Arriving in Timor-Leste and eager to explore the city and the Dili coffee shop scene, I took to social media and asked for suggestions of peoples favourite Dili coffee hangouts.
After not too long, I had 40+ responses and an exciting list of places – all unknown to me – to try and locate. I fired up Google Maps and set off on my bicycle to find the first…
Fatima Cafe, on R. José Maria Marques
Recently opened and possibly the newest coffee shop in Dili right now, Fatima Cafe is already a firm favourite for a consistently excellent macchiato, a slice of chocolate or orange cake and a good chat with Fatima herself.
Now, she’s someone that knows a lot about coffee and is happy to share her knowledge (over a coffee…). Located next to Boneca de Atauro, it’s also the closest coffee shop to my house and quickly became my local weekday stop-off and weekend hangout.
My partner’s drink (unfortunately she has to avoid caffeine) of choice is the iced strawberry latte made with Maubisse strawberries and I pick from a selection of different coffee beans including Maubere, Beliu and Letefoho for my macchiato and attempt to spot the difference.
I can highly recommend paying a visit to Fatima cafe for those that appreciate coffee | Open 7 days a week 0700 – 1900
ETDA, off Ave. President Nicolau Lobato
ETDA off Ave. President Nicolau Lobato ETDA Education Restaurant ‘where students are able to learn through doing tasks’ near the Ministerio da Defesa is slightly set back off the main street, so isn’t somewhere you’re likely to stumble upon.
However, it’s definitely worth a visit to this large, open and airy venue for lunch and a coffee, or just a coffee and a visit to the on-site gallery exhibiting some very cool pottery and artworks.
Each time I have visited there’s always been a positive energy, friendly and super attentive staff and a very good flat white served up | Open Monday to Friday, 0730 – 1700
Agora Food Studio at LELI English School (3rd floor)
If you’re already in Dili, you will most probably know about Agora and if not, you should. It’s tucked away off Av. de Portugal at the LELI English school, incredibly popular, lively and upbeat, and an extremely welcoming place – a favourite spot for myself and many, many others.
The coffee is consistently delicious, my go to being a flat-white, as well as extremely well presented, making it hard to resist a photograph of my flat-white each and every time I visit, no word of a lie… I’m not sure what I’m going to do with 100’s of flat-white photos!
There’s a huge selection of drink and coffee choices, a delicious menu and I find it particularly hard to resist the chocolate tart which is oh so good | Open Tuesday to Saturday, 0800 – 1800
Rolls n Bowls on Ave. Gov Alves Aldeia @ Colmera and Timor Plaza
I often forget how much I rate the coffee at Rolls n Bowls until I have it again and think to myself ‘why do I keep forgetting about this place, it’s so good?’
There are two RNB’s, one at Colmera, which is a popular, slick and modern outfit with a rooftop area (I mean come on, that’s reason enough to visit right?), and the other is a smaller outlet at the Timor Plaza food court.
I’ve experienced top notch service, great Asian fusion and Vietnamese food and an excellent flat white coffee – both drink in and take away – on the half a dozen occasions I have visited both locations | Open 7 days a week. Mon – Thur 0730 to 2200, on Friday 0730 to 2300 on Friday, 1000 to 2300 on Saturday and 1000 to 2200 on Sunday.
Cafe Letefoho on Ave. de Portugal
It will come as no surprise to those in Dili what-so-ever that Cafe Letefoho makes the list. It’s a well-known favourite (and a favourite of mine too) and for good reason as its got just about everything going for it – a prime location, amazing staff, super welcoming and friendly, as well as a huge selection of consistently excellent coffee.
I have to cycle pass along the esplanda on my way to work and find it hard to resist stopping for a morning or afternoon macchiato and slice of banana bread or a freshly made strawberry muffin.
Also, if you time it right, you’ll catch them roasting beans, which smells simply divine and adds to the already excellent coffee experience guaranteed at Cafe Letefoho | Open 7 days a week, 0700 – 1900.
Black Box Cafe, R. Gov. José Celestino da Silva
You may better know the unassuming Black Box as a late night club rather than a place serving up a decent coffee, however, during the day it does exactly that.
Black Box, situated behind Motael Church in Farol is located up a flight of black iron steps on the 2nd floor and does indeed look like a black box., which I’m sure is no co-incidence.
A weekend visit never disappoints, sitting at the balcony on a bar stool, watching the traffic go by from this inconspicuous, quiet and laid-back place, ideal for a flat-white and a book (or Youtube…) | Open 7 days a week 0800 – 0000
Do you have a favourite Dili coffee shop? Is there somewhere else you recommend I try? I’m always open to more suggestions!
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Hi, I’m Adam Constanza, freelance travel content creator living, working and supporting tourism in Timor Leste, South East Asia.
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