their second location on the 1st floor of The Feeting Room. Bonus, if you’re really into the world of coffee, they also organise coffee cupping from time to time so keep an eye on that!
2. Mesa 325
Located not very far from Combi’s main location, this is another cute place with delicious specialty coffee, as well as great food for breakfast or brunch. If I recall well, the food offer is wider then at Combi, so if you are really hungry maybe this place would fit your stomach better.
The interior features a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere, has a cool lounge-like small area at the entrance and all in all seems like a good place to get some work done on your laptop while enjoying a good coffee.
This one boasts to be one of the oldest cafes in Porto, if not the oldest (dating from 1899!). ut of all 5, I’d say this one is also the most touristic.
With an interesting interior, feels like stepping back in time a bit when entering the location. It’s a nice mix of relaxed atmosphere and elegant details here and there, old and new features blending together. O
What we thought at first was that they had upgraded the interior in the recent years with keeping some of the original details. However, after seeing some “before” photos, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, it seems it has been almost completely redone recently, which only makes me congratulate the owner and designers – good job! The cafe featured in the “before” images was really outdated, featuring a sort of sad wannabe elegance from the late 90s, a trend I’m glad they replaced. I would have never entered the place had it looked like before!
Besides that, the coffee was very good as well as the food – excellent place for breakfast and/ or brunch!
We discovered this one quite accidentally while searching for a place to have dinner. If looking it up, it appears primarily as a restaurant/ bistro – from burgers, to soup or chicken nuggets, wine or beer, this was a cool dinner experience for us. The interior is cozy, dim-lit and featuring vinyls all over.
Only when we got there we spotted the professional coffee machine and the promising menu featuring flat whites and single origin option, therefore we returned the next day to try the coffee – absolutely no regrets!
5. 7g roaster
This one is on the other side of the river Douro, in the Vila Nova de Gaia area, hidden somewhere behind the famous Port wine houses on the riverfront. The place is quite big, with a lovely outdoor area featuring a large wall covered in plants and they also have apartments available for rent.
Plus – as the name implies – they roast coffee there and provide this service not just for their coffee shop itself, but for other cafes in town too!
While we were having our coffee, some guys from another cafe were in training so we tried to eavesdrop a bit to see what we can learn – not much, truth be told, as our Portuguese skills are unfortunately almost inexistent.
Coffee was very good though and the chocolate cake as well!
Did I miss an important one? Comment below!