Those of you who have passed by a cursory glance at this blog likely know I love nothing more than taking myself out for a solo coffee date in Dili (usually with a book placed strategically beside me, which I inevitably ignore in favour of my phone).
I thought it’d be useful to gather together my favourite Dili coffee spots in one short list. These are my regular favourites for a combination of great barista coffee, excellent service, and a lovely ambiente. If you see me at any, definitely say hi.
Aptly-named Beachside cafe and its shore-side neighbour Caz Bar share such a sublime location they don’t have to make good food, which makes me all the more appreciative of Beachside’s choice to use the excellent Maubere Mountain Coffee in its menu. I love a lazy morning brunch with my feet in the sand and Laclubar beans in my belly, even when the entire population of the Australian Embassy and their children descend.
Find it: at Areia Branca, on the way to Cristo Rei
Order: a big plunger and a decadent brunch
4. Kaffe Uut
I live a five minute walk from the Farol Kaffe Uut and every time I leave after an arvo work stint the staff say knowingly, “see you tomorrow”. An early-2000s-vibe bistro with slinky elevator music and huge windows catching the golden afternoon light, it’s not my favourite space but the sunset light is second to none and I’d go back daily for the cheery staff alone.
Find it: on the Farol lighthouse road, or in the Pateo supermarket carpark complex
Order: a super-strong iced long black served in a charmingly twee jug with a paper straw, and settle in to nurse it for an hour while hogging the cafe’s only powerpoint
3. The Spa Cafe
My new go-to for my near-daily post-lunch coffee: a sunny streetside cafe serving beans from Letefoho at high wooden tables that convince me of my own Euro chic. Beautiful staff who care about your answer when they ask how you are, and a jar of ginger biscuits on the counter.
Find it: in Lecidere, opposite Kmanek Supermarket
Order: a long black and a biccie
2. Agora Food Studio
An experimental gastronomic incubator serving fine local food, Agora Food Studio also offers Dili’s best coffee and houses the country’s certified best barista. An eclectic space with ever-attentive staff and sweeping views of the city, Agora’s my go-to when in need of good lighting, fluent English and soothing calm.
Find it: in Kampung Alor, upstairs at LELI language school
Order: cold brew coffee; or, if you’re a milk-drinker, a good ol’ Aussie flat white
1. Letefoho Specialty Coffee
Number one was never going to be anything else. Since my first week here in Timor-Leste Letefoho’s been my go-to, for halting Tetun practise with the endlessly patient staff; for a quiet place to work alone; for strong good black coffee hand-dripped as a pour-over that’d make Melbourne cafes proud. This is Timor-Leste’s only dedicated specialty coffee joint and the first place I take Dili visitors.
Find it: in Kampung Alor, next door to Centro Supermercado on the beach road
Order: a pour over coffee; cheaper and more delicate than the dark-roast espresso.
Some honorary mentions, if you’re still searching: ETDA in Fatuhada, Rolls N Bowls in Colmera, Agua de Coco in Bairo dos Grillhos, level 5 Timor Plaza cafe at the shopping centre, Benny’s Cafe at the Grandace (RIP) site out the front of Quilina Supermarket.