Intense, aromatic and exotic, Portuguese coffee hasn’t quite earnt the acclaim of Italian coffee, but it’s not far off! Portuguese espresso differs because it undergoes a slower roasting process, has a longer extraction time and is served a little longer than Italian coffee. More often than not, it also comes served with a typical Belém custard tart.
Special coffee blends enjoyed in Lisbon date back to colonial times with beans imported from Brazil, Angola, and São Tomé & Príncipe, where the beans are grown and harvested. High-end coffee shops such as Lisbon’s Café A Brasileira also serve coffee from all over the globe, including Indonesia, Panama, and Rwanda.
Another factor that makes Portuguese coffee so special is the myriad of ways it is served. Portuguese espresso, for example, is strong and thick with a mild acidic kick and a hazelnut-coloured top layer, or crema. The most popular coffee is a regular espresso, or bica, which reliably does the trick, whether served in the local bar or a sophisticated restaurant. Milky versions include galão (tall white with foam), meia-de-Leite (half milk – half coffee), cheio, (long espresso), or pingado with a touch of cold milk. Other varieties include café com cheirinho, with brandy, double duplo, abatanado, (a tall black) or, simply decaffeinated.