The best coffee, tea & hot chocolate spots in Bruges
I proudly have one thing in common with J.K. Rowling (hopefully more but one thing for sure) and that is that we both like to work in cafés. You know that she wrote the legendary Potter books over coffee in a cozy café in Edinburgh, right? It’s super cool indeed. Well, I am also one of those people who could concentrate in a café around a thousand times more than in my house or in a library. Other than that, I am a coffee enthusiast, I have a rigorous love for pastry and I don’t think I’ve spend a day without tea for over fifteen years. Spending quality time with friends & family at coffeebars is also one of the loveliest part of my life. I can hear you saying “Mediterranean culture”, oh well, maybe. All these in mind, I decided to make my humble list for the best coffee & tea spots in Bruges. The cherry on top, there are some suggestions for hot chocolate as well. Tchin- tchin!
Li o Lait
The place is so comfortably decorated, looks almost like a friend’s house who piles up all her books in one corner and who always prefers easiness over meticulously organized living rooms. Li, the owner, is there behind the bar, steaming milk or putting a slice of cake on a plate. She is buzzing with energy and spreading positive vibes to her surroundings. I must admit, I liked the place more after I had a chance to talk to her. She was the first person in Bruges to sell bagels and -she got me at this point- pasteis de nata! And don’t worry - they also has options for other dietary options. Definitely recommended for a laid back coffee or an afternoon tea.
Address: Dweerstraat 30
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:30am – 5:30pm
Closed on Sundays
Margritt opened its doors only last May. If you are a “Less is more” person looking for a classical café in the city center this afternoon, then Margritt is your cup of tea. You could relax in this house-like café while having one of the classical coffees from the menu. Besides classic options such as caffè lattes or caffè macchiatos, Margritt also offers highly popular matcha tea! Next time, my order would be a matcha tea and one of the delicious looking pies.
Address: Sint-Amandsstraat 30
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00am - 5:30pm
Sunday from 9:00am – 4:00pm
Espresso Bar I love Coffee
Rock ‘n’ roll and coffee aren’t always necessarily mentioned in the same context. Here in Espresso Bar I Love Coffee, however, they go together pretty well. If you like dim lights and a dose of Spanish music alongside your coffee, you could definitely give this café a shot. I feel the place looks a bit more like a franchise second-wave coffee place, and I didn’t drink anything strikingly good here. Yet, if you are exhausted when doing the triangle Bruges City tour, this could be on your list for a small break. Some foodies told me that their hot chocolate is pretty good too - just so you know!
Address: Sint-Jakobsstraat 10
Opening hours: every day from 8:00am - 6:00pm
Hermanus Coffee & Sweets
Langestraat is quite an interesting street. You wouldn’t call it absolutely touristic yet it’s quite central. It’s very central yet you don’t feel that everything is being quickly consumed as you often feel in other places in Bruges. A rocker, alternative, 1990’s fan friend of mine suggested this place: “They are the coolest in town, you know. They also have this motorcycle shop next to the café. You’re a hipster but you’ll like the place.” I ignored the “but” in his sentence and spent an afternoon there. It’s definitely cozy and the café part didn’t have as many heavy metal influences as I was expecting from a motorcycle lifestyle store’s coffee shop. I only tried the cappuccino and it was a well-deserved 6/10. For a comfortable calm afternoon, Hermanus is an absolutely fine address!
Address: Langestraat 51-53
Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 9:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm - 6:00pm
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Every corner in Bruges is a tourist attraction - that I guess goes without saying. And the city has mostly daily visitors (in 2015, 7.8 million people visited Bruges, my goodness!). So Bruges is constantly welcoming different people, each day, every day. I feel that this - and my friends also agree - affects the behaviour of some of the shop owners. They tend to make you feel uncomfortable in a café and give you the uneasy sense of “I have to drink my coffee and eat this slice of delicious cheesecake as soon as possible”. Well, this is unfortunately the case with Vero Caffè. Such a cute place, minimalist decoration, my favourite kind of music, cheesecakes winking at you from the small shelves. However, the service is definitely not friendly. I would say neutral but I guess it is more distant and even negative. I’ve heard unfortunate stories of people being asked to leave as they stay too long without ‘consuming enough’. For my part, I still go there two to three times a week as it still is a nice option with a warm coffee atmosphere. Their slow brewed Kenya is pretty good and their cappuccino is also decent. One last comment, for Vero Caffè in particular but to all Bruges cafes in general: we want warm brownies. Brownies are always happier when served warm!
Address: Sint-Jansplein 9
Opening hours: every day from 11:00am - 6:00pm
The Old Chocolate House
These days, the weather is calling everyone to have giant bowls of hot chocolate. So we should all go to The Old Chocolate House. This romantic place offers more than twenty five different types of hot chocolate - and all of them are special in their own way. One just cannot resist when served an enormous bowl of milk along with a cup - made of chocolate - full of chocolate that you chose from the seemingly never ending menu. I tried salted caramel and white chocolate so far, and after both my mouth and stomach threw some sugar parties. For a sweet treat when the holidays are just around the corner, The Old Chocolate House is *the* hot chocolate place to go in Bruges.
Address: Mariastraat 1
Opening hours: every day from 9:00am - 6:00pm
Admittedly, I first went there just because I thought the name was so cute: Cafuné means “the act of caressing or tenderly running fingers through a loved one's hair” in Brazilian Portugese. And voila, a typical third wave coffee place! They offer coffee with different brewing techniques such as Chemex, but of course you might want to play it safe and order one of the regular coffees. Again, I don’t enjoy the place much because of the service, also since the music is rather too funky or loud if you go there to study. Frankly, I didn’t try any pastry here but their menu is somewhat rich if you also want to take a bite before dinner.
Address: Academiestraat 8
Opening hours: Monday, Thursday & Friday from 8:30am – 5:30pm
Saturday & Sunday from 9:00am – 6:00pm
Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday
The Gulliver Tree
And… My absolute favourite place in the city! The Gulliver Tree can always make my day with its lovely atmosphere. Homemade pies, cheesecakes - also some with other dietary options -, a chimney, modern decorations, coffee cups just like in your grandmother’s house… And they are also pet-friendly, so your dog can enjoy a good afternoon nap when you are having your coffee. The regular coffees are good, although nothing spectacular. You may also order a huge afternoon special full of cakes and cream. Such a delight! Janey, Jilly, Anny and Fien are friendly and cheerful, they want to make sure that you leave the place with a soft smile on your face.
Address: Cordoeaniersstraat 4
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00am – 6:00pm