It's no secret that skyr, hot dogs (pylsur) and Myrkvi (porter) are Icelandic staples. But did you know that coffee is also at the top of the list? The average Icelander consumes five cups of coffee a month. This makes Icelanders the third largest coffee consumers per capita in the world!
Now if you're wondering where you can find stellar coffee in Reykjavík, you’ll be happy to know that there's a coffee shop on almost every street. So if you’re looking for high-quality brews and charming cafés in Reykjavík, here are a few places worth checking out.
Image via Flickr by Bex Walton
Since it's opening in 2007, Café Haiti has been a go-to coffee shop for Reykjavík locals and visitors. This café by the Old Harbor combines the flavors of Iceland with the spices of Haiti and the Caribbean.
The founder, Elda Thorisson-Faurelien is from Haiti. She draws from her experience working in a coffee field in Haiti when she was young. With fresh coffee beans from Haiti and a minimalistic yet appetizing menu, Elda captures the harmonious blend of Icelandic and Haitian culinary traditions. Elda has a keen eye for curating the café’s unique menu which includes sandwiches, cakes, and soups. She also serves hot beverages like espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos.
Drinks like Haitian coffee with rum pair exceptionally well with Icelandic pancakes with sugar or jam. The chicken mushroom and cheese sandwich comes highly recommend, as well as the Haiti sandwich. Café Haiti also offers a catch of the day, Haitian rice and chicken and hearty Icelandic fish stew.
Book a Reykjavík food tour to taste both traditional and some of the most bizarre Icelandic foods.
When it comes to offering customers a one-of-a kind experience, Laundromat Café is a must in Reykjavík. This cozy café looks like a diner and it ingeniously combines laundry, dining and socializing. At Laundromat Café, drink, read or play board games. There’s even a play area for kids!
Decorated with maps and framed photos, the book shelves throughout the café are filled with over 5,000 books. You can buy or trade newspapers and magazines. The café also has quirky sayings on the menu like “Dear God, let it be Bernie” or “War is Over! If You Want”.
Aside from the café’s cool ambiance and décor, Laundromat Café has an extensive menu that offers all sorts of scrumptious homemade treats ranging from “Dirty Brunch” to the “Pulled Duck Burger”. Laundromat Café also caters to vegetarians. Try dishes like the goat cheese with eggplant sandwich or the salad chevre chaud. Last but not least, there are over 40 types of beers served in the café.
So, whether you’re looking for a place to read, enjoy a hearty meal, or sip some freshly brewed coffee or beer, Laundromat Café is a one-stop-shop for coffee-craving minds.
On Laugavegur, follow the smell of freshly baked croissants and sweet tarts till you find Kaffibrennslan Bar. Kaffibrennslan is a small café that deceivingly fits inside an Icelandic craftsman house. The café’s simple and varnished wooden floors compliment the white walls decorated with tidbits of art. Although quaint in style, the café offers three seating locations, outside patio, downstairs, and a quiet upstairs.
With all sorts of yummy Icelandic and Danish pastries and dishes to choose from, as well as freshly brewed coffee and local craft beer, Kaffibrennslan is a prime location for those looking for an intimate coffee shop experience in Reykjavík.
But don’t forget! Kaffibrennslan is well-known for their carrot cake and chocolate, which pair amazingly-well with their creamy cappuccino!
Image via Flickr by Bex Walton
When it comes to coffee in Reykjavík, Reykjavík Roasters are the eco-friendly specialists. Their original pop-up café opened in 2008 under the name Kaffismiðja Íslands. However, when the café underwent renovations, it rebranded as Reykjavík Roasters.
Reykjavík Roasters does a sublime job making sure that their patrons consume eco-conscious coffee. In the coffee shop, the staff meticulously study the beans and the roasting process to ensure the finest quality coffee is served.
Coffee beans are bought directly from coffee farmers in Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Peru, and Brazil. Reykjavík Roasters collaborates with brands that not only respect human beings but also nature.
The coffee house also educates the community through a variety of classes like Kaffi 101 and #Betrakaffiheima. Kaffi 101 discusses harvesting, soils in different parts of the world and the origin of coffee plants. On the other hand, #Betrakaffiheima helps refine brewing skills at home.
Reykjavík Roasters’ second café opened in August 2015 in Brautarholt. Unlike the Kárastígur location, the Brautarholt location offers a brew bar that serves a variety of hand-brew fresh to order coffees and teas. This location also has a more extensive food menu.
With plenty of new coffee shops popping up in Reykjavík, look out for new and innovative specialty cafés in the capital. Stop in to see for yourself why the Icelandic coffee culture is so spectacular.
For more recommendations on where to eat in Reykjavík and what Icelandic dishes to try, check out these Reykjavík gems.