Kathmandu has a plethora of cafes, as just like Melbourne these open and close their doors with as much frequency as you changing your knickers. It’s near impossible to keep track of what’s happening in the Nepal coffee scene. I spent over a week in Kathmandu tracking down the best cafes, and ones that I am confident will still be open when you are there. A lot of my research led me down dead ends to shops that had closed, cafes that no longer existed and a few surprise destinations.
The history of coffee in Nepal
Responsible coffee drinking
Can I get my coffee to go?
The top 3 cafes in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The Cafe with No Name
A small black board hints that there is a cafe hidden down a lane way. You’ll soon get used to walking down the laneways in Kathmandu. They form part of the city’s charm. So follow the black board sign down the alley way and into a nice cosy cafe space. You might have to step over a few old school hippies but don’t let the stinky white hippy vibe turn you away. Hidden away is a charming cafe. Before ordering in the morning double check that they have milk available, otherwise you might end up like us with a serious large cup of black latte.
Highlights – cosy cafe hidden away in plain sight. Good wi-fi, good music playing. Definetly a place to get coffee during the day and a cocktail in the evening.
What do these three cafes have in common?
The average cost of coffee in Kathmandu
Most cafes I visited only did one size of coffee. Sorry to any mugacino lovers out there. The type of coffee did vary depending on if the café followed an Australian style of latte or the European style. Either way a cappuccino was a safe bet for a good size and quality coffee.
Based on the dozen or so cafes I tried out, over my three week trip in Nepal, the average price of a cup of coffee in a cafe was RS200 – $1.80 USD – $2.50 AU The really odd thing to note is that this price may or may not include the service charge of 10% and VAT of 13%.
Is the coffee any good in Nepal?
Surprisingly good. I feel a bit mean saying that but I had, wrongly, assumed that the tea and masala chai would be the winner and coffee a second best. I’ll say it again, the push of tourism has increased the quality and availability of espresso coffee across Nepal. You can still easily get filter/French press style coffee. If you’re off on a hike most supermarkets sell filtered coffee, in those nifty individual bags.
The Nepal coffee scam
The funniest scam in all of Asia. So, you walk into a place of repute, see an espresso machine and order your coffee. You’re chilling out, enjoying life and can hear the steam wand working it’s magic. The coffee is delivered, hot and all frothed milk. You take that glorious first sip and notice something odd. A weird taste. A Blend 43 kinda taste. And you would be correct my friend. The person has made you a cappuccino, charged you RS 250 and used instant coffee rather than grind the beans that you see in the grinder.
So there you have it. A brief guide to coffee in Nepal, a few suggestions on where to get coffee in Kathmandu. If you have any questions about food, money and travel in Nepal drop your question below and I’ll answer away.
Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker
Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.
I really enjoy trying local coffee grinds. I don’t really go out of my way to find a coffee shop, but if somewhere we are eating or stopping in at serves something local, sign me up. I love that scam though, that is hilarious, and to be honest is also the perfect fit for what I would usually go for. If the local thing is a Blend 43 made up with frothy milk, well, so be it! Of course, I’d rather not pay the price of a real latte for it 🙂
Such an interesting post! I didn’t know coffee was big in Nepal. Would love to visit this country and will definitely try their coffee. Thanks for sharing!
One of my frustrations when travelling is to find decent coffee ! Thanks for sharing especially on the coffee scam.
Wow, so coffee didn’t make it to Nepal until 1938. Nowadays, Nepal makes me think of momo. Same story with Tibet!
I just cannot believe the scam! HAHAHA You gotta give them credit for creativity though 😀 I guess the only way to avoid such a scam would be starring at the staff actually making you the coffee? 🙂
Love that each of these cafes stands for a cause! So cool that you’re using your blog to highlight them. You also gave me a great idea – start buying local coffee as souvineers!
When my husband and I travel, the first thing we do we start looking for coffee shops in a new city we are going to. I am happy to find this post with these cool options. We are planning to go trekking in the fall, so I will refer to your article in the future for sure! Loved it and thank you!
Oh coffee is one of the first things I try to find too. Good luck with your trekking.
I like the thought of Nepalese sitting down to enjoy a coffee… We definitely need to recapture the essence of sociable coffee drinking as we’re so used to the coffee to go culture these days!
Just a note- usually the Nepali people drink tea not coffee 😉