It may be a cliché to say that east meets west in Baku, but the city’s café scene is indicative of the multiculturalism and cosmopolitan vibe for which the Azerbaijani capital is known.
Whether you want to be tempted by the smell of dark Turkish coffee blends or the honeyed sweetness of Middle Eastern pastries, enjoy a third-wave coffee in stylish surroundings or sit back in a Parisian-style café, the best cafés and coffee shops in Baku will not disappoint.
There is no shortage of places to drink high-quality coffee in Baku, but Baku Roasting Company has the edge over its competitors because it is the only place that roasts its own beans. The menu includes the brand’s smoky signature Black Gold Blend, and also a chocolatey roast from Papua New Guinea. Coffee aficionado Angie Vega is a regular visitor to Baku from the USA. “I spend a lot of time at the Baku Roasting Company. The coffee is incredible! Being there just makes me happy – there is something about it that just gives people a good feeling,” she says of her favourite place for a brew in Baku.
Cafecity is a Baku institution, with four branches found across the city. At Cafecity Five, close to Izmir Park, the designers aimed to create a home away from home – bookshelves and vintage photos line the walls, and the furniture is exactly the kind you want to slump into to read a magazine. The breakfast menu here is sublime: think salmon and avocado bruschetta, and omelettes with spicy sujuk sausage. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets can all be catered for here.
Tea lovers should seek out Baku’s best tea house, Cay Bagi 145. The garden is a tranquil oasis in the city, and the terrace overlooks the Old City and the sea. “It’s hard to imagine a better location,” explains writer Rhoda Dell. “And there are so many gorgeous features, from the Azeri carpets on the floor to the pretty hand-painted ceramics,” she says. The hot black tea is served in tulip glasses, and its slight bitterness is perfectly matched with a sticky slab of layered honey cake.
Independent and local, Coffee Moffie is in a prime location close to Baku’s Fountain Square. All the baristas are Lavazza certified, and excellent Italian style coffees dominate the menu. In the daytime, Coffee Moffie is a popular workspace for digital nomads wanting peace, strong coffee, and reliable WiFi. On evenings and weekends, though, Coffee Moffie becomes a social hub for community groups. “The Baku Runners meet here three times a week,” explains Baku resident Christopher Green. “The café also has chess tournaments every month, and hosts gatherings of the Weird Poets Society, where new writers come to read their plays,” he adds.
If you came into Kibrit Book Cafe in the evening, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a cultural centre. In fact, it’s a multi-purpose space: they do brew fantastic Colombian coffee and sell books, but come nightfall it’s also a live music venue and preferred spot for book launches and talks. There’s a laid-back feel and the customers are generally students and creative types. If that sounds like you, this is where you’ll find your tribe.
Malacannes 145 is a café and shisha lounge inside the stunning Molokan Garden. It’s a sprawling historic building where you can easily while away an entire afternoon admiring the architecture and traditionally inspired interiors. There’s always hot tea in the samovar, and the waiter will bring you a shisha pipe. The menu ranges from Azerbaijani snacks to sushi, via European pastries and freshly made sandwiches, but the desserts, which are especially decadent, will keep you coming back for more.
Meandering through the medieval backstreets of Baku and the glitzy modern downtown area, it is easy to forget that for much of the 20th century Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union. Old School has attempted to preserve this aspect of the city’s history in its Soviet-themed decor and its cheap and cheerful menu. There are bright, bold artworks and evocative black and white photos on the walls. Kitsch statues, and oversized house plants are also on display. Grab a coffee spot to sit, and challenge the person on the table next to you to a game of chess.
California has invaded Baku in the form of this Hollywood-themed burger bar close to the Icheri Sheher. The bright yellow walls are very much in keeping with Sunset’s name, and in addition to excellent hamburgers, the café also serves up all manner of Tex-Mex favourites. There’s a long list of excellent cocktails, and the barman would give any mixologist in Los Angeles a run for his money.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.