A Brasileira

Back in 1905, a Chiado shirt shop was converted into a café selling "genuine Brazilian coffee, the most aromatic and fine tasting of all coffees", as the adverts of the time proclaimed. The inauguration of the café was attended by a Brazilian government representative. The event featured the slogan "O Melhor Café é o d'A Brasileira (The best coffee is at the Brasileira)", a wording still to be found engraved on the coffee cups.

The Chiado Brasileira began as a store selling ground and toasted coffee. In its early days, it would offer a free cup of this wonderful drink along with each purchase. In 1908, it began selling coffee by the cup. After refurbishment work, there came the elegant coffee house that swiftly established its place in Lisboner habits attracting a wide-ranging clientele, from monarchists to republicans, liberals to conservatives, workers to aristocrats, rich and poor. Among its clientele, there were politicians, writers, poets and artists that would turn the café into a talking shop where all the issues of the day were thrashed out. It was also the adopted headquarters of the Orpheu literary circle made up of Fernando Pessoa, Almada Negreiros, Santa Rita, José Pacheco and Mário de Sá Carneiro, among others. 

The importance of the "A Brasileira" café to Portuguese intellectual life of the early years of the 20th century can be seen from the paintings on display inside and by the bronze statue of poet Fernando Pessoa taking coffee out on the esplanade. The statue, by sculptor Lagoa Henriques (b. 1923), was unveiled in 1988 to commemorate the centenary of the poet´s birth.

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