There's no question about it, Sri Lanka is a tea country. The country produces over 320 million kilograms of the stuff every year and, while the tea plantations do lead to awesome photo opportunities as you wander around, their dominance does make a good cup of coffee significantly harder to get a hold of. However, if you're a coffee fiend who needs it to function, don't fret. We suffered through an impossibly long list of questionable brews to bring you the definitive list of "the best cafe's in Sri Lanka".
This post is laid out based on our general itinerary of where we went and the best places to visit in Sri Lanka (online soon!) so that there's always a great cup of coffee on your adventure.
Espresso Italiano: Far and away the best coffee in Sigiriya belongs to Espresso Italiano, a small cafe located a couple of kilometers out of town. Sure, every cafe/ restaurant in town technically has coffee on the menu, but believe me, this place is definitely worth the trip. With an upstairs seating area, decent wifi and an attention to their coffee that goes unmatched by their local competitors, Espresso Italiano is a great place to rest up after burning those calories hiking up either Sigiriya Rock or Pidurangala Rock. The coffee here was so much better than everywhere else around that we actually took to riding here to bring the coffee back to our hotel for breakfast.
Buono: Just a stone's throw away from the Kandy market and the Kandy railway station, Buono is the kind of exposed-brick cafe that could be located in any city in the world.
The Empire Cafe: It's big, it's pink, the food is good, and the coffee is great. Not to oversimplify The Empire Cafe but that's most of what you have to know. Across the road from the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
Coffee Bar at the Grand Hotel: Honestly, finding a good cup of coffee was a huge struggle for us in Nuwara Eliya and, as such, the Coffee Bar at the Grand Hotel wins the title of the best coffee in Nuwara Eliya almost by default as one of the few places that uses an espresso machine rather than sachets or pod machines. That said, while Nuwara Eliya is definitely not the place for coffee, your tea-loving companions will absolutely love the plantation-side cafe's serving locally grown tea!
The Barn: With decent wifi, good coffee and and a nice food menu, The Barn is a great brunch spot in Ella to hit before you head out to explore the surrounding tea fields. While it is significantly smaller than the surrounding cafe's that dominate the tourist scene, it does mean that it is a bit quieter and service is quicker.
Cafe Chill: A crowd favorite among visitors to Ella, Cafe Chill is a buzzing hive of activity - whether you go in for brunch, lunch, or dinner. A little pricy when compared to the most of the other places in Sri Lanka that we visited, the buzz of activity is a nice place to spend some time and grab a drink compared to the quiet tea fields.
Shady Lane Mirissa: Feeling like something right out of Bali, Shady Lane has, by far, the best coffee in Mirissa. Add to that a menu full of smoothie bowls, avocado toast, and burgers as well as morning yoga - and Shady Lane is a cafe you shouldn't miss.