Danish owners, Ida de Matos and twins Helle and Susan Jacobsen, created an outpost of their Copenhagen coffee laboratory mothership here in the Príncipe Real district of Lisbon. It’s a Scandinavian curiosity dropped in the middle of Portuguese coffee culture, creating something of an alternate of good quality for exploratory locals.
It’s a quiet space despite the soundtrack. Everything inside here is white: service counter, tile floors, metal stools, café tables, employees, and most patrons. The expat factor is unavoidable, with English-speaking foreign students and — sadly yes on my visit — the obligatory man bun. Inside it’s a youthful vibe, heavy on laptop zombies.
There are a few indoor tables and odd seating options, including an isolated room in back. Shelves of coffee merchandising sit at the front and rear of the shop. They offer pastries and salads, a breakfast menu, light lunches, and even Knækbrød (Scandinavian crispbreads).
They have a particularly lengthy coffee and espresso menu, leveraging the coffee they roast at their Copenhagen headquarters and offering it also as V60, Aeropress, or Chemex. The options of the day were primarily Brazil or Kenya single origins. The barista, who will step out for a smoke given even Portugal’s non-smoking laws of the past decade, uses scales for precision weighting.
Espresso can come as a single shot (€1,30) or a café duplo (doppio, at €2). Using a two-group Astoria machine, their default Brazil double espresso came with a medium brown, even crema. The shot was medium-to-thin-bodied with some acidic brightness on the finish: less cherry and more raspberry. It’s a rather classic light roast, with the dynamic range of the flavor profile cut short and weighted more towards brightness with some limited mid-palate.
Served in Acme & Co ceramic gray cups. A good, alternative espresso in the thick of Lisbon, However, as a visiting tourist, the experience might be a little too familiar. But then when I travel, I generally prefer things that express more of the local coffee culture — and less of what seem like cultural imports that you can practically find carbon copies of in various other cities around the world.
Read the review of Copenhagen Coffee Lab in Lisbon, Portugal.