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26 October 2015

Lisbon Coffee Guide

Lisbonites love their coffee and it's easy to get a decent bica (a slightly longer version of an espresso) for around €1 all over town. If you're looking for a longer drink, however, third-wave coffee bars are only just starting to arrive in the city and the quality is more variable. Here are a few of my favourites.


Fábrica Coffee Roasters
The first stop on my Lisbon coffee tour was Fábrica Coffee Roasters, a café and roastery on Rua dos Portas de Santo Antão, just north of Praça dos Restauradores. The first time I visited, I was seeking shelter from the torrential rain, and sank gratefully into one of the comfy chairs, but on my last day I returned to soak up the sunshine on the little terrace area next to the pavement. The décor inside is industrial shabby-chic: a quirky mix of wood, brick and metal. There is also free wifi, which is great for a few holiday Instagram uploads.



Fábrica serves a range of cakes, salads, sandwiches and other light meals, but the coffee menu itself was fairly extensive. As well as the usual espresso-based drinks, you can enjoy coffee brewed with a V60, Aeropress, Kalita or Chemex, and they also serve cold brew and iced coffee. On my first visit, I tried their Colombian coffee, roasted in their in-house roaster, brewed with an Aeropress (€3). Because I was in Lisbon, I also ordered a pastel de nata, which was delicious, if messy. The coffee itself was very good: strong, smooth and with a subtle fruity acidity. I wanted to come back to buy a bag of the beans but I had spent all my pennies on pastéis de nata by the end of my trip.




On my return, I tried a single-origin macchiato (€1.70) — I'm not sure which variety they used — which was beautifully made and with an Instagram-worthy, if slightly lopsided latte art heart. I would have liked to order another, but my flight home was calling my name.


Fábrica Coffee Roasters is located at Rua dos Portas de Santo Antão no. 136. WebsiteFacebook.

(Note: There is another — unrelated — café called Fábrica Lisboa, which looked nice enough but which I didn't visit.)

Copenhagen Coffee Lab
On my coffee tour of Copenhagen, one of my favourite discoveries was a tiny, cosy café called Copenhagen Coffee Lab. I noticed on their website that, somewhat randomly, they also had a Lisbon coffee bar, so of course I had to check it out. Located on the picturesque Rua Nova da Piedade in the Bairro Alto neighbourhood, CCL Lisboa has a lot in common with its Scandinavian sister, including the cheery yellow colour of their exteriors.


Inside, the café has a minimalist feel, although the small vases of pretty flowers on each table add nice pops of colour. There was one particularly cosy-looking window nook where you could curl up with a faux fur throw and cushions, but I opted for a seat at the other window — there are plenty of seating options, depending on whether you are MacBooking or socialising. There were several hand-brewed filter coffee choices — V60, Aeropress and French press — and, predictably, I ordered the Aeropress, which was a bargain at €2.50.



You can tell when hand-brewed filter options are just starting to enter a market because the cafés don't quite get the pricing right and end up under-charging for a coffee that takes much longer to prepare. Nonetheless, my coffee arrived promptly and was very well-made. In fact, I wish I had ordered a second to take with me on my train journey.

Copenhgen Coffee Lab Lisboa is located at Rua Nova da Piedade no. 192. Website. Facebook.

Wish
It's a good thing that Wish, a 'slow coffee house' located inside the shopping, eating and arts complex known as LX Factory, placed their coffee menu outside their café or I might have walked past, distracted by the varied offerings of LX Factory. I could see that they served French press, V60 and Chemex, and it had just started to rain. It was a no-brainer.


Inside, the décor is whimsical: small, hexagonal tables, origami lamps and quirky wall art. I took a seat at one of the small tables and ordered a V60 for one. As this cost €5.50 (expensive by Lisbon standards), I assume it was a V60 for two for one, but who's counting? As the name suggested, the coffee did take a while to arrive, but I wasn't in a rush and was busy using the wifi to try to work out if the rain was ever going to stop. When my coffee arrived, there was definitely enough for two — two regular people, anyway — and it came with two tiny pastries. The coffee wasn't quite as great as at Fábrica and Copenhagen Coffee Lab, but it still tasted good, and if you need a coffee stop while at LX Factory, this is the place to go.



Better still, there is an accompanying boutique, selling a carefully edited selection of homewares and stationery and accessories. Coffee + shopping; what more does a girl need?


Wish is located at LX Factory, Rua Rodrigues Faria 103, space G.02. Website. Facebook.

I only spent a few days in Lisbon, so please do let me know if there are other great coffee bars that I missed so that I can add them to my list for next time.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Bex,

    Great piece! I have fond memories of Lisbon from a trip there 10 years ago. So many great cake shops :-) It's wonderful to see that speciality coffee is making inroads.

    Hopefully I'll be able to pop back and check it out myself one day soon.

    Many thanks,
    Brian.

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    1. Thanks, Brian. Yes, you should definitely try to make it back there at some point. I am still dreaming of the wonderful pastéis de nata!

      Bex

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