15 May 2023

Four Speciality Coffee Shops To Visit in Madeira

By the time May rolled around, I was in serious need of a break and some sunshine. The Portuguese island of Madeira has been on my to-visit list for several years and I took advantage of the extra public holiday for the Coronation to book in a trip. I'll be sharing my Madeira travel guide soon but in the meantime, here are some of the speciality coffee spots I visited while I was there.

Art Food Corner — Funchal

I happened upon Art Food Corner on my first afternoon in Funchal while walking through the Zona Velha (old town). Attracted by the colourful décor and the promise of an Ethiopian speciality filter coffee, I grabbed a seat at one of the pavement tables and perused the menu.

In the end, I ordered a piccolo, brewed with a Brazilian single-origin espresso, which was delicious – smooth and sweet. On another visit, I tried the aforementioned Ethiopian filter coffee, which was very good too. While I was there, the coffees were from Polish roaster JAVA and Berlin-based 19 Grams, and various colourful bags of retail beans were also available. The staff are really friendly and it was a great place to enjoy the afternoon sunshine.

I also sampled both the food and the art. There are various pastries, breakfast dishes, wraps and bowls on the menu, but I had my first taste of the wonderful Madeiran speciality, bolo de caco, a round flatbread usually slathered with garlic butter, but in this case served with avocado, pesto and cherry tomatoes. I was hooked! If you walk under the vaulted ceiling, past the colourful counter, you will find a shop in the back where you can buy gorgeous ceramic products, which make great souvenirs. And the exhibition space features a carefully curated selection of artwork.

Art Food Corner is located at R. Dom Carlos I 20, Funchal. Website. Instagram

Maia Coffee Shop — Funchal

Located just around the corner from the Praça do Município, Maia Coffee Shop is a great place to stop for coffee if you're visiting any of the many nearby attractions like the Sé Catedral do Funchal or the Museu de Fotografia da Madeira. I discovered later that zarco, of Avenida Zarco, means 'light blue eyes', so there was another reason for me to visit — even if the term wasn't always meant as a compliment!

Maia is closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays so I saved my visit for Tuesday morning, just before the walking tour I was taking nearby. There are several tables on the broad pavement outside, underneath the jacaranda trees, all of which were occupied. Inside, it's standing-room only, with the square wooden counter taking up most of the space. 

My eyes were first drawn to the lovely Faema E61 espresso machine on the counter. Then I headed over to the shelf by the window, which houses merch, coffee-making kit and retail bags of coffee beans. Maia's coffee is roasted in collaboration with Alquimia from the Centro Ciencia Cafe. For my cortado, I chose a single-origin Ethiopian coffee — they also had an Indonesian variety on offer. It was the first outing for my new 4oz KeepCup, which also got its first compliments. The coffee was very well brewed too.

Maia Coffee Shop is located at Av. Zarco N°25, Funchal. Instagram. Facebook.

Land Food & Coffee — Monte

You wouldn't necessarily expect to find some of the best coffee in Madeira literally right next to one of the busiest tourist attractions. But if you take the cable car to Monte, Land Food & Coffee is right there, just steps from the Monte station. As such, if you take a seat at one of the tables on the sunny terrace, you will get amazing views down to Funchal and the sea, as well as cable cars passing overhead.

It was so sunny when I arrived that I sat inside instead, but the beautiful coffee bar and counters meant it was just as beautiful a place to sit. The coffee is from Odd Coffee Roastery, based nearby in Monte, and I opted for a pourover brewed with a single-origin washed Kenyan coffee. The coffee tasted great, with sweet berry flavours. 

As its full name suggests, Land also serves food, with a wide selection of brunchier and lunchier fare. I wasn't too hungry so just opted for scrambled eggs on house-baked sourdough bread, which set me up for a busy afternoon exploring Monte.

Land Food & Coffee is located at Largo das Babosas 8, Monte. Instagram.

Greenhouse Coffee Roaster — Monte

After brunch, my next coffee stop was only a few steps away. And where else would you find a coffee spot called Greenhouse but inside the Monte Palace Tropical Garden? The small café is indeed inside a large greenhouse, which lets lots of lovely light stream in. In pride of place on top of the gorgeous green, tiled counter is a Kees Van Der Westen Spirit espresso machine and some colourful coffee cups. The coffee here is also roasted by Odd.

The tables were all full so I got my macchiato to go in my KeepCup, which I enjoyed while strolling around the tropical gardens. If you're in need of sustenance after all of the hills of Monte, Greenhouse also serves salads, quiches, burgers, cakes and other bites.

Greenhouse is located at Caminho das Babosas 4A, Monte. Instagram.

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