4 Cool Coffee Shops to Visit in Budapest

The Hungarian capital is home to some of the most vibrant specialty café destinations in Eastern Europe; here is a short list of four coffee spots.

BY TANYA NANETTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, has become one of Eastern Europe’s most visited capitals in recent years, thanks to its striking architecture, its interesting history of empires, dictatorships and revolutions, and its spectacular thermal baths, some of which date back to the Ottoman Empire. It’s also known for its gastronomic specialties, such as the famous goulash (which here resembles a soup rather than a stew). In recent years the city has also become famous for its specialty coffee, led by the Casino Mocca roasting company.

These days, wandering the streets of Budapest in search of a well-prepared cup is an easy mission. Many brunch spots and cafés including specialty coffees in their offerings.

These are some of the most interesting spots we found during a weekend spent wandering the city.

Zërgë Coffeeshop's storefront has an arched window above large doors, stickers on the door, and an "open" sign with portafilter, coffee, croissant, and bagel illustrations.
Zërgë Coffeeshop offers coffee from Casino Mocca, as well as house-made bagels. Photo by Tanya Nanetti.

Zërgë Coffeeshop – Bagels and Techno in the Heart of Buda

The delicious coffee roasted by Casino Mocca seems to be the first choice as a main roaster for many local coffee shops. So, the specific brewed coffee may not be the main reason for choosing a particular café over another. Many other factors come into play, especially when looking for something a little different.

Zërgë Coffeeshop is one of a few specialty cafés in the Buda area. The day we visited, it was pouring rain; nevertheless, a crowd was gathered outside the café, chatting and enjoying the Saturday afternoon as techno music played inside. It immediately struck us as an interesting place. We slipped in for a last order before closing time (which is often quite early on weekends in Budapest). We settled on a cappuccino and double espresso (roasted by Casino Mocca and perfectly prepared), and a mouth-watering bagel. In the small lounge area upstairs, we made new friends on the comfortable communal couch.

The exterior of 9 Bar has blackboard signs with drink menus and a brick entryway.
9 Bar is a cozy café near the famous Szent István Bazilika. Photo by Tanya Nanetti.

9 Bar – Brewing Coffee from Afar

Don’t get me wrong, I love Casino Mocca, and I always enjoy trying locally roasted specialty coffees. But after a few days in a city, I also love the experience of drinking something from afar, perhaps a coffee roasted in a completely different way. That’s why I immediately liked 9 Bar, which, at the time of our visit, offered Bonanza Coffee’s delicious roasted beans for both espresso and filter. And if you’re jonesing for a delicious slice of pie, look no further. There are great specialty pastries here, which change seasonally but, you can bet, are always tasty.

This cozy coffee shop is located just steps away from the magnificent Szent István Bazilika (Budapest’s main basilica). In a city where many cafés are huge and brunch-oriented, 9 Bar will captivate you with its cozy interior, warm lighting, and homey atmosphere.

Double Shot's storefront has neat wooden benches and a bicycle with a fabric store sign.
For a delightful brunch with your specialty brew, look no further than Double Shot. Photo by Tanya Nanetti.

Double Shot – It’s Not Brunch, It’s a Gastronomic Adventure

I have loved going out for breakfast long before brunch became a regular thing. I like to choose from a menu that, in addition to new classics like avocado toast, granola bowls, and banana bread, offers something intriguing. That’s probably why Double Shot stole my heart at first glance. Their menu includes Turkish-style eggs and a dish called The Eggy Bread, which somehow promised to mix egg-fried bread, sour cream, mozzarella cheese, and crispy bacon. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

And it was, with its melted mozzarella cheese, soft bread, and crispy bacon, as promised. The Turkish-style eggs were also heavenly. Double Shot’s batch brew, roasted by Partisan, which shares the same property and high quality, was tasty and smooth. And if you need another reason for Double Shot to become one of your favorite places in Budapest, add the friendly staff offering impeccable, welcoming service.

Really, there is nothing lacking here.

Mantra's sign hangs over the side of a stone building above an arched window.
To get away from the crowds and into a homey neighborhood spot, try Mantra Specialty Coffee. Photo by Tanya Nanetti.

Mantra Specialty Coffee – The Neighborhood Café

Sunday mornings call for a lazy start to the day—and lots of coffee, especially on a cloudy day. And so it was that, more or less by accident, after stopping for breakfast at Double Shot, we decided to have a second cup at Mantra Specialty Coffee. Located in a quiet, tree-shaded alley, and only a 10-minute walk from the main tourist area of Kálvin tér, it feels light years away from the crowds.

With its warm yellow interior, comfortable sofas, smiling baristas, and delicious house-roasted coffee, Mantra really does feel like a neighborhood café. And that first impression was reinforced just 10 minutes later. The bells of the nearby church began to ring, signaling the end of Mass. A long line of people invaded the café. A young priest, a couple of families, and a group of boys and girls all dressed for Sunday service were obviously all regular customers. They were all happy to be able, once again, to spend their time in the cozy Mantra.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.

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