Italy is known for it’s coffee. Your coffee beverage of choice was probably invented in Italy. Cappuccino? Yep. (Caffè) Latte? Yes. Macchiato? You bet. And of course, the king of coffee in Italy, the espresso. It’s by far the most commonly consumed coffee, so much so that all you have to do is enter a bar and order a “caffè” or “caffè normale” (literally translated, normal coffee) and you will be served an espresso. It took me awhile to realize that I didn’t need to specify an espresso when I order because it’s a given; the Italians just ask for “un caffè.”
That said, it’s surprising how much bad coffee I’ve consumed in Italy. I believe a lot of it comes down to poorly sourced beans and/or over-roasted beans. (If beans have an oily appearance they have been roasted too long; they lost their oil!) Combine that with equipment that doesn’t get cleaned or wiped down enough and baristas who don’t have the passion to even perfect their cappuccino and you get a rather bitter experience. Don’t mind the pun. This list will help guide you to GOOD coffee in Florence so you don’t have to feel the burn from bad coffee. Again, I’m sorry for the pun. (Maybe not really.)
The places on this list range from a more traditional Italian coffee experience (downing an espresso quickly while standing at the bar or sitting) to the trendier locales with ample seating and ambience where people might come to study or work on their computer, which is essentially the American coffee shop experience. But no matter the style, the common denominator is the good coffee experience, whether sipped or thrown back. You might recognize some of these places from the Most Scrumptious Breakfast list, because good breakfasts and good coffee definitely have an overlap. But good coffee doesn’t always mean good pastries, and vice versa, hence the different posts.
To read more about the coffee drinks you’ll find in Italy, click here.
Where to Find the Best Coffee in Florence
In no particular order
Location 1: Via dei Neri, 30/32r, between the church of Santa Croce and Palazzo Vecchio Location 2: Via dello Sprone, 5r, very close to Palazzo Pitti
Open 8:00am - 12:00am Monday through Friday, 9:00am - 12:00am Saturday and Sunday
Ditta Artigianale was founded in 2013 by an award-winning barista and is considered by many the best coffee in Florence, and they are usually busy to show it. This has one of the closest vibes to an American coffee shop with the quality coffee, cool and informal atmosphere, and competent baristas. Many people come here to work as well as socialize, drink coffee, and eat. They have single-origin coffee choices and you can buy their whole beans or have them grind them for you to make coffee at home as well as a delicious cold brew.
Via de’ Neri, 8, right in the center by San Lorenzo and the Mercato Centrale
Open 8:00am - 2:30am every day
A large caffè that serves coffee and food with different rooms on the main floor, basement, and even outside that is designed for lingering with friends or work. You can even buy botanicals or select house items, or listen to live music some evenings.
Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell’Ariento, near to the church of San Lorenzo
Open 8:00am - 12:00am every day
Up on the second floor of this historic wrought iron building you will find a large Italian-style food court. In the center there is a bar where you can order coffee, or you can find a place to sit and a waiter should eventually come to ask if you’d like something to drink, at no extra charge. It can get extremely busy during the lunch and dinner hours, so I would recommend going in the morning when it is calm or between 3:00pm and 7:30pm to avoid the crowds. Bonus: you can order a large (and maybe even an extra large?) cappuccino called a “cappuccione” for around 2euro (and maybe 3 for the extra large!)
Borgo la Croce, 71r, near Piazza Beccaria on the east side of town in a very local area
Open 7:00am - 7:00pm Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday
A new and hip little coffee place in the Sant’Ambrogio neighborhood. I recommend getting your drink to go (I believe they even do flat whites here) and take a stroll around the Sant’Ambrogio market around the corner or any of the antique markets nearby.
Lungarno di Santa Rosa, on the south side of the river.
Open 8:00am - Midnight weekdays, 10:00am - Midnight Saturday and Sunday
A lovely caffe with lots of beautiful green surrounding. It creates a wonderful escape from the bustling city center and is one of my favorite places to catch up with friends over a nice cup of coffee or tea.
Borgo S. Frediano, 20r, on the south side of the river not far from the church of Santo Spirito.
Open 10:00am - 12:02am Monday through Saturday, 2:00pm - 9:00pm Sunday
A two story cafe and book store, this is a great place to work on projects or find a private nook for deep conversations over a good cup of coffee. Very cozy and artsy.
Via del Corso, 36r, between the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio.
Open 7:30am - 9:30pm Monday through Saturday, 8:00am - 9:30pm Sunday
I always thought this cafe had a classy classic feel to it, great for meeting up with people or a quick coffee but not so much for using it as a place to work from. They have coffee sourced from around the world displayed on their wall and you can even choose which beans you want for your cup of coffee.
Via Vincenzo Gioberti, 51r, just outside the city center on the east side.
Open 7:00am - 7:30pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday
Piansa roasts their own coffee and sells to other places around town. If you find any cafe that uses the Piansa beans, it’s probably going to be great! Here you can even get pour overs and buy Chemex and filters!