The best coffee shops in Addis Ababa
Where to go for a satisfying cup in the Ethiopian capital
As the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia is world-renowned for its production, ceremonial traditions and cupping quality. The high-altitude conditions of the country are ideal for coffee farming, whether the beans are grown in a garden, forest or on a plantation. Three regions in particular boast some of the most popular coffee grounds: Sidamo, Yirgacheffe and Harrar. But you don’t even have to go outside of the capital city, Addis Ababa, to taste the difference and richness of each roast. Check out these top coffee spots in the city and find out for yourself.
As well as boldly referencing a certain popular acronym (Greatest Of All Time), The Goat Cafe gets its name from the folklore behind the origins of coffee in Ethiopia. The story recounts how the goats of a shepherd named Kaldi happened upon a bushel of coffee cherries which they then began nibbling, before refusing to sleep throughout the night thanks to the caffeine kick they’d just received. Set inside Creative Hub Ethiopia (the site of design happenings and artisan pop-up shops), Goat is keen to celebrate Ethiopia’s coffee heritage while also offering a modern twist through innovative products like an organic coffee face and body scrub – perfect if you need a quick coffee fix even before breakfast.
The Goat Cafe, 2P6W+RXC, Addis Ababa
If you find yourself in Gerji, near the Eritrean Embassy, be sure to swing by this restaurant, which gets its name from the Gurage language and has become a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. Although Totot is primarily a restaurant, the Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a well-known part of the dining experience, accompanied by a live band and traditional dancers. They also serve tej (honey wine) for those who want to try Ethiopia’s other national drink.
Totot Traditional Restaurant, 2R44+WF3, Addis Ababa
A small and cosy spot, Tryst is full of regulars and is known as much for its breakfasts as it is for coffee. As you sip the day away, enjoy gazing at the art covering the walls, grab something from the bookshelf for a little light reading, or just lose yourself in a game of chess. This is the perfect spot in which to escape the bustling streets of Addis and get comfortable with a coffee, aided by a hearty breakfast or a doughnut.
Tryst Cafe, Bole Olompia and Bole Atlas, Addis Ababa
If you enjoy your freshly roasted brew at Tomoca (and we’re certain you will), take the first step towards recreating the experience at home by grabbing a bag of coffee beans to take back with you. And whichever of Tomoca’s multiple locations you happen to be visiting, try and spot a quote on the wall from French novelist and caffeine-junkie Honoré de Balzac, who was rumoured to drink a staggering 50 cups of coffee per day: “When you drink a cup of coffee, ideas come marching in like an army.” Get ready for those ideas to come flowing thick and fast, just don’t try and match Balzac’s heroic/terrifying coffee consumption.
Tomoca, multiple locations
Enjoy your coffee in an upscale setting at Cascara, located inside the Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa hotel, where you can sip your beverage alfresco on the outdoor terrace. Whether you’re after a macchiato, cafe latte or cappuccino, Cascara’s menu has all the staples, and if you’re looking for something with a little more kick, the bar offers coffee-infused cocktails, like a classic espresso martini.
Cascara Coffee & Cocktails, Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa, Meskel Square, Addis Ababa
Galani's industrial interior / Image: Imran Mazar
A coffee at Galani / Image: Imran Mazar
The first thing that strikes you about Galani is the hip, industrial aesthetic, which gives things a spacious feel and invites long, lingering visits. During those visits, take your pick from favourites like the classic espresso, drip coffee or cold brew, alongside more unusual offerings like the picolino (chocolate and caramel cream with a shot of espresso and foam) or cascara tea, made from the skins of dried coffee cherries. Accompany your drink of choice with some visual stimulation from the art space upstairs, which also sells locally crafted goods.
Galani, Jacrkross branch: Salite Mehret Rd, Addis Ababa. Lebu branch: Lebu Commercial Center, Addis Ababa
Named after its owner, Filimon Tesfasillassie, this warehouse-style cafe and roastery can be found in the Lafto area of Addis. In addition to the coffee, the locally-sourced décor will have you returning again and again, as will the laid-back vibe of the space. Tesfasillassie’s design vision was for the cafe to make fellow coffee-lovers and experts feel like they want to be there every day, and that’s exactly what he’s achieved.
Fili Coffee, WPWX+CFG, Addis Ababa
Another establishment paying tribute to the Ethiopian coffee origin legend, Kaldi’s is named after the famous goat herder himself. After launching in 2005, founder Tseday Asrat has established multiple locations for her espresso bar around both Addis Ababa and wider Ethiopia, meaning that it’s basically the Ethiopian version of Starbucks – it even has a green and white logo that may well remind you of the Seattle giant. There’s also a full food menu if you need something to soak up all the coffee.
Kaldi’s, multiple locations