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Craft Beer Portugal

Beyond Port: Porto's top spots to enjoy tea, coffee, beer & wine

You can find “Port-style” wines in California, South Africa and Australia, but the true and original Port is uniquely produced in Douro Valley, like Champagne is uniquely produced in Champagne. While this means you should taste Port at least once at one of Farah’s favorite addresses, it doesn’t mean Port is the ONLY libation to relish in Porto.

 Porto Skyline


Tea History and Culture in Porto

Tea drinking culture dates back to the Age of Discovery when Portugal became the first European country to create commercial trade routes with Asia. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1600s that Portuguese Princess Catarina de Bragança, married to English King Charles II, introduced Chinese tea drinking culture as a hobby in the UK, where it was previously consumed as medicine.

The word tea refers to the acronym for “transporte de erva aromaticas' stamped on the Princess’s shipments. We learned this fascinating history at Rosa et Al Townhouse in Porto’s Cedofeita neighborhood where you can enjoy over 40 black, white, rooibos and green teas, infusions using aromatic herbs from the garden, rabanadas (Portuguese-style french toast called) and other homemade treats for high tea between 4-6 pm.

Porto Tea

Tea Plantation Visits (!) Outside of Porto

While Europe’s largest remaining tea plantation is located on São Miguel Island in the Açores, one of continental Portugal’s only tea farms is located just 30 minutes north of Porto. At Chá Camélia, Nina Gruntkowski and Dirk Niepoort (of the revolutionary Niepoort wine empire) grow and process high quality, small batch, organic green tea - one is even aged in Niepoort Port barrels!

They also produce kombucha and infusions of aromatic herbs and native Portuguese flowers. Tour the plantation and taste where Western Europe and the far East collide. If you prefer settling down for a cup, pinkies up, along Porto’s granite streets, check out the fine selection and zen garden vibes at Rota do Chá in the artsy Miguel Bombarda district. 

Portuguese Coffee; Stylistically Unique

Italians don’t often rep another country’s gastronomy on par with their own, but they’ll admit Portuguese coffee is good, if not great (and certainly better than France’s or Spain’s “dirty milk water” (!) as the Portuguese put it). Portugal’s predominantly robusta bean-focused coffee blends are  light - or medium-toasted and brewed with high water temperatures.

In comparison, Italy uses more arabica beans, heavier roasts and lower brewing temperatures. The result? Portuguese espresso is more fruity and earthy (or burned, in the worst cases) while Italian espresso is more acidic, bitter and smoky. A meia-de-leite (basically a latte, ask for it “escuro” for less milk) will get you going in the morning, a café after lunch will hold you through the afternoon and a café com cheirinho (topped off with brandy) will put you to bed.

Portuguese Coffee

A Portuguese classic - the Meia-de-leite or "half milk"

Porto Coffee Houses

If your craving  filtered coffee, check out Cru - a co-working space and shop featuring resident artists and a coffee bar serving SENZU beans roasted on-site by owner Diogo who also founded Porto’s first specialty coffee school.

Other addresses for a coffee kick include Combi, with various coffee extraction methods to choose from, and Fábrica, with a bright, open space to read or work. On the Gaia side of Douro River, take a break from Port cellar touring and the busy esplanade with a specialty coffee tasting at 7g, also offering brunch-all-day and boutique apartment rentals.

Coimbri Coffee

The Coffee and Tea truck at Combri

Porto's Beer Scene

Portugal’s wild-growing hops and evolving craft beer culture has only recently seen some limelight after decades of domination by two major, national brands - Sagres prevails in the South and Superbock in the North. These are cheap and quaffing, mass-produced beers whose unexciting differences come from the unique pH and mineral richness of the spring waters they are brewed with.

Save your serious beer discussions for Catraio, our favorite watering hole for local and international craft brews (and surprisingly good hamburgers and chicken heart skewers on the patio during the weekends!).

For a quieter convo, board games and coloccal corn nuts head to lowkey Armázen da Cerveja or nearby Letraria’s chill beer garden. Musa is a larger-scale craft beer player constantly releasing fun, hoppy novelties to pair with good barfood near the Virtudes lookout point.

Musa Craft Beer

A delicious craft beer from Musa

Porto's Wine Scene

Of course, Porto does not lack in great wine bars! Taste both traditional and established, and small and revolutionary wine projects’ expression of Portugal’s 300+ native grape varieties and 14 wine regions at Cave do Bom Vivant, Cave Bombarda, Prova, Mind the Glass, Portus Wine and Wine Quay Bar downtown, or Garage Wines in Matosinhos.

Bom Vivant

Odile, our author, at Cave do Bom Vivant

Finally, while we love a classic Porto Tonic, Porto’s cocktail culture is still blossoming. We like what the bar (wo)men are doing at Terra Plana (accompanied by a good pizza), Mirajazz (up to scrach cocktails to accompany stellar sunset views and live music), The Royal Cocktail Club (a classic) and Cave do Bom Vivant (try a Port cocktails!)


Odile Bouchard

Hi! I'm Odile; I am half-French, half-American and grew up between Burgundy, Napa Valley and Tuscany - wine and travel run deep in my veins. My family owns Quinta do Tedo in the Douro Valley, one of Farah Trading Co's favorite producers!

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