The Best Reykjavik Coffee Shops
Coffee plays a huge part in Icelandic life. Measured as per capita consumption, it's the third largest consumer in the world after Finland and Norway, with Denmark and Sweden hot on its heels. Given the high cost of alcohol and how recently beer was legalised, it's logical that coffee drinking features when Icelanders socialise.
That means cafés and coffee shops are also a big deal, of course. Tap into the custom next time you're in town as you sit and savour your coffee with company rather than grab a cup on the go. Here's where to find the best Reykjavik coffee shops.
1. Mokka Kaffi
Founded in 1958, Mokka Kaffi is one of the oldest coffee shops in the Icelandic capital. It was the first place in Reykjavik with an espresso machine after Guðmundur Baldvinsson returned from a spell in Italy on a mission to bring decent coffee to his friends and neighbours. Making coffee this way is no longer a novelty, but there's something else that's special about Mokka Kaffi – the art on its walls that you can admire while drinking your coffee. Exhibitions change on a regular basis, so why not call in and see what's currently on display?
Founded in 1990, Kaffitár has several locations in Reykjavik, with branches across the city. Big on social responsibility, this Nordic Swan-certified chain serves up its coffee together with sound eco-credentials. They carefully select and roast beans, while highly trained baristas take care of keeping customers satisfied as they serve beautifully presented drinks that taste as good as they look. This is definitely a place to come if you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur.
3. Reykjavik Roasters
If you're crazy about caffeine, then you need to go to Reykjavik Roasters while you're in Reykjavik. This local chain boasts three locations, each serving up a great cup of coffee. It sources high-quality green beans from various locations across the Americas and East Africa, roasting them with care to achieve the best flavour. If you develop something of a habit during your stay in Reykjavik, then you'll be delighted to learn that international customers can take advantage of their coffee subscription.
When it comes to Reykjavik coffee shops, there's an argument for getting out of the city centre – and that's Perlan. Not only does this iconic building house some of the most fascinating exhibits for getting to know Icelandic nature, but it's also a great place to hang out. Cosy cafés are all well and good, but as a visitor, you didn't come to Reykjavik to hide away. Instead, make your way to Perlan's 5th floor café.
Grab a cup of coffee and sip it slowly as you take in the remarkable 360-degree view of the city through its signature glass dome. With panoramas this dreamy and coffee of a quality that's at least equal to anything you'll find at street level, it will be hard to resist ordering a second cup.
5. Te og Kaffi
When Sigmundi Dýrfjörður and Berglindi Guðbrandsdóttir returned from Sweden in the 1980s, they brought with them a desire to open a coffee shop. Four decades later, Te og Kaffi is still a roaring success with multiple branches across Greater Reykjavik, including one conveniently located on Laugavegur, the city's main shopping street. Carrying a wide range of speciality coffees, this place is sure to please the discerning drinker. As well as enjoying a cappuccino or a cortado here, why not pick up a bag of beans to take home?
If furry felines are your thing, then grab a coffee at Kattakaffihúsið, Reykjavik's only cat café. It's not so much a gimmick as a reflection of how important pets are to owners Gígja Sara Björnsson and Ragnheidur Birgisdóttir: the place works hard to match potential owners with their perfect companion.
Animal welfare underpins every interaction, and of course, there's no obligation to adopt – if you like, you can simply come and drink a decent cup of coffee in the company of humans as the current resident cats snore contentedly on a chair beside you.
Kaffibrennslan is a stylish café situated right on Laugavegur in a historic building dating from 1884. With a hipster vibe – think creaky wooden floors and a feature fireplace, it's spread over two floors with seating outside when the weather permits. No surprise, then, that this Reykjavik coffee shop is a popular hangout. There's an extensive list of coffees to choose from, including the usual macchiatos and cappuccinos. For something with an unmistakably Icelandic twist, opt for a Lakkrís (liquorice) latte. Order at the counter, and they'll bring it over to you.
8. Café Loki
You'll find Café Loki, whose light and airy interior is given an injection of colour from a bold wall mural opposite Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik's most famous church. This is a great place to refuel, with an extensive food menu of traditional Icelandic dishes to supplement its range of coffees. All your favourites are here, with the option of adding vegan milk or a flavoured syrup. Later in the day, you might be ready to try a Priest, Bishops or Farmers coffee, each of which is livened up with a dash of Brennivín, a potent Icelandic spirit.
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