The coffee lovers’ guide to Freetown

Imagine: you are used to ordering an Ethiopian Arabica almond milk dry cappuccino, which magically appears within three minutes, crafted by the tattooed- barista on your way to work. It might cost you 4$, but hey, who said heaven was cheap? Now, on your well deserved holiday to the tropical paradise called Sierra Leone, you order a coffee and what you get is a hot, steaming, craved-for cup of Nescafé with milk powder.
Yeah, Nescafé with milk powder. Uninspiredly given in a long thin packet of fake coffee, powdered milk in a tea cup and a mountain of sugar. Stir yourself.

There goes your fantasy world of sipping iced frappulattes with oat milk on the beach with your feet being massaged by a beautiful human. But there’s no need to turn your holiday into a caffeine rehab. Here’s the survival guide for coffee lovers to Freetown, written by a former barista.

Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel

The Radisson Blu has its own cafe with a wide variety of coffees; from latte to espresso to americano to cappuccino. The best coffee to drink here is the cappuccino, which has a pleasant milk-to-espresso ratio and firm froth.

An added pleasantry to ordering a coffee at the Radisson Blu is the ambiance. You can consume it at the poolside area, surrounded by tropical plants and Sierra Leonean art.

Espresso: 6/10, cappuccino 7/10
Price: coffees range from 20.000- 40.000le (3$-5$)
Coffee Shop Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm
Address: Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, 17 Lumley Beach Road, Aberdeen.

Hazimeh automatic bakery

Only for those who dig espresso. The owner of the bakery brought his fancy coffee machine from Lebanon to brew thick, syrupy espresso in tiny to-go cups. As the name suggests, it’s a bakery, meaning that there’s not really a place for you to sit down, pull out your laptop and answer emails. No, it’s more of the Italian gulp-down-in-two-seconds-at-the-counter type of space. They don’t froth milk, so all you can get here is espresso, americano and a spoon of powdered milk. Still, for 7000le (1$) you cannot complain. Plus, they have a colourful array of pastries, ideal for if you want to wash away the bitter aftertaste of the dark roasted espresso beans.

Espresso: 7/10
Cost: 7000le
Opening hours: 6am- 8:30 pm. On Sundays from 6am-1pm
Address: Wilkinson road 102


Gigibontà proves that Italians are great at making ice-cream, pizzas and coffee. Even at the other side of the world. All the barista at Gigibontà have been trained by Italian barista and the ingredients are also imported from Italy. The result is a cup of joe with all boxes checked: right temperature, silky foam, balanced espresso and served with a biscuit. If you have a naughty sweet tooth do try the affogato; a double espresso served over two bowls of ice-cream.

Espresso: 7.5/10, cappuccino 8/10
Cost: from 25.000- 45.000le (3-5$)
Opening hours: 6am- 8:30 pm. On Sundays from 6am-1pm
Address: Lumley Beach

For the home barista

Lastly, if you are more of the diy type that brought along an Aeropress with metal filter, you can buy Sierra Leonean grown robusta coffee in almost every store. A packet of the red variety is around 5000le and the yellow, milder roasted coffee is around 7000le.

If you brought your own grinder you can buy fresh beans from Hannah’s Coffee Coutiers or Nina’s Coffee, which sell for around 40.000le per 250g. These are sold in larger supermarkets around town.
Nina’s Coffee Love Facebook page
Hannah’s Coffee Couriers Facebook page

About the author

Esther Kamara is a Dutch-Sierra Leonean that was born and raised in Amsterdam. After finishing her bachelor Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam she moved to Freetown, where she now works as a freelance writer and artist manager. Her brainchildren are otherworldly short stories and peculiar drawings of non-existing characters. Her contributions to the blog do not necessarily reflect the views of Visit Sierra Leone. Although she tried to be as accurate as possible, these observations are always momentarily and therefore subject to change.

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