Despite being a fairly small capital city, Reykjavik hosts an impressive number of independent coffee shops.
Established in 1990, ‘Kaffitár’ has played an important role in shaping the modern Icelandic coffee culture. Kaffitár takes great pride in the transparency in the sourcing of their coffee beans and tea leaves: in 2010, it received the ‘Swan Certification’. They offer a diverse selection of coffee origins, including Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Kenya. In addition to their single-origin coffees, they also offer delicious blends like chocolate and almond coffee. You can find Kaffitár in seven different locations around Reykjavik.
Found along Skólavörðustígur, the road in downtown Reykjavik that leads to the famous Hallgrímskirkja, Café Babalú is the easily recognisable bright orange café. Since 2004, its unique interior is like no other café you’ll have seen before: inside you will find a vibrant mix of ancient maps, colourful flower baskets, money notes from around the world, old postcards… The decoration of this establishment gives this place a vintage and cosy feel to it. The coffee tastes great as well and you have a selection of various coffees and delicious cakes.
‘Reykjavik Roaster’ is one of four coffee roasters in Iceland: originally founded as ‘Kaffismiðja Íslands’, in 2013 it was rebranded to ‘Reykjavik Roaster’. Their boutique roastery and coffee shop can be found in a residential area just off of one of Reykjavik‘s main shopping streets. You can expect a fantastic cup of coffee here as the owners and staff are well-trained coffee professionals, with a few of their baristas having won the Icelandic Barista Championship several times. Inside this quirky little café you’ll find their hot pink coffee roaster where they roast beans five days a week. For Reykjavik Roasters, transparency and honesty are two of the most important values when it comes to running their business and sourcing their beans. They also offer roasting and brewing workshops: the aim of the workshop is for those looking to improve their barista skills. You’ll be overseen by two skilled instructors who will teach you all about how to master the craft.
‘Te & Kaffi’ is a family-owned business that began in 1984, making it one of the oldest cafés in Iceland, also known as the café that started the specialty coffee movement on the island. They operate thirteen coffee shops around Reykjavik and the surrounding area. As the name implies, this establishment focuses on both fine coffee as well as tea. Similar to other Icelandic cafés, Te & Kaffi primary focus is on delivering a top-quality cup of coffee using beans from a transparent and honest supply chain. Over the years Te & Kaffi has become one of the largest brands in Iceland, dominating a whopping 25% market share in the Icelandic coffee sector.
If you enjoy more of an outdoor café ambiance then you’ll love the ‘Floran Garden Bistro‘: located in a greenhouse within the ‘Reykjavik Botanical Gardens’, this exquisite bistro serves amazing dishes and drinks inspired by the surrounding plants. Each dish is beautifully presented, as the theme of this café and restaurant is to celebrate the relationship between food and the environment. Enjoy a delicious coffee served with a freshly baked piece of cake whilst learning more about the flora of Iceland.
‘Stofan Café‘ is a popular place to hang out for many locals: if you’ve got some time to spare, we recommend this cosy café located in the heart of Reykjavik. This place has the perfect mix of a perfect cup of coffee, comfortable sofas and chairs, board games to play, plenty of books and magazines to read and an amazing ambiance. As well as coffee and tea, you’ll find a selection of local Icelandic beers on tap, a variety of wines and a choice of whiskeys from around the globe. Finding seating can be difficult at times because of its popularity.
Amongst the oldest cafés still in existence in Reykjavik, ‘Mokka Kaffi’ has been around since 1958. It was originally founded by husband and wife team Guðný Guðjónsdóttir and Guðmundur Baldvinsson: they were the first establishment in Iceland to own an espresso machine and the first to serve Italian style coffee. Though much has changed in Iceland since the 1950s, this café still has a similar interior decoration as when it was first built. Mokka Kaffi also offers exhibition space for both local and international artists to showcase their creations: the exhibition changes every month and each artwork is purchasable. So no matter what month of the year you decide to visit Mokka Kaffi, it will always be a new experience. Unsurprisingly, Mokka Kaffi has a very loyal customer base who enjoy Icelandic waffles and delicious coffee.