From masterfully foamed cappuccinos to single-source, dark-roast espressos, here’s where to discover Budapest’s contemporary café culture.
Budapest is known and loved for its spectacular Gothic architecture and rich swathes of history. But there’s a burgeoning contemporary culture that’s fast-tracking the Hungarian capital to the top of destination wish lists. Hip new restaurants and edgy concept stores are certainly playing their part, but it’s a thriving coffee shop culture that’s hoisting Budapest into trendier echelons. Here are the top five coolest coffee shops in Budapest…
Everyone knows of the Espresso Embassy. It blazed a trail through Budapest’s coffee scene, being the first café to offer an ingenious array of preparations, from the high-tech AeroPress to the analogue Chemex Coffeemaker and slow-but-steady Hario V60. And then there are the beans – a giddy array of light, single-sourced roasts from tiny local suppliers to hefty exotic breeds imported from London’s legendary Square Mile Coffee Roasters. Those who can distinguish the fruity notes of arabica from the nuttier robusta will appreciate Espresso Embassy’s fastidious dedication to its craft, and will come to recognise this as one of the best coffee shops in Budapest.
The philosophy at Kontakt is that if you’re going to do one thing, then do it well—and the coffee here is a firm testament to that. But with the quest for perfection comes a few rules, so don’t expect sugar in your latte or milk in your single-source filter. But why would you, when the coffee tastes this good? Expect expertly made coffees, homemade cakes, and a sleek, minimalist interior. And if the sun’s shining, little refreshes more efficiently than its cold brew.
Enthusiasts who appreciate the finesse of a cold brew, the slow-but-steady approach of a pour-over, and the tang of a light-roasted single source arabica should add Dorado Café to their list of approved coffee shops in Budapest. Found in the trendy Jewish Quarter, this particular hipster paradise is all stark white walls and rustic wooden accents. The occasional kilim rug adds a suitably bohemian feel and a communal table running along the back wall is where to find the city’s cool crowd. There’s a real emphasis on friendliness here – the staff are charming and so are the clientele, and the light-roasted coffee beans and fresh pastries don’t hurt either.
The jewel in Budapest’s cool coffee shop crown, Fekete is an ingenious combination of expertly brewed coffee, laid-back décor, and exceedingly good cake. The menu offers a smattering of trendy beverages such as matcha, fresh juices and iced coffees. Not to mention the nitrogen-enriched cold brew on tap in the summer. But really, it’s the espresso that’s the crowd pleaser here – an artful blend of beans sourced from providers in South America, it’s a circus of fruity notes across the tongue.
The Goat Herder Espresso Bar
The Goat Herder Espresso Bar – named as a homage to Kaldi, the legendary 9th-century goat herder who’s said to have noticed the effect that coffee had on his goats –knows how to make a very good artisanal coffee. Working with a local roaster, they’ve perfected the level of roast they love – and the regulars agree; it’s a firm local favourite. The appealing menu of breakfast staples is another reason The Goat Herder stands out. Here for breakfast? Opt for some buttery banana bread to accompany your cortado – utterly sublime.