June 18, 2018

A Specialty Coffee Shop Tour of Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan. The city in which the paths of the East and West cross. A blend of Europe and Asia, where tea and coffee cultures meet.

For centuries, the capital’s residents have sipped on sweet black tea, typically served with pastries and desserts. Today, however, specialty coffee is increasingly common and the Old Town boasts several third wave cafés.

So, when you visit our fairy-tale city, take the time to stop by my four favorite specialty coffee shops.

You might also like: A Specialty Coffee Shop Tour of Istanbul

The path from farm to cup in United Coffee Beans. Credit: Elmar Mustafazadeh

Why These Four?

The specialty coffee market in Baku is fairly new, but it’s vibrant. In fact, a new café opens almost every month and they’re all unique in some way. This makes it difficult to pick just four favourites, and impossible to say which are the “best” coffee shops in the city.

However, as a local, I love every single place that made it onto my final list – and I’m sure you will, too.

cafe

United Coffee Beans, an Australian roastery and café. Credit: Elmar Mustafazadeh

1. United Coffee Beans (UCB)

United Coffee Beans has only been open since January, but it has already become popular with Baku’s coffee lovers. Settle down into a chair with a specialty latte or pour over and take the time to look around. Handmade decorations, wooden detailing, and pot plants add a charming touch. And the homey vibes make it the perfect place to spend an hour or two, whether you’re reading a book or hanging out with friends.

cold brew

The Master Roaster’s Choice, a cold brew cocktail served at UCB. Credit: Elmar Mustafazadeh

WhereYusif Mammadaliyev Str. 6
AtmosphereYoung, fun, and welcoming
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Linea AV
GrinderEspresso – Mazzer Super Jolly & Mini

Filter – Baratza Encore

RoasterParviz Dadashev roasts in-house on a Has Garanti HGS 5
Coffee OfferingsEspresso – Blend or single origin

 Filter – Single origin

Must-Try DrinkCold brew bar specialties
Retail OfferingsCoffee beans
Food & Other DrinksSandwiches, salads, pastries, cookies, and teas
Nearby SightsThe National Museum of History of Azerbaijan

2. 95 Degrees Coffee & Bruschetta

The name might be the temperature of a perfectly brewed coffee but this place is decidedly cool. Its stylish interior combines Azerbaijani historical heritage with a cosy design.

When you walk in, you’ll be struck by the distinctive paintings on the wall. They’re an homage to Gobustan Rock Art, a series of 12,000-year-old rock carvings that have UNESCO World Heritage Site status. (Feeling inspired? The site is just an hour from Baku, so you can easily make a day trip out of it.)

But even if prehistoric rock art isn’t your thing, you’ll still love 95 Degrees. The comfortable atmosphere and smell of freshly brewed coffee is a recipe for a great day.

specialty coffee shop

Craft style with a Gobustan touch at 95 Degrees. Credit: Elmar Mustafazadeh

WhereFikret Amirov Str. 1
AtmosphereFriendly and cosy
Espresso MachineNuova Simonelli Aurelia 2
GrinderEspresso – Anfim Caimano

 Filter – Baratza Sette 270

Coffee OfferingsEspresso  – Ethiopian blend

Filter – Single origin

Must-Try DrinkSalted Caramel Latte and Black Tonic
Retail OfferingsN/A
Food & Other DrinksBruschetta, pastries, wine, and teas
Nearby SightsHouse of Government and the large Azadliq Square, which over the years has been the site of several protests, demonstrations, and even revolutionary concerts
roastery

95 degrees’ distinctive style is recognizable even when the Gobustan paintings are out of sight (hint: look to the bottom left). Credit: Elmar Mustafazadeh

3. REA Coffee

REA Coffee’s minimalism is a welcome break from the city-centre bustle. Its simplicity and light colors leave you instantly soothed as you walk through the door. But it’s not just the decor that’s great. Take the time to enjoy a cup of delicious coffee, roasted by Azerbaijani small batch roasers Kofetetarea – it’s the perfect pick-me-up on a day of sightseeing and shopping.

Inside REA coffee in Baku. Credit: REA Coffee

WhereZeynalabdin Tagiyev Str. 27
AtmosphereFriendly and peaceful
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Strada EP
GrinderEspresso – Mazzer Super Jolly

Filter – Mazzer ZM

Retail – Baratza Encore
Coffee OfferingsEspresso – Seasonal espresso blend from Kofetetarea

Filter – Single origins, also from Kofetetarea

Must-Try DrinkThe AeroPress or Chemex
Retail OfferingsN/A
Food & Other DrinksPastries, cookies, and teas
Nearby SightsThe delightful Fountains Square, sometimes called Parapets by locals

 

4. Vinyl Gastro Café

This atmospheric spot is known for its Russian and Azerbaijani specialty coffee roasts. But although it’s a great place to enjoy an espresso or pour over, Vinyl is far more than just a third wave coffee shop. European food, creative cocktails and mocktails, and the sound of vinyl records playing in the background – it’s the perfect harmony.

Oh, and did we mention that you can buy some of those vinyl records, too?

coffee and music

Retro vibes meet modern design at Vinyl Records. Credit: Elmar Mustafazadeh

WhereUzeyir Hacibeyov str.62, Marine Plaza
AtmosphereCozy and intimate
Espresso MachineLa Marzocco Linea Classic
GrinderEspresso – Mahlkonig K30 Air

Filter – Mahlkonig EK43

Coffee OfferingsEspresso – Square Mile espresso blend

Filter – Single origins from Brew Russian Family Coffee Roasters and Square Mile

Must-Try DrinkTheir signature non-alcoholic Raf Beer and Immersion Martini
Retail OfferingsVinyl records
Food & Other DrinksCocktails, food, and pastries
Nearby SightsMarina Plaza and the striking Port Baku Residence
filter coffee

Filter coffee for two at Vinyl Gastro Café. Credit: Elmar Mustafazadeh

Baku is full of great cafés, but these four coffee houses have become my personal favorites. Give them a try – they might also become yours!

Feature photo credit: Elmar Mustafazadeh

All views within this opinion piece belong to the guest writer, who is a local of Baku, and do not reflect Perfect Daily Grind’s stance.

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