The 4 Best Portuguese Coffee Brands

Portuguese coffee hovers in a fascinating middle ground. This origin doesn’t have the same staple cultural features as Italy or France, yet its culture still has a plethora of interesting details.

While Portugal doesn’t grow coffee, this country nonetheless has a stout coffee-drinking culture. A common sight while traversing big cities and small towns alike is the little white bica, a classic Portuguese coffee drink usually consumed with lunch or dinner. If you’re curious to tackle coffee from a different angle, this country is a compelling place to start!

We’re going to list out some of the best Portuguese coffee brands to get you started, alongside a few coffee suggestions you can try today!

A Glimpse at the Portuguese Coffee Origin

portuguese coffee origin

Portuguese coffee culture first originated in the late 17th century, pulling from the country’s occupation of several nations. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the country would start crafting cafés in major cities, sourcing their beans primarily from Brazil.

Similar to the United States, home coffee consumption has increased due to the pandemic and the accessibility of quality coffee brewing technology. Unlike in the United States, coffee is usually consumed later in the day in the company of others. Coffee is also treated as a communal drink to be shared in the evening or night hours.

Another distinctive feature of Portuguese coffee is the country’s preference for blends. While several Western countries such as the United States and Canada singlehandedly prefer single-origin arabica, Portuguese coffee is frequently a mix of arabica and robusta.

Is Portugal Famous For Coffee?

While Portugal isn’t as well-known for coffee as their neighboring Italy or France, they nonetheless are dedicated to the craft. One of the world’s most famous cafés is located in the capital of Lisbon, which we’ll take a look at below!

Portuguese coffee is known for being lower in acidity and more mellow than Italian or American roasts. Dominant flavor notes tend to range from bitter, dark chocolate to nuttiness and ripe fruit.

What is Portuguese Coffee Called?

Want to enjoy another side of your coffee? Here are some Portuguese coffee terms and recipes you should know about:

  • Bica, a classic cup of Portuguese espresso often served in a small white mug with sugar
  • Um pingo, a small cup of espresso with a dollop of milk (similar to a macchiato or cortado)
  • Um carioca, a type of espresso made using old espresso grounds for a milder caffeine kick
  • Galao, a blend of espresso and milk similar to a latte
  • Café com gelo, a simple iced coffee served with a shot of espresso and a separate glass of ice

What Do Portuguese People Drink With Coffee?

The United States often sees coffee paired with croissants or a bagel. While you can have Portuguese coffee with anything you like, the most common food pairing is a pastel de nata.

Portugal is famed for delectable pastries: the pastel de nata is a custard tart, crafted with egg and a dusting of cinnamon.

Delta Coffee

delta coffee

What better way to start off the list with the de facto Portuguese coffee brand? Delta Coffee is as ubiquitous with everyday coffee as Starbucks is in the United States, becoming a staple in 1961 through the efforts of founder Manuel Rui Azinhais Nabeiro.

The Delta portfolio is split into several categories depending on the origin, processing, or decaffeination method. Their Ruby, Diamond, Gold, and Platinum coffees are some of their bestsellers, acting as standout examples of robusta and arabica blends.

Alongside sourcing from Brazil, they also provide coffee from Colombia, Vietnam, and Angola.

Our Top Coffee Recommendation: Platinum On Trade

Our first coffee recommendation is as classically Portuguese as you can get. Mixing arabica and robusta from multiple origins, this bag is a knockout example of extremely balanced coffee.

With deep, mature fruit notes and an incredibly smooth texture, this coffee will hit high notes with just about any drinker. Try this coffee in an Americano or dollop on microfoam to make it even creamier.

We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who…

  • Want to try several origins in one place
  • Focus on brands that have extremely consistent flavors and aromas
  • Are eager to support brands registered under fair trade alliances

We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who…

  • Want more decaf options
  • Need kosher or more low acid options

Nicola Cafés

nikola cafes

One of the standout Portuguese coffee brands is Nicola Cafés, a widespread wholesale roastery that first got started in 1799. Unlike the majority of Portuguese coffee, they offer blends as well as single-origin arabica.

Over the years Nicola Cafés has been steadily expanding its reach, eventually reaching a partnership with Nestlé to form a subsidiary called SICAL.

Today they’re one of the top roasters in Portugal, collaborating with several different brands to ensure their coffee reaches all corners of the world. Their portfolio is a balance of traditional whole bean bags and more modern staples like k-cups.

Our Top Coffee Recommendation: Ground Coffee Beans Blend Bocage/ Creamy

We recommend starting your coffee journey with their straightforward Ground Coffee Beans Bocage/Creamy bag. If you’re too tired to grind your beans and go through coffee quickly, this bag will be both convenient and delicious.

These beans are a traditional Portuguese blend of arabica and robusta, boasting a medium body and a creamy texture.

We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who…

  • Want convenient coffee options like pre-ground and k-cups
  • Prefer blends over single origin

We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who…

  • Don’t want to support brands who create k-cups
  • Want more decaf or kosher options

Buondi

buondi coffee

A fresh face in the Portuguese coffee industry, Buondi has quickly established a name for itself as a coffee brand devoted to signature flavors and a focus on less acidic brews.

Buondi was established back in 1986 by Montarroio Coffee Company and later picked up by Giava Coffee Company in 2015. This brand functions as a green coffee trader, roaster, and distributor all in one with the goal to provide a small and consistent coffee portfolio.

In keeping with Portuguese tradition, their bags are mostly a mix of robusta and arabica from South America and Africa.

Our Top Coffee Recommendation: Flor Da Selva© Traditional Blend

What makes blends so wonderful is how each bean type balances out the other. Robusta is known for earthy and bitter flavors, while arabica is sweeter and milder.

Flor Da Selva is a highly complex bag that gives you a little bit of everything. Expect flavor notes such as sweet fruit, buttery caramel, and dark chocolate. This roast is medium dark, making it ideal for cold brew or milk-based recipes.

We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who…

  • Love a wide variety of blends
  • Want convenient options like coffee subscriptions and samplers
  • Are also seeking out coffee equipment, accessories, and gifts

We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who…

  • Want more than one decaf option to choose from
  • Need kosher or very low acid options

Café A Brasileira

cafe a brasileira
Image: francesbean

While a smaller example of Portuguese coffee on this list, this café is no pushover. Café A Brasileira is a staggeringly popular tourist destination in the country, nestled right in the capital of Lisbon.

Founded in the 19th century, this legendary café is easy to spot from a distance. This establishment is characterized by carefully maintained art nouveau and art deco architecture that immediately distinguishes it from its surroundings.

Visitors are greeted with stone statues and ornate borders upon arrival and soon ushered through the front doors to the dulcet scent of quality coffee.

Our Top Coffee Recommendation: The Classic Bica

Yes, this is the café that started it all! Café A Brasileira is the origin of the traditional Portuguese coffee drink bica, as quintessential as a mug of black coffee is in America.

Any coffee you try here will immediately stand out, so consider adding this beautiful establishment to your bucket list.

We Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who…

  • Want an unforgettable travel and photo experience in Portugal
  • Are happy to have classic Portuguese recipes all in one place

We Don’t Recommend This Brand For Drinkers Who…

  • Want to exclusively order coffee online

Why You Should Try Portuguese Coffee Brands

Portuguese coffee isn’t quite the household name as Italian espresso or French roast, but it’s got a character all its own. Fans of milder and smoother coffee will soon find themselves at home with this origin.

Portugal doesn’t produce coffee, instead sourcing it predominantly from Brazil since the late 17th century. The coffee here leans toward blends of robusta and arabica, a rather unique staple compared to the arabica-focused United States and Canada. One of the most famous cafés today is the Café A Brasileira, a historical establishment that honors both art and coffee.

We highly recommend checking out the above brands and trying out a few Portuguese recipes to get a taste of something new. Portuguese coffee drinkers usually drink their coffee over lunch or dinner, often with a dollop of white sugar.

Curious to learn more about different coffee origins? We have pieces exploring Brazilian, Kenyan, and Vietnamese coffee, or check out our list of all the coffee regions!