Where to enjoy specialty coffee in Milan, according to Gambero Rosso

Feb 29 2024, 12:55
From coffee shops to bakeries, here are the must-visit places in Milan for an excellent cup

The small Florence has given tough competition to all the major Italian cities when it comes to specialty coffee. While Rome and Milan are doing well, they could certainly do better considering their size: Milan had a modest start six or seven years ago - while the capital was struggling - but today the scene seems to have stabilized a bit. However, there are still some excellent establishments, and hopefully, the number will continue to grow (especially because some of these are mostly pastry shops with a good coffee offering but not focusing solely on the black gold). Here's where to enjoy specialty coffee in Milan.

Best Specialty Bars in Milan

Bar Affori

A classic neighborhood bar with carefully designed furnishings and a wide, varied selection where specialties take center stage: at Bar Affori, you'll find top-level espresso and filter coffee made with beans from La Sosta, Le Piantagioni del Caffè, and Caffè Cagliero, among other rotating roasters. For breakfast, Clèa Pasticceria Culinaria's leavened pastries, including croissants, cruffins, and cubic croissants filled with silky creams, make the break in this cozy bar with knowledgeable and friendly staff even more enjoyable.

Bar Affori– via Alessandro Astesani, 15 - Facebook

Le Polveri

Using flours from small Italian stone-ground organic mills, Aurora Zancanaro creates various types of loaves, pizza al taglio, brioche bread, cookies, and festive leavened treats. Every day, something different is kneaded with live sourdough, but there are also cookies and biscuits to nibble on with excellent specialty coffee, a passion of Gianni Tratzi, Aurora's husband, who has selected real gems for the bakery. Two locations, one in Sant'Ambrogio, the other in Giambellino.

Le Polveri – via Ausonio, 7 – via Vespri Siciliani, 16 - Facebook

Orsonero Coffee

Brent Jopson and Giulia Gasperini were pioneers of specialty coffee in Milan. Their coffee shop started in 2016 as a kind of "experiment": they brought light and minimal design from Canada, centered the offer on black gold, and have since become one of the most appreciated addresses for coffee lovers. The menu is minimal but still excellent: double espresso, mocha, cortado, cappuccino, flat white, americano, pour over, quality tea, organic drinks. The tasting blend is Cignobianco from Gardelli Specialty Coffees, accompanied by precious single origins on rotation.

Orsonero – via Broggi, 15 - Facebook


An artisanal coffee shop and roastery, Cafezal is now a well-established name in the specialty coffee world, with three locations in Milan, including the new one on Corso Magenta that opened in April 2023. The historic Garibaldi blend, an Arabica blend from Brazil and Uganda, stands out, offering a enveloping and bold espresso. Also, try the cappuccino with Pedegral (Colombian coffee with chocolate and caramel notes), which pairs well with American cookies. In the warm season, they also offer fresh and refreshing drinks based on cold brew.

Cafezal – viale Premuda, 14 – via Solferino, 27 – Corso Magenta, 96 - Facebook

Loste Café

The experience of Lorenzo Cioli and Stefano Ferraro, a sommelier and a pastry chef with illustrious backgrounds (read Noma in Copenhagen), is behind the success of Loste, a space with cosmopolitan design and soul. Coffee (specialty and sustainable) plays a central role; in cups and mugs, you'll find not only excellent cappuccino and espresso but also flat white, cortado, or filter coffee. Among the highlights are the leavened pastries, buttery and impeccable, such as the unmissable cinnamon roll, cardamom, cruffin, the cube with coffee and lime cream, or the savory version with top-notch cold cuts and cheeses (the rotation is continuous). Another location is also present.

Loste Café – via Francesco Guicciardini, 3 - via Varesina, 204 - Facebook

Nowhere Coffee & Community

Here, pink dominates everything, from furnishings to takeaway cups. Welcome to Nowhere, a lively and trendy specialty coffee shop (and micro-roastery) that recently moved to another location. There are also books to read or vinyl records to buy, but people come here primarily for coffee, thanks to the excellent Arabica single origins available in espresso, V60, aeropress, cold brew, and many other variations. The brunch offerings are good, with a nice focus on vegan options.

Nowhere Coffee & Community – via Caminadella, 15 - Facebook


A name that says it all, almost like a manifesto. Lea Pedrinella and Lorenza Licciardello have created this venue where specialty coffee, food, and wine are served with respect for raw materials and sustainability. In the morning, it's a bakery and coffee shop where you can awaken your senses with croissants and sweet and savory pastries, along with espressos, cappuccinos, ice lattes, and filter coffee. A tasty proposal for every hour of the day, from breakfast to dinner, passing through aperitifs, with glasses of small winemakers.

Onest – via Gerolamo Turroni, 2 - Facebook


One of the most loved venues in the city, which in just over a decade has introduced a new way of experiencing the bar. The atmosphere is intimate and informal, with the warmth of reclaimed furniture and young, enthusiastic faces behind the counter. Soar high with the leavened and laminated pastries in the morning, to be savored with a good cup, in the classic blend or by choosing from the single origins. You can also order well-made filter coffees and cappuccinos, as well as cold brew during the summer season.

Pavé – via Felice Casati, 27 - Facebook

Clandestino non esiste

It's the spin-off of Onest, a bakery with a coffee shop that focuses on research (experimental fermentations and very high hydration) with a special focus on sustainability. Alongside the loaves, there are also specialty coffees - to be tried in filter - perfect to sip with one of the many sweet leavened treats.

Clandestino non esiste – via Conte Rosso, 18 - Instagram

L’Ile douce

Angela and Fabrizio Barbato's place is minimal and well-kept, dominated by a well-stocked counter featuring refined French-style creations. But, of course, an author's breakfast is not complete without a good espresso, which has improved over the years. Today there is a true coffee menu, including specialties. The espresso cup is well-made, as is the cappuccino, artfully decorated with perfectly whipped milk foam.

L’Ile Douce – via Luigi Porro Lambertenghi, 15 - iledoucemilano.it/

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery is certainly a place that involves and amazes anyone who crosses its threshold: a vast venue divided into thematic islands that allows for a 360-degree experience (not just coffee). The Scoop Bar is the roasting area where beans are ground to take home; the Main Bar is the coffee tasting corner; then there is the mixology area (Arriviamo Bar) where you can enjoy themed cocktails, and finally, the Princi bar with sweet and savory products from the well-known brand. Whether you like it or not, a taste of the novelty of the past year is a must: Oleato is the coffee with extra virgin olive oil that had its debut right in Italian Starbucks.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery – Piazza Cordusio, 3 - roastery.starbucks.it/

Flagship Store

There is a whole world revolving around black gold concentrated in this well-kept Lavazza-branded venue, in a location that couldn't be more strategic, a stone's throw from the Duomo. An address that offers a wide choice in terms of single origins, blends, and preparations, from espresso to regional specialties like Milanese barbajada (made with espresso, chocolate - with water - milk, and cream). There's also room for various extraction methods: chemex, cold brew, aeropress, nothing is missing. Top of the line are the specialties of the 1895 line.

Flagship Store Lavazza – Piazza S. Fedele, 2 - lavazza.it/it/mondo-lavazza/store-lavazza/flagship

Nudo Artisan Coffee

A roastery that has become part of the Sidewalk Kitchens family, the street food avenue in Milan, an innovative restaurant format that combines multiple brands on the sidewalk of via Bonvesin della Riva. For coffee enthusiasts, Nudo is the right choice: a project created in 2022 by three friends driven by a passion for black gold, who now also offer training courses and workshops. Here, you can taste different single origins roasted in-house, accompanied by detailed and attentive explanations to discover more about the product.

Nudo Artisan Coffee – via Bonvesin de la Riva, 3 - nudo-artisancoffee.com/

Il Cafetero

An artisanal roastery with a coffee shop, where you can stop to buy coffee bags for home or enjoy an excellent cappuccino with a good brioche. For those approaching for the first time, there are also tasting proposals: three single origins extracted with different methods - moka, V60, chemex - to be tasted with a choice of sweet. A delicious and curious way to get to know the raw material.

Il Cafetero – via Rembrandt, 12 - ilcafetero.it/

Bar Nicol

A spacious and pleasant space, with a New York bistro atmosphere, where you can go primarily for a coffee shop that offers valuable 100% Arabica blends and single origins well translated into decorated espressos, cappuccinos, filter coffee, to be paired with croissants, cakes, cookies, or brownies (also juices and savory breakfasts if desired). The tea and herbal tea selection is also refined for those who prefer an infusion.

Bar Nicol – Piazza Luigi Vittorio Bertarelli, 4 - instagram.com/barnicol.milano/?hl=it


In this beautiful venue, you can fully breathe the passion for coffee, with a range of blends all worth trying. Examples include the famous Comare Segreta, 90% Arabica with spicy notes and cocoa beans, and La Storica, a 100% Arabica blend with tones of caramel, dried fruit, and dark chocolate, with pleasant acidity. The classic Italian breakfast is ensured by a nice choice of leavened pastries. Also available for sale are chocolates, wines, liqueurs, and sweets.

Griso – Seveso (MI) – via Nicolò Tommaseo, 13 - facebook.com/torrefazione.griso/?locale=it_IT


Opened in late March 2023, PAN bakery with kitchen and wine bar is the latest project by Yoji Tokuyoshi and Alice Yamada, assisted by Nishikata Ken's baker. The focus is on Japanese-style sandwiches and leavened products, starting from the soft and ethereal shokupan, the milk loaf. In a bakery that respects itself, however, good coffee cannot be missing: the beans are from Cafezal, to be tried in espresso or filter.

Pan – via Leopoldo Cicognara, 19 - instagram.com/panmilano/


The deeply rooted Jewish community in the area finally has its bakery. Ambrogia, a kosher bakery signed by Francesca Gatti Rodrigo and Federica Ferrari, is a kosher bakery. Unmissable are the chocolate babka and challah, the typical braided bread, slightly sweet, soft, and well-browned. But the counter is full of many other sweet and savory delights, all to try. The coffee section is no less, with specialty coffees from Lot Zero roastery.

Ambrogia – Piazza Sicilia, 1 - instagram.com/ambrogiailforno/

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