Renowned for its “sparties” (“spa parties”) and home to Sziget, one of Europe’s largest music festivals held every August, Budapest can be a party destination. Whether you’re visiting for the good times or a more casual affair, finding a decent cup of coffee in Budapest to recharge, is easier than you think.
I visited during the winter, thus missing Sziget and choosing to skip a “sparty”.
After exploring Budapest Castle in the morning, I was looking for a place to rest my feet, warm up and grab a coffee. As it began to snow, I took a quick turn down a hidden laneway and discovered a small coffee shop.
This place turned out to be a coffee lover’s goldmine. Not only did it serve excellent coffee, but this cafe was also part of a collective group of cafes serving specialty coffee in Budapest.
You could collect stamps when you visited each one. For the next three days, I was like Alice in Wonderland following a golden pathway of caffeine in hope of finding excellent coffee.
Below read about the cafes I discovered on my journey for coffee in Budapest which took me all over town from the Buda to Pest.
CHECK OUT THESE CAFES FOR THE BEST SPECIALTY COFFEE IN BUDAPEST
“Fekete” means “black” in Hungarian. Given the movement towards filtered coffee, this cafe’s name is rather apt.
Something you won’t see in many coffee shops is a central brew station; a unique feature of Fekete. With the barista working from the middle of the room, you can watch as he swiftly works through the coffee orders.
I chose a brew process I hadn’t tried before called “cascara”. Also known as “coffee cherry tea”, the coffee is brewed from the dried skins of coffee cherries. With a sweet taste similar to tea, it’s a brew I hadn’t come across previously in Europe.
Located close to Astoria metro station, the cafe also offers a large selection for breakfast and lunch. I’d recommend taking a break here in between visiting attractions and exploring the city.
This large cafe located in Pest is not too far from the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. You’ll notice the minimalist interior design which highlight the cafe’s large archways.
During my time in Budapest, I learned that it is quite common for Budapest cafes to source their coffee from Scandinavian roasters. Espresso Embassy does just this, serving two types of coffee beans. I tried their guest espresso coffee which originated from Guatemala and had travelled to Budapest via Denmark.
You’ll need to arrive early if you want to grab lunch as the cafe’s offerings disappear quickly. But if you’re looking for a place to relax, read a magazine or chat amongst friends, this is the place for you.
Tamp & Pull
Another cafe small in size but big on delivering exceptional coffee. With seating available for approximately 20 customers and one dog, there are several filtered coffee options to choose from.
The day that I visited, a Sunday, I opted for the “chemex” with a ginger biscuit. Tamp & Pull has that cosy “locals only” feel about it, tucked away in a quiet part of town.
Take a moment to appreciate the coffee paraphernalia on the wall, from an old coffee machine to the espresso handles which hang just below it.
There is another branch of Tamp & Pull over on Váci Road 85.
Mantra Specialty Coffee Minibar
If you are wandering through Váci utca (Váci Street), this cozy cafe with seating for only seven people is just one block off the main thoroughfare. You won’t be disappointed.
I opted for a cafe latte with a selection of small pastries. The coffee, a Kenyan and Brazilian blend was smooth and tasted wonderful.
This made a lot more sense when my barista told me their coffee mantra, “our coffee is not bitter”. And indeed this was definitely true, as I enjoyed my latte before setting off to explore the surrounding streets off the main tourist trail.
Set out over two levels, Madal Cafe is a large coffee shop perfect for when you’re travelling in a group. A beautifully decorated interior with warm pastel colours invites you inside.
The cafe credits its name to the man emblazoned across the walls, Sri Chinmoy, a marathon runner and spiritual leader from Bangladesh.
Madal sources its coffee from London based roasters Square Mile. Named as Hungary’s 2015 AeroPress Champion, do yourself a favour and sample the AeroPress accompanied by one of their petite cakes.
Note: There are three coffee shops with the same name, so make sure to double check the address before you visit.
My Little Melbourne Coffee and Brew Bar
When I walked into this coffee shop, it was as if I had never left home. Paying homage to Australian coffee culture, the cafe is decorated in Australiana. The Brighton beach houses in Victoria are splashed on the walls and plush koalas and bicycles hang from the roof.
My Little Melbourne also has a barista school that offers classes to coffee lovers, teaching them the ins and outs of brewing filtered coffee. I enjoyed a latte with my croissant perched on a seat up in the loft while one of these classes were taking place.
For non-coffee drinkers, the cafe also serves T2 teas to still make you feel right at home.
The philosophy at Kontakt is simple “…we love to make great coffee, and serve it to great people…”. Well clearly, I fall into the second part of that philosophy so I had to see for myself if Kontakt’s coffee was as great as they claimed.
I opted for a filtered coffee called “Biftu Gudina”. The beans originated from Ethiopia, featuring dominant floral notes, tropical fruits and black tea. The cafe displays cupping notes on the wall which talks about Kontakt’s partnership with local farmers and explains what customers can expect from their coffee bean of choice.
If you’re visiting in summer, be sure to try their signature drink, Roket, a special cold brew.