In Cardiff, you can drink delicious coffee in a converted 1920s cinema, from a café built into the walls surrounding our historic castle, or among 3,000 tree species in 56-hectare Bute Park – these are just a few of the many noteworthy options.
Much of the compact city is both flat and scenic, so let’s go on a walking tour of some of Cardiff’s must-visit coffee shops and enjoy the places that make our city unique.
We’re starting out from The Castle Emporium and Finco Coffee. Located on Womanby Street, just across the road from Cardiff Castle, the emporium is a hub of independent shopping. Finco serve speciality coffee here from 7am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and they have all the alternative milks from oat to almond. You can relax in the emporium’s indoor seating area and once you’re refreshed, shop for gifts and treats from art prints to skateboard gear or find services from barbering to picture framing.
Another coffee shop with a positive community ethos is Little Man Coffee Co on Ivor Street. This friendly cafe has a bottomless cup of coffee on its menu, plus bags of coffee beans to buy and take away. You’ll also find lunches, cakes, and vintage armchairs, in addition to art exhibitions and a varied timetable of creative events. Look out for their little sister café, Little Man Garage, in Cardiff’s Riverside area – and both locations are very dog friendly.
Let’s take in some of Cardiff’s Victorian shopping arcades next, with a visit to family run coffee shop Uncommon Ground in the historic Royal Arcade. The décor includes bare brick walls, brass kettles hanging from the ceiling and neon lights. Made from A-Grade green coffee beans, their coffee is prepared in their own roasting facility to make ‘Original Uncommon Ground Espresso.’
From one arcade to another, Waterloo Tea has a branch in the city centre’s Wyndham Arcade, plus several in Roath and Penarth. A specialist teahouse with options from ‘Silver Needle,’ to ‘Iron Goddess of Mercy,’ you’ll also find a full range of coffees, and renowned cakes made in-house.
We have one more stop to make in the arcades - Coffee Barker in the Castle Arcade offers generously portioned coffees, alongside smoothies, milkshakes and cocktails. Watch the world go by from their sprawling East Village and Paris inspired cafes.
Cardiff’s Indoor Market on nearby St Mary St, still stands in its original Victorian shell. Among its hustle, bustle and many residents, is Hard Lines coffee. With their own roastery, they select, roast and serve coffee that’s been sourced sustainably. Look out for their own line of merch, and their beetroot latte – it’s pink!
Let’s look at some art before our next coffee, at National Museum Wales. Close to the museum on Park Place, sits Ride My Bike Cafe, a friendly café, bar and workshop. Here, you can pick up a light or lock for your bike, book your bike in for a service, or enjoy a coffee with a great view. We’re awarding extra points for being open late-ish several evenings each week, and for dog friendliness.
Just across North Road, you can find Bute Park, which was gifted to the people of Cardiff by the fifth Marquess of Bute in 1947. The Summer House Cafe was inspired by the design of the original summer house located in the Bute family’s grounds. An outdoor cafe, you’ll find glorious scenery, many dogs, plus coffees and snacks. The Secret Garden Café is a little deeper into the park, and promotes local produce, the environment and community. Outdoors yet undercover inside a walled courtyard, you can wrap up in thick Welsh wool blankets while you sip your coffee. A third option for a Bute Park coffee break is Pettigrew Tea Rooms. Built into the stone walls that surround the park, this coffee shop has both indoor and outdoor seating, and is particularly famed for its afternoon tea.
From Bute Park, you can hop on a water bus for a trip down the River Taff to Cardiff Bay. Dog owners, this area caters especially well for both you and your hound/s.
The family run Quantum Coffee Roasters on Bute Street is a spot for serious coffee drinkers. The many strong coffee options include Greek specialty iced coffee, and nitro coffee on tap.
With three locations in Cardiff Bay, Coffi Co is a Welsh chain, serving lunches, coffees, craft beers, and indulgent drinks such as their Curly Wurly Latte.
Spot a bright orange shipping container out on Cardiff Bay barrage, and you’ve found Café Hafren, a coffee shop that raises funds for RSPB.
Mount Stuart Square is home to Sunflower&I, a flower studio and café bar, whose menu includes Polish style ground coffee brewed in the glass, and liqueur coffee, served in grand, flower-filled surroundings. Ask in-house about their floristry services.
Situated in the oldest remaining building in Cardiff Bay – a former coaching inn built in 1839 – is Octavos, a coffee and book shop open until late on Fridays and Saturdays, whose menu includes a mac and cheese toastie.
If you like cake with your coffee, check out the very photo worthy cupcakes at Love Peace and Cupcake (formerly The Deck Coffee House and Cakery) on Harrowby St, an award-winning spot that’s also renowned for their vintage styled afternoon tea.
Pontcanna, Grangetown and Cathays
These next spots are slightly out of the city centre, and totally worth the walk.
The name ‘Lufkin’ originates from the word love, and Lufkin Coffee are happy to be serving fresh and tasty coffee. Their original dog friendly location on Kings Rd Pontcanna, includes their own roastery, and they’ve recently run a successful Kickstarter for two new locations on Clare Rd, Grangetown, and Thompson's Park, Canton.
Kin & Ilk serve speciality coffee and fresh locally sourced food in several locations around town, including Cathedral Road in Pontcanna.
A vegan café with social goals, Wild Thing is based in Grangetown. Their coffee is roasted by Hard Lines, while their vegan, gluten and refined sugar-free cakes are baked fresh every morning. With a belief healthy food should not be a privilege, their daily soup invites customers to pay what you can.
Over on Woodville Road in Cathays, The Early Bird are famed for their brunch, bakes and brews. As the name suggests, you might want to arrive early for your coffee as they often have a waiting list.
What’s your favourite coffee shop in Cardiff? If you try one of these suggestions don’t forget to tweet your coffee shop photos @VisitWales, and please share any other favourites.