Ten Places to Grab Coffee in Colombo, Sri Lanka


I have put together a list of my favourite places to grab a cuppa in the city. They have been rated for ambiance, service and value for money. I have been to every one of these cafes atleast three times and have personally called every place at the time of writing this article to ensure accuracy of pricing. This list is in alphabetical order and not according to any rating system.

Barista Lavazza

Barista have been around since 2002 and have been serving affordable and flavourful coffee for over a decade in the city. I used to practically live at Barista in Bangalore, India when I was an undergrad student as the coffee, food and service was excellent and extremely affordable. The Barista outlets in Colombo however are not upto the mark of those in India. A shot of Espresso is priced at Rs. 280, while a Cappuccino is priced at Rs. 390 for a regular and Rs. 440 for a Grande and their Café Latte is Rs. 400. They do not have skimmed or soy milk, they only offer full cream milk. They use Lavazza beans from Italy and the coffee is strong and of good quality however the service is below average and a take-away cup of coffee could take as long as ten minutes for them to prepare. If you love Lavazza and you enjoy strong coffee this is the place to grab a strong cuppa joe.

Ambiance: 3/5

Service: 2/5

Value for Money: 4/5

Cappuccino at Barista

Cappuccino at Barista

Coco Veranda

Located at Ward Place and in operation since March 2010 Coco Veranda continues to serve up some very good coffee. Their prices are slightly on the higher side because they use Filicori beans which are shipped all the way from Bologna, Italy. A single shot of Espresso costs Rs. 360 and the Cappuccino is Rs. 450 while flavoured Lattes and Frappes are Rs. 540. They do have the option of either full cream or low-fat milk which is great. The ambiance at Ward Place is brilliant especially if you want to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning and catch up on your emails or the morning papers. They have free wi-fi and their service is great. The staff are friendly and they always have a smile on their faces. They have another outlet located at the Ground Floor of the Crescat Boulevard Shopping Complex. I personally prefer the Ward Place outlet as it is very homely.

Ambiance: 4/5

Service: 4/5

Value for Money: 3/5

Caramel Latte at Coco Veranda

Caramel Latte at Coco Veranda

Coffee at Coco Veranda

Coffee at Coco Veranda

Commons Coffee House

Commons has been around for quite a while and they have always served up good quality coffee. I was told that they use Hansa coffee and I am not surprised as their coffee is rich and well flavoured. They do not have low-fat or soy milk options which is inconvenient despite my suggesting it to them several times over the past five years. Their Espresso is priced at Rs. 308 for a single shot, the Cappuccino and the Latte are both Rs. 363 and the Frappes are Rs. 486. They have free wi-fi and comfortable seating and TV to keep you entertained if need be. The service is friendly and efficient however some days they can be rather slow depending on how crowded it is.

Ambiance: 3/5

Service: 3/5

Value for Money: 3/5

Cup Café

This cafe is a hidden little gem opposite Odel on Alexander Place aka C W W Kannangara Mawatha and serves up some delicious coffee. I did not know about the place until I saw some pictures on Instagram about six months ago and decided to check it out. The décor is very basic but the chairs are comfortable and they offer free wi-fi. It is a nice place to relax and do some writing or catch up for coffee with a friend after a hard day’s work. The café is rather homely and reminds me of the coffee shops in Bangkok, Kuala Lampur and Singapore. They also have a collection of newspaper articles about the café hung on a notice board which gives it a nice feel. A shot of Espresso is Rs. 230, while a Cappuccino is Rs. 300 and a Café Latte is Rs. 300. If you want a flavour added to your coffee it will cost you an extra Rs. 100. They have the option of low fat milk. They also serve a very delectable Key Lime Pie which we are told is supplied to the café daily by a home baker. The coffee is rich and flavourful. The baristas are well trained and very obliging if you want to change your coffee around to suit your tastes. The service here is very good and the staff are extremely attentive. You will never have to prompt them about an order or worry about them getting your order wrong.

Ambiance:  3/5

Service: 4/5

Value for Money: 4/5

Cafe Latte at Cup Cafe

Cafe Latte at Cup Cafe

Affogato at Cup Cafe

Affogato at Cup Cafe

Iced Caramel Macchiato at Cup Cafe

Iced Caramel Macchiato at Cup Cafe

Delifrance

This café is probably one of the oldest coffee places in the city but is now housed at the Odel Department Store on Alexander Place. The service is good however it is more like self service as you have to place your order, find a table and take your food/beverages to your table.  A shot of Espresso would cost you Rs. 320, a Cappuccino Rs. 380 and a Café Latte Rs. 370. The coffee is good and they offer non-fat milk as well. They do not have wi-fi and the café is quite full especially over the weekend which makes it quite tough to secure a table but it all depends on what time you go.

Ambiance: 3/5

Service: 3/5

Value for Money: 3/5

Gloria Jean’s

This coffee shop is another addition to the Colombo coffee shops and an international chain hailing from Australia. I have visited a couple of times and I must say that the service has improved since the first time I visited in early March. The coffee is strong and has a rich aroma and they are served in large mugs. A single shot of Espresso will cost you Rs. 350 while a Cappuccino ranges from Rs. 410 for a small and Rs. 470 for a large. Their flavoured lattes both hot and cold range from Rs. 450 to Rs. 580. They have free wi-fi and it seems like a popular spot for a lot of people wanting to catch up on their writing and reading as I’ve seen a lot of customers on their laptops here. If you are someone who loves to read and write at coffee shops this might be the place for you. They don’t have all the items listed on their menu as they are still in start-up phase. The staff are friendly and they have improved by leaps and bound since opening.

Ambiance: 4/5

Service: 3/5

Value for Money: 3/5

Cafe Mocha at Gloria Jean's

Cafe Mocha at Gloria Jean’s

Hansa Café

Located at Fife Road, Colombo 5 inside a cosy old building, Hansa Cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy a Cappuccino and catch up with an old friend or read a book on a rainy day. The furniture is comfortable and makes you want to take a little nap. The only negative thing I have to say about this place is that it is very small and cannot accommodate more than eight to ten people at a time. The coffee is very good and total value for money. A shot of Espresso is Rs. 140, a Cappuccino is Rs. 260 and a Latte is Rs. 245 while their Iced Coffee is Rs. 250. The last time I visited the wi-fi wasn’t working but I have been told that it is in fine working condition now. The place is air-conditioned and the staff are friendly. They also have Hansa Coffee for sale at the cafe but you can always buy their coffee at any of the local supermarkets.

Ambiance: 3/5

Service: 4/5

Value for Money: 5/5

Cappuccino at Hansa Cafe

Cappuccino at Hansa Cafe

Iced Coffee at Hansa Cafe

Iced Coffee at Hansa Cafe

 

Java Lounge

Located on Jawatte Road closer to the Thimbirigasyaya end this is a cosy place for a cup of coffee while catching up on your emails in the morning or to relax after a hectic day at work. They have been in operation for two and a half years and seem to be a popular spot judging by the number of cars parked outside during rush hour traffic in the evenings.  A shot of Espresso is Rs. 320, while a Cappuccino is Rs. 360 and a Café Latte Rs. 340 while a flavoured Latte is Rs. 440. They also have wi-fi which is quite fast compared to the other coffee shops. The outside seating area is conducive to reading or catching up on your writing provided it is not raining.

Ambiance: 3/5

Service: 2/5

Value for Money: 3/5

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Located at the corner of Maitland Crescent and Horton Place they have been around since late 2008 with outlets at the Bandaranaike International Airport and the World Trade Centre at Echelon Square. This is an international chain of coffee shops and unlike the others I have been to around the Asia-Pacific region, it is rather spacious. The coffee is not cheap and neither are the iced blended drinks. A single shot of Espresso is Rs. 320, Cappuccino is Rs. 450, Hot Latte’s are Rs. 520 upwards and their Signature Ice Blended Drinks range from Rs. 550 to 600. They have the option of full cream, low-fat and soy milk. They also offer free wi-fi and there is ample parking both on Horton Place and Maitland Crescent.  The coffee is good but sometimes the take away coffee could take longer than 10 minutes depending on the amount of customers at the time you walk in. Service is friendly but not all that prompt.

Ambiance: 3/5

Service: 3/5

Value for Money: 2/5

Whight and Co

Located at the corner of Aloe Avenue and Marine Drive this is a welcome addition to Colombo’s  coffee shops. The location is great and the coffee is excellent. Their pricing is quite reasonable. Rs. 280 for a shot of Espresso, Rs. 300 for a Cappuccino and Rs. 350 for a flavoured Latte. They also have the option of enjoying your coffee with full cream, low-fat or soy milk which is great as most places do not cater to the various dietary requirements one might have. I have been there several times and keep going back for the coffee and the ambiance. They also have free wi-fi so if you wish to sit and catch up on some reading or writing with the Indian Ocean as a backdrop this would be an ideal spot for you. They have been open for a little over three months now however they need to pay attention to their service as it is quite difficult to get the attention of their staff if you want to order another cup of coffee or ask for a glass of water.

Ambiance: 4/5

Service: 2/5

Value for Money: 4/5

Cappuccino at Whight & Co

Cappuccino at Whight & Co

View of the Indian Ocean from Whight & Co

View of the Indian Ocean from Whight & Co

NB: Pictures for Coco Veranda and Hansa Cafe were supplied by the respective cafes, all other pictures were taken by the author. All rights reserved.

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