Say goodbye to Starbucks, bid adieu to Costa and turn your back on Cafe Nero for good. There's no need to bother with the identikit chain coffee shops in this city, not when there are so many beautiful independents to choose from! 

The name Lufkin originates from the word ‘love’: that pretty much says it all. Being the proud little brother of the original Lufkin Coffee Roasters in Pontcanna, the new site in Grangetown is just as warm and welcoming. Installed in a former bank, the cafe has it all: cosy ambience, the friendliest of staffs, and obviously great coffee. These guys are small batch roasters, so speciality grade, green arabica coffee is their thing. The roasting is done on-site by an unmissably beautiful bean machine, and then packaged in 250g bags for you to enjoy at home (or on your own intriguing travels).

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Nata & Co bring the Portuguese spirit to Cardiff with their trio of bakeries on Castle Street, Bute Street (Cardiff Bay) and Clifton Street (Adamsdown). If Portuguese baking is known for one thing it’s the pastel de nata and unsurprisingly, Nata & Co’s is an absolute bobby dazzler. Crisp layers of golden pastry contain a wobbly sweet custard filling with a lightly charred top. It’s a thing of beauty and made even more so washed down with a cup of strong Portuguese coffee.

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Wild Thing is on a mission to save the planet: this lovely and cosy cafe is 100% vegan, low waste and ethical. We love their motto - Be kind to the planet , be kind to yourself. The team will ensure you get your 5-a-day with their delicious, hearty and veggie-packed dishes. At Wild Thing, you'll find no such things as single-use containers or wasted food: these guys even redistribute all their leftovers. All of Wild Thing's menu offering is sourced from ethical and local suppliers, their coffee is roasted in Cardiff by the lovely people at Hard Lines, and their cakes are as healthy as can be. You can't go wrong with these guys!

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A search by two bar owners for the best possible cup of coffee became an obsession, which became a small roaster in a garage, which became 200 degrees... This cosy coffee shop is a beautiful hide out on Cardiff's highstreet, if the aroma didn't draw you in, then the raw red brick walls lite with hanging Edison bulbs creating a super cosy space just might! Their selection of sarnies, cakes, bakes and brownies makes it oh so easy to spend the day sinking in to Chesterfield sofas whilst sippin away on some on a splendid roast!

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This unusually named group of café-bars has sites in the City Centre's Capital Quarter and on Cathedral Road (squeezed up against against Pontcanna's leafy spine). A functional yet thoroughly design-led space with a hint of the "cherry picked Swedish design club" about it (think Scandi cool rather than noir), Kin + Ilk is a melting pot of approachable cool. Food wise, the menu is small but diverse: expect freshly made filled or open sandwiches, Welsh cheeses & meat, homemade soups, creative salads, brilliant brunches, artisan coffee and cakes. There’s even a tempting range of bar snacks, including a vegan antipasti platter. It’s very chilled at Kin + Ilk, and whether you’re sipping cappuccino or Chianti, you’ll feel cool, calm and collected here.

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A morning saviour to thousands of bleary-eyed Cardiff commuters, the Handlebar Barista boys brave the elements to bring the very best in pedal-powered caffeinated perks to countless throngs of thirsty workers congregating outside of Cardiff's main train stations (Cardiff Central, Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Queen Street) each and every weekday. If you're espresso'd for time and need a pick-me-up, these handlebar hombres are the heroes you're craving.

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Upcoming Wriggles

Let Them See Cake (formerly Art of Sugarcraft) is a special place where the line between food and art has been comprehensively, surreally, deliciously blurred. Perched above the equally fantastic Pettigrew Bakeries, owner Gareth Davies (one of the most charming gents in all of Cardiff, as it so happens) creates edible masterpieces in his studio-come-cake-emporium that have quickly won him a loyal Welsh customer base, a stream of international cake awards and the adoration of some serious media movers and shakers (there's a good chance you've already seen Gareth's cakes featured C4's Kirstie Allsop's Handmade Christmas or the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing).

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At Stag Coffee, there is a strong emphasis on great affordable food, indulgent beverages and stags. Lots of them. Former manager of the Woodvill, Dave has thoroughly adorned the cafe with all things stag, lampshades, lamp bases, wallpaper, stag heads and a chandelier made from antlers. Dave says he borrowed the stag theme from the logo of a local barbers and with mains at under £5 this place is certainly a snip! The Stag uses Coal Town Roast, with 100% speciality grade Arabica coffee from South West Wales.

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If you like your cakes and sweet treats with a little european flare. Fragolino is definetly one for your radar. This adorable cafe will give you that authentic Italian cafe culture feel without once having to leave Cardiff. If your sweet tooth isn't quite as big as some, they will look after you too, their menu of Italian savoury favourites will have your mouth watering in no time.

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Corner Coffee is the latest hot spot for Cardiff's bean enthusiasts. Founder Chris has poured his heart and soul into this space crafting all the interior himself. Corner Coffee is a beautiful clean minimalistic space to come to escape the daily grind. Raw materials and edison bulbs carve a place of perfect simplicity allowing you to relax and focus on life's important matters. (good Coffee) With their in-house blend and a range of Welsh roasted guests Corner Coffee is the home of the coffee connoisseurs.

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This independent bistro & coffee shop is one of four in the Milk & Sugar mini-empire, serving Illy coffee alongside made-to-order specials, salads and sandwiches. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Queen Street, on weekdays it's a great out-of-office hideaway, place for a quiet meeting, or a catch up coffee with friends. A full breakfast menu also runs all week (including Saturdays) making this a very good option for brunch before a hard day's shopping in the city centre.

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Hard Lines' second shop in the beloved Cardiff Market is our favourite spot for an afternoon pick-me-up. Matt and Sophie have created a beautiful space at No 25, bringing a breath of fresh air to this iconic Victorian market. Neon lights and an amazing retro pink coffee machine give this little space a super-cool feel. Head here for your afternoon pick-me-up and to sample some of the best coffee in Cardiff.

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Set in the leafy Gorsedd Gardens, Brodies is an unassuming hideaway that lets its produce (and beautiful surroundings) do the talking. If the roof-mounted fairground bulbs don't grab your attention, Brodies' vintage style will. Decked out in rich blue wooden panelling, bordered by period white trim and curtailed by a beautifully-set leaden roof, this former gardener's hut is the park's resident Victorian gent - a truly unique addition to the city's food and drink community. Valley roasted beans from Coaltown and luxurious hot chocolates warm the cockles here, and Ian and Danni's resolutely sunny service keeps the regulars coming back for more.

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Run by Katia and Dimitri, two of the bay's most welcoming coffee aficionados, Quantum Coffee Roasters really do go beyond the bean. Combining Heisenberg-esque scientific precision with craft, love and a purposeful embracing of coffee's creative possibilities, every Crisp Chemex, Filtered V60, Bracing Cold-Brew Tonic and Rich Espresso created here is a veritable work of art - and well worth taking more time than usual to fully enjoy. Squidgy sofas, upside-down plant pots and hanging cameras from a bygone era adorn the interior, with weathered signage, exposed brickwork and factory lighting giving a utilitarian touch or two (reminiscent of the Bay's industrial past). Quantum's aesthetic is as individual as its coffee - balancing a well-engineered scientific process with a good dose of heart and soul.

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Perched on the corner of the junction between Bridge Street and David Street, Little Man Coffee is well-known for its use of locally-roasted coffee - we mean literally, a few streets away in nearby Riverside. Sip on a cuppa brewed with beans from the likes of James Gourmet Coffee, Coaltown Coffee Roasters and the Welsh Coffee Company. Inside, the decor is simple, spacious and slightly quirky; wooden flooring, white walls, wooden tables, plastic blue chairs and vintage armchairs. The windows stretch all around the outer walls of the coffee shop, allowing plenty of natural light to flood in.

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Tucked away in Royal Arcade, in the very centre of Cardiff, is Uncommon Ground. Serving delicious sweet and savoury pastries, sandwiches, soups and cakes, their expertise is obviously the coffee, as suggested by their name. Roasted in the shop on a daily basis, their high-end beans are prepared by an experienced team of baristas to achieve the freshest, greatest tasting coffee. Be sure to check out their guest coffees, coming from all over the world.

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Published -8th November 2019