Waves. They’re a big reason why people flock to Portugal from all over the world. Nazare has positioned itself amongst the most iconic big-wave surf breaks in the world and, elsewhere, beaches like Paniche and Ericeira attract surfers chasing the ultimate ride.

Further inland, a different kind of wave is making itself felt in the city of Lisbon. Quietly gathering momentum over the past few years, this one is less dangerous but potentially just as exciting. The specialty coffee wave is growing steadily here, and it is showing no signs of slowing down. In a city that has historically lived on €1 espressos, a few brave and innovative local entrepreneurs have started opening cafes and roasteries that concentrate on serving a more progressive style of coffee.

These venues all seem to be working towards the same goal: to offer an alternative to the deep, dark roast profile that has dominated Lisbon. They champion alternative brew methods, source beans meticulously, and serve the end product in contemporary, considered spaces boasting knowledgeable baristas and friendly staff.

The shift towards specialty coffee is clear to see and clear to feel. The movement is manifesting as some world-class shops and finding great coffee is getting easier and easier. It’s an exciting time for any coffee-lover in Lisbon.

The swell is here.

Let’s ride.


lisbon city guide tact exterior andy fenner

Tact just might be the quintessential Lisbon cafe.

Corner site, with curved windows? Check. Folding, stacking chairs and tables that get carried out to a cobblestoned street for setup everyday? Check. Warm, attentive, hands-on owners? Check. A stacked bar, with a diversity of brew methods? A simple and concise food offering? Rotating beans, sourced from world-class roasteries? Check. Check. Check.

Kirill Ivanov and Vika Parfinskaia are the owners here and they have built a space that effortlessly slots into the Alcantara community. Having cut their teeth with cafes in Russia, they carry with them the experience of making a small space work really hard. As a result, through a clever use of a tiny kitchen—and with no real cooking taking place on-site—the food is still outstanding. Thick yogurt is topped with house granola and topped with cubes of fresh mango and shaved dark chocolate; thick wedges of sourdough are dressed with ribbons of salmon gravlax and soft, jammy boiled eggs. There’s a football-helmet-sized mountain of whipped butter that simply sits on a counter, to be added to flaky croissants and maybe an extra slice of that aforementioned sourdough. This food is plated on vintage, ornate ceramics which show a glimpse into the quirky, unique personality of TACT.

lisbon city guide tact interior andy fenner

With big names like Bonanza Coffee Roasters (Berlin), Man vs. Machine Coffee Roasters (Munich), and Dak Coffee Roasters (Amsterdam) as examples of what could be on offer, they will have some lesser-known options from emerging roasteries too. A Matter Of Concrete (Rotterdam) is a recent feature and represents the TACT team’s curation guidelines nicely.

lisbon city guide tact croissant andy fenner

TACT carries a laid-back feel but there is serious attention. A La Marzocco GS3 works hard alongside a Mahlkönig EK43S grinder. V60s are available with whatever beans feature on the day and if the Lisbon heat is kicking in, ask the team for a cold brew, which they can easily knock up with the homemade concentrate.

TACT is located at Rua Joaquim Casimo 14a, Lisbon. Follow them on Instagram.


lisbon city guide acento exterior andy fenner

Big flavors are coming out of this small space. Clever outsourcing of bakery items allows the team to put together one of the most impressive pastry cases around. The Basque cheesecake, for example, made by local baker Illia Akulov, deserves a special mention and the croissants from Do Beco bakery may be the best in the city. (Big call, I know.)

As good as the pastries may be, it is the curation—and usage—of beans from owners Camilla Butyrina and Sasha Zalesski that earns Acento a place on any list mentioning the best coffee spots in Lisbon. A rotating lineup boasts bags from local, independent roasteries that include brands like Comete Coffee Roasters, 7g Roaster, Senzu Coffee Roasters, Olisipo Coffee, and A Sargento Martinho and they are handled with skill by a polished barista lineup.

lisbon city guide acento latte andy fenner

These beans get treated with the respect they deserve, resulting in consistently good batch brew and perfectly dialed in espresso. There are also novelty coffee add ons like bumble coffee, coffee lemonade, vanilla latte, etc and if you’ve hit your coffee limit (apparently that’s a thing?!) before you arrive, don’t stress: there is also noteworthy single origin cacao and a cold fridge lined with things like kombucha, coconut water, and small-batch sodas. Not to mention their impressive lineup of natural wine, curated from local producers and available to take home.

Acento uses pops of orange against a contemporary, minimalist feel to create a space that feels considered and curated, but also welcoming. As a recently renovated building, there are huge, arched windows which add a theatrical touch to the facade.

lisbon city guide acento interior view andy fenner

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A Moccamaster TechniVorm thermos greets you on the counter as you arrive with the day’s batch brew, with corresponding cards to announce tasting notes and roastery profile. The Mahlkönig E65S grinder also clearly displays the chosen beans of the day, which are then put to work on a La Marzocco Linea S. Whatever the team has chosen to highlight, you can rest easy that they will be selling bags of them as retail too, so don’t leave without loading up.

Acento is located at Avenida Casal Ribeiro 53A, Lisbon. Follow them on Instagram.

Comete Coffee Roasters

lisbon city guide comete exterior andy fenner

If you want your coffee roasted with exacting precision (and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?) then who better to do it than two former pharmacists? Using learned skills like meticulous measurement, accuracy and attention to detail, Adrien and Alexandra Scheffer have turned their focus from a successful pharmaceutical career in Paris to opening and running a micro-roastery in Lisbon.

With an approach bordering on perfectionism, the couple worked their way through various training schools and workshops, learning a craft that required a similar approach to their past lives. At the same time, they began to establish deep networks with importers, distributors, and farmers. With a clear vision of sourcing the very highest quality green beans they could find, Comete Coffee Roasters quickly established a roasting flavor profile that best showcases these discoveries.

lisbon city guide comete adrien and alexandra scheffer andy fenner

Today their stable includes a stellar lineup, with offerings from Burundi (Red Bourbon, Masha), Ethiopia (Landrace, Nensebo), Honduras (Catuai, Typica, IH90, Santiago de Puringla), and even Castillo from the celebrated Bermudez family in Colombia. These are roasted with pride on a Coffee-Tech FZ94 Evo to create coffee that is pure, clean and expressive of the origin.

Until recently, you’d have to explore Lisbon’s specialty coffee shops to enjoy some of Comete Coffee Roaster’s expertise. Luckily for you—luckily for us—they have built a tasting room and coffee counter in the front of their small roastery. Tucked away in a traditionally-residential area, you can now enjoy some incredible coffee inside the roastery that produced it.

Simple, stripped back minimalist decor allows you to enjoy your coffee without too much distraction, but still in a considered and stylish setting. Adrien and Alexandra are always around and you’ll be getting your coffee prepared by one of them. It’s brilliant.

Pick from the beans on offer, watch them get fed through the Mahlkönig EK43 (for filter), the Compak E6 OD (for espresso), or the Compak i3 Pro, which gets brought out for their limited releases. Watching experts at work, who so clearly love what they do, is infectious. Kick back and enjoy being inside a working roastery.

lisbon city guide comete espresso pulling andy fenner

Espresso-based drinks are on offer as part of a concise menu but, if it’s your thing, the pour-overs deserve special mention here. With beans roasted on the light-to-medium side, this brew method is recommended to fully allow the coffee to shine.

Inside tip: if it’s a nice day, grab a takeaway and sit in the nearby park.

Comete Coffee Roasters is located at Rua Dr. Almeida Amaral 15A, Lisbon. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.


lisbon city guide dramatico owner ricardo galésio andy fenner

Tucked away in the suburb of Principe Real, cut into a pink building and set on a steep hill, you’ll find Dramático, where the sloped, street-facing facade becomes part of its personality.

Enormous, voluminous windows allow a simple white curtain to slide the length of the shop. Here, the curtain acts as a sort-of divider between the bustling Lisbon energy and the serene interior. When shift starts it is pulled back, merging two worlds and inviting guests inside. Pulling back the curtain also reveals a work area with an assembly of reassuring sights for any coffee lover: a Fellow gooseneck kettle, assorted Hario scales, and a Moccamaster KBGT and are on display for anyone passing by.

lisbon city guide dramatico ricardo galésio inside his store andy fenner

This is another tiny Lisbon coffee shop, where every inch has been meticulously considered and constructed. The same height you see from the street continues throughout, offering a dramatic floor-to-ceiling feel. There are hanging lights, a few small tables mixing materials like marble and wood, and shelves neatly stacked with matcha bowls, whisks, Hario V60 ceramic cones, and gorgeous stoneware cups and saucers for you to enjoy your coffee from.

Championing La Cabra from Copenhagen, owner Ricardo Galésio serves it with a uniquely laidback energy. The guy is unbelievably calm. Noticeably so. Serene, even. The soothing background music mirrors the man who has loaded it onto a playlist and he moves around his shop with a deliberate and calculated efficiency that is somehow never, ever rushed. Despite the small number of seats, the shop maintains that relaxed atmosphere even with people queuing outside for their fix. Nobody here is in a rush or, if they are, they are encouraged not to be. There is a deliberate atmosphere of unhurried indulgence and the no-laptop policy ensures that everyone stays connected to their coffee and to their experience.

lisbon city guide dramatico street view andy fenner

Galésio’s menu is understated but offers a good range of options. Interestingly, some of the espresso-based drinks come with a single shot as a standard. These include cortado and espresso. If you prefer an extra shot, you’re welcome to add one with the expected supplement; the drinks that would arrive with a double shot as a standard would be flat whites Americanos, cappuccinos, and lattes. Beans are ground courtesy of a Eureka Atom Excellence 65 and espresso-based drinks are pulled with help from the Profitec 700 Pro. If you prefer filter-style, there is a daily batch brew and a V60 option, both served with La Cabra. Depending on the day (and the season) you may be drinking coffee from Honduras, Ethiopia, Rwanda or Brazil but all of them carry the same La Cabra roasting philosophy. Curated teas, matcha and hot chocolate are all listed and if you’re visiting in the warmer months, the latte is offered on ice, as is the cold brew.

You’ll want to linger at Dramático. You’ll want to grab one of the niche magazines arranged on the floating shelves. You’ll want to lean back, order a second cup and maybe a croissant. There are excuses to linger in every corner.

Dramatico is located at Rua da Alegria 41E, Lisbon. Follow them on Instagram.


lisbon city guide lapso entrance andy fenner

You could easily walk straight past Lapso, a new specialty cafe that has popped up in the Graca neighborhood. It’s a narrow space with understated signage, an understated logo, and an understated owner.

Marcus Anjos is the man behind the bar. A self-described “coffee geek,” he has lived abroad in New York and Rio de Janeiro. Some of this international exposure seems to have inspired Anjos, as he deliberately pushes light-roasted coffee with delicate, nuanced flavor profiles. This is made possible through his preferred supplier, Prolog Coffee, based in Copenhagen.

There is a no-nonsense approach to coffee here, concentrating on simply offering several brew methods aimed at showcasing the chosen beans in the very best way possible. These methods include Hario V60, NextLevel Pulsar, batch brew and Toddy cold brew. Anjos is serious about his gear and has chosen the La Marzocco Linea Mini to work with, following the beans being ground by either a Eureka Atom Specialty 65, or the Mahlkönig X54. The remarkably consistent coffee coming out of Lapso could well be courtesy of the Weber Workshops Unibasket and Blind Shaker, which Anjos uses to great effect.

lisbon city guide lapso exterior andy fenner

Lapso’s interior matches the coffee philosophy, with monochromatic, neutral colors. Blonde wood, white walls, and a mix of white tiles and marble give the space a clean, polished look. Personality arrives in the form of interesting and ever-changing artwork hanging on the walls, as well as the hand-drawn signage on the front windows (a touch that arrived courtesy of one of Lapso’s customers!)

With an advanced palate and former experience running a wine bar, Anjos has great ambitions of utilizing the shop as a wine bar and event collaboration space in the evenings. He has already kicked this off with his weekly Thursday evenings, serving a brilliant curation of natural wine from 17:30 onwards. The overlap with specialty coffee lovers and natural wine fans is a well documented one and Anjos has big plans to tap into this emerging Lisbon market.

As they say, come for the coffee, stay for the wine. Who are we to argue?

Lapso is located at Rua Damasceno Monteiro 104C, Lison. Follow them on Instagram.

Hello, Kristof

lisbon city guide hello kristof view from terrace andy fenner

Positioning themselves as a “magazine concept store,” Hello, Kristof have built up a loyal following for their shop on the lively Poços Dos Negros. Rightly so. Shelves run along the interior walls of the shop, boasting print magazines from global boutique publishers. Subjects covered by the magazines in question include interests like surfing, interior design, architecture, cooking, branding, and travel. You’re invited to grab a table, pick a few magazines, and begin browsing through them.

Flipping through beautiful print is, in itself, inspiring but it becomes something truly special when you’re sipping an amazing coffee. It becomes a moment that feels indulgent, but also a moment that feels completely justified.

This moment is what Hello, Kristof’s concept is built around.

lisbon city guide hello kristof exterior andy fenner

Rotating beans from local roastery, A Sargento Martinho, form the backbone of their coffee menu in the form of espresso-based drinks but this is well supported with a few international suppliers. French outfit Perla Negra, for example, are a common fixture on the menu and their roast profiles lend themselves well to a pour-over recipe. Beans are ground using a Compak E8 OD and the machine churning out an impressive amount of coffee is the tried and trusted La Marzocco GS3.

Throw in a compact menu built mainly around toasted sourdough (did someone say burrata, roasted tomato, pecan nut pesto, and chives?!) and you’ve got a bunch of very, very good reasons to visit.

In an exciting update, a new store has recently opened in the Graca neighborhood. With outside seating boasting views of the Panteão Nacional, the setting is a special one. Perched on top of one of Lisbon’s infamous hills, It is more than worth seeking out. If you brave the walk in the warmer months, you can do so knowing that a full-bodied, balanced cold brew is ready and waiting.

Like their other store, expect a beautiful interior. Expect the same attention to detail. Expect angular, marble tables, pink walls, hanging pendant lights etc. Expect warm, knowledgeable and attentive staff.

Expect brilliant coffee. Hello, Kristof reminds us that print is not dead, if you know where to look. It also reminds us that coffee can help us see most things more clearly.

Hello, Kristof has multiple locations in Lisbon. Visit their official website and follow them on Instagram.

Andy Fenner is a freelance journalist based in Lisbon. This is Andy Fenner’s first feature for Sprudge.

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