Where can you find the best coffee in Reykjavik? How much coffee does the average Icelander drink a year and what is unique about coffee culture in Iceland?

Where can you find the best coffee in Reykjavik? How much coffee does the average Icelander drink a year and what is unique about coffee culture in Iceland? Is there a special coffee roasting process used and where can you find free refills? Read on to find out everything you need to know about cafés in Iceland. 

The miracles of the coffee bean have been well known to mankind since at least the 15th century. Ever since our first tentative sip of the hot stuff, we have relied on it for social lubrication, inner-warmth and a day full of energy. Collectively, we have drunk so much of that black, inky beverage that coffee is now the second most widely used commodity on the planet after oil. 

Iceland has a great many cafés, all of which will readily profess that they alone serve the best coffee in town. Despite the sheer amount of bistros, there is no sign of the larger international chains such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee, meaning coffee drinking here is a thoroughly Icelandic experience.



Iceland is a small community and competition is fierce between different outlets; should one barista reach new levels of taste quality or find a unique roasting process, it isn’t long before the other outlets are forced to rethink and improve their own standards. Given this friendly contention, it should come as no surprise that the coffee in Iceland is high calibre, served with pride and well respected across the globe. 

Coffee drinking is central to Icelandic culture; Iceland is the fourth largest consumer of coffee worldwide.Credit: Te and Kaffi Facebook 

Coffee’s flavour depends largely on two factors; where the coffee bush was grown and the method in which coffee makers roast and blend the beans. The coffee beans used in Iceland are imported from southern hemisphere countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and Columbia. This is due to the simple reason that Iceland’s harsh and northerly climate is inhospitable to the sun-loving Coffea plant. 

Despite the unfit conditions, coffee has been historically central to Icelandic culture, a testament to global trade and culture. Anyone who has read ‘Independent People’—the most famous novel of Icelandic Nobel Laureate, Halldór Laxness—will remember the wedding celebration scene, where each character enjoys four or five cups of coffee just as international counterparts might celebrate with beer or wine.



One type of coffee the Icelanders aren’t quite so into is decaffeinated. In fact, trying to get your hands on a decaffeinated coffee is all but impossible; there is simply no demand for it here. The larger operators, Te and Kaffi and Kaffitár, both offer decaf coffees, though, by their own admission, only one or two cups are sold a day, almost always to tourists.

It would appear Icelanders prefer their coffee hot, steamy and full of erotic energy, as fully realised in the below advertisement for Icelandic television. 

Coffee culture is so prevalent here that comprising a list of all of the cafés worth visiting in Iceland is practically impossible. Instead, we here at Guide to Iceland have picked out some of our own personal favourite coffee houses, as recommended below. 

Café Babalú

The outside of Cafe Babalu is instantly recognizable for its bright orange paint job.Credit: Café Babalú Facebook 

Café Babalú can be found along Skólavörðustígur, the road leading directly to downtown from the Lutheran Church, Hallgrímskirkja, and is instantly recognisable for its bright orange paint job and first-floor balcony. Glenn Barkan opened the establishment in 2004 after moving to Iceland to marry his long-term boyfriend. 



Stepping into Café Babalú is a trip unto itself; the eclectic, eccentric and ebullient interior decoration is the epitome of ordered chaos. Vintage postcards, Icelandic flags, LGBTQ artworks, colourful flower baskets, ancient maps, dusty old books, tropical ornaments; Café Babalú is like stepping into the home—or imagination—of some bizarre and confused hoarder; thankfully, Reykjavík would have the place no other way! It certainly makes for some interesting surroundings whilst enjoying your java.

One of the first things people notice about Cafe Babalu is its eclectic interior decoration.Credit: Currystrumpet 

Café Babalú offers a wide variety of beverage options, as well as free refills for black coffees and plenty of choice for cakes and dessert. The café has a somewhat DIY approach to waiting on tables; don’t be surprised to find yourself pouring your own coffee refills, for instance.


  • Address: Skólavörðustígur 22, 101 Reykjavík

Kaffi Vinyl

For those who love music just as much as coffee, Kaffi Vinyl is your best bet in the city.Credit: Free-Photos. Pixabay. 

In many ways, Kaffi Vinyl doesn’t really feel like a café at all; with its DJ booth, delicious vegan menu and an enormous collection of vinyl records, the establishment fits somewhere between a hip urban restaurant and a rather delicious smelling music store.

Still, Kaffi Vinyl is a place where visitors can enjoy a steaming coffee graced with cruelty-free milk alternatives, like almond, oat, soy or coconut milk. 



Music aficionados will find Kaffi Vinyl perfectly suited to their tastes; the owner, Ymir (aka; DJ Sir Dance A-lot) has been collecting vinyl records of almost every genre for over forty years. Enthusiasts will be able to pour through discount boxes of second-hand records and even get their hands on some new releases.

To top it off, there are even live DJ sets at night when the venue evolves from a café into a restaurant/bar. Above all else is Kaffi Vinyl’s smooth and chilled out vibe; staff and customers alike cannot help but get wrapped up in the chic atmosphere. 

Kaffi Vinyl regularly holds live music events, be it bands or DJ sets.Credit: Kaffi Vinyl Facebook 

Aside from the coffee, Kaffi Vinyl is well-respected for its delicious vegan offerings; of particular note is the fantastic ‘Oumph! Sandwich’, a soy-based product that has quickly become one of the establishment’s trademark dishes.



Also on the menu, guests will find other suitably scrumptious meals such as wraps, soups, lasagnas and veggie-burgers, amongst others. Lovers of the tipple will also be pleased to find Vegan whiskey sours and other humane alternatives to your favourite alcoholic beverages.


  • Address: Hverfisgata 76, 101 Reykjavík

Reykjavik Roasters

Reykjavik Roasters is well know for its high caliber coffee and deep involvement in the coffee making process.Credit: Reykjavik Roasters Facebook 

If you’re a connoisseur, Reykjavik Roasters is probably your surest chance to taste some of the most precious coffee in the country. The café was originally founded as Kaffismiðja Íslands in 2008 but later went through a rebranding in 2013, reappearing as Reykjavík Roasters. They now serve as a coffee retailer, café and educator. 

Reykjavík Roasters continues to invest a lot of time and money in their coffee, picking out coffee farms abroad, importing only from the most ecological and humanitarian beans producers on the market. The cafe imports its coffee beans from Kenya, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru and Brazil.

Reykjavík Roasters also offers brewing and roasting workshops, ideal for those who want to improve their barista skills. Two instructors oversee the workshop, teaching their guests four methods of roasting coffee beans. One of these workshops has a maximum of six places and will put you back 7900 ISK. The café also runs professional courses for baristas and employers. 


  • Address: Kárastígur 1, 101 Reykjavík & Brautarholt 2, 105, Reykjavík

Te og Kaffi

Alongside Kaffitar, Te and Kaffi is one of Iceland's largest coffee chains, with outlets found across Iceland.Credit: Te and Kaffi Facebook 

Te og Kaffi is Iceland’s largest coffee chain, boasting over thirteen different cafés across Iceland. Since being founded in 1984 by Sigmund Dýrfjörð and Berglind Guðbrandsdóttir, Te og Kaffi has tried to stay true to its humble, family-business origins, drawing together experience, innovation, passion and a deep knowledge to bring customers the best coffee on the market. Many have in fact argued that the founding of Te og Kaffi sparked a coffee revolution in Iceland. 

Te og Kaffi operates its own roastery, as well as selling its own beans and coffee brewing paraphernalia wholesale. The café has proved more ambitious than most, delving deeper into the industry, and is now the only producer of coffee pads in Iceland.

By involving themselves in the entire process (minus the actual growing of Coffee), Te and Kaffi have proven themselves as one of the sincerest and unique chains in Iceland. In the same building as the roastery, the cafe also runs training courses for in-house baristas and customers looking to further their brewing skills and knowledge.

The Muffin Bakery is only a small part of what makes Te and Kaffi a wonderful stop for a visit.Credit: Te and Kaffi Facebook 

Like the majority of other Icelandic cafes, Te and Kaffi also serves food, including sandwiches, paninis, croissants and savoury soups. The company also proudly boasts The Muffin Bakery, producing “the best muffins in Iceland”. 



The Laundromat Café

The Laundromat Café was founded in 2004 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and opened its first establishment in Reykjavík in March 2011.

The Laundromat Cafe was so successful in Copenhagen that it was only a matter of time before one appeared in Reykjavik.Credit: The Laundromat Cafe Facebook

Based around the concept of multitasking, the Laundromat Cafe was an immediate success in Copenhagen, with customers jumping on the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone; get some laundry done AND grab a hot drink or meal whilst they waited.

And waiting around in the Laundromat Cafe is not a bad way to pass the time. The establishment has been decorated to resemble something like a quirky US diner, just with a greater concentration of wall maps, book shelves and board games. Children too will find the Laundromat Cafe entertaining as both the Copenhagen and Reykjavík outlets have a designated kid’s play areas.

Whilst waiting for laundry, guests can sit back with a coffee, eat a light snack, read or even play board games.Credit: The Laundromat Cafe Facebook

Visitors to Reykjavík will likely stumble across one of the cafe’s posters stuck up across the city;

“Go ahead and breastfeed! We love both boobs and babies!”
“Dear God, let it be Bernie!”
“Liberté égalité fraternité!”
“All you need is love!”
“It takes all kinds to make a world!”



With messages like this, it is difficult not to find oneself full of joy, love and cosmic consciousness whilst at Laundromat, even if you are just there to wash your panties. 


  • Address: Austurstræti 9, 101 Reykjavík

Café Haiti

Elda Thorisson-Faurelien has spent her entire life involved in the coffee industry.Credit: Café Haiti 

Café Haiti has an excellent reputation for producing quality coffee, representing itself as “The finest coffee in Reykjavík”. As the name suggests, the coffee beans are imported from Haiti, ensuring a rich and unique taste to the cup.

Historically, coffee production in Haiti was the primary engine for the country’s economy, however, due to soil erosion, natural disasters and a decreasing amount of Haitians in the labour market, the industry has devalued over recent years. 

Elda Thorisson-Faurelien opened Café Haiti in 2007. Having worked in coffee fields as a child in Haiti, Elda’s knowledge of the coffee growing, roasting and brewing process is arguably unmatched by anyone else in Reykjavik. The authenticity and respect that Café Haiti provides make the establishment one of the most loved outlets in the city.



Like elsewhere across Iceland, the most popular method for making coffee follows the Italian influence: espressos, lattes, cappuccinos. Café Haiti, however, offers the extra choice of Arabica, Turkish or classic infusion coffee.

Menu options at Café Haiti include sandwiches, a variety of breakfast specials, soups, flatbreads, quiches, cakes and desserts. As for other beverages, Café Haiti boasts a strong variety; beers, soft drinks, wines, juices, coffee liqueurs and Haitian rums.


  • Address: Geirsgata 7b, 101 Reykjavík

Floran Garden Bistro

Set in a greenhouse beside the Reykjavik Botanic Gardens, Floran is one of the most aesthetically pleasing spots in the city.Credit: Flóran Garden Bistro Facebook

Flóran Garden Bistro is located five minutes drive from downtown in the Reykjavik Botanical Gardens. Situated in a greenhouse, the bistro is strongly inspired by the surrounding beauty and grows much of its own produce in the restaurant garden.

This relationship between the environment and the food culminates in Flóran’s ultimate goal; to provide a unique experience where both parties bring out the best in each other.

Marentza Poulsen opened Flóran Garden Bistro in 1997. Marentza was born and raised in the Faroe Islands, moving to Iceland in her late adolescence where she began her career in the culinary arts.

At 18, Marentza went to study food in Copenhagen and thus, returned to Iceland with a strong awareness and practice in Danish cuisine. Before opening Flóran Garden Bistro, Marentza worked as a restaurant at Oddfellow House and Hotel Borg.  

Floran is determined to serve only the freshest ingredients, most of which are grown in the bistro's very own garden.Credit: Flóran Garden Bistro Facebook

The bistro is located just opposite Húsdýragarðurinn, a small zoo exhibiting Icelandic farm animals and a number of amusement rides. The bistro’s surroundings make Flóran one of the most aesthetically beautiful places to eat and drink in the city. The company also offers catering services, and readily accepts large groups and parties to enjoy its delicious menu and gorgeous scenery.


  • Address: Grasagarðinum Laugardal, Reykjavik

Stofan Café

Stofan Cafe, as seen by one of the many artists who frequent the cafe.Credit: Stofan Café Facebook

Stofan Café is a cosy, much-loved café found in central Reykjavik. Stofan is one of those perfect, romantic cafés that manages to bring together all of the right ingredients; fantastic coffee, comfortable seating, plenty of reading materials, board games and good company. In regards to meal options, Stofan is fairly typical, serving sandwiches, paninis, vegetarian soups and cakes. 

The café offers specially brewed coffee, as well a variety of Icelandic beers, it’s happy hour falling between 16:00 and 18:00. Unlike many other cafés and bistros’ in Iceland, Stofan tends to focus itself on serving coffee and light snacks, rather than doubling up in the evening as a bar and nightclub. 

Stafan has a vintage atmosphere, with comfortable sofas and dark woodwork.Credit: Stofan Café Facebook

As a local favourite, Stofan Café is committed to entertaining its loyal guests; the establishment will often run swap shops, performances by local musicians and DJ’s, and pub quizzes on a variety of subjects. One thing to be cautious of with Stofan, however, is its incredible popularity; finding seating at certain times is difficult, but well worth it should be quick enough to plonk down.


  • Address: Aðalstræti, 101 Reykjavík

Kaffitar

Since 1990, Kaffitar has been one of the leading coffee chains in Iceland.Credit: Kaffitár Facebook

In 1990, Aðalheiður Héðinsdóttir and her husband, Eiríkur Hilmarsson founded Kaffitár on the principles of compassion, multiculturalism and expertise. Since then, they have nurtured the company to become one of the leading coffee providers in Iceland, fostering a strong focus toward environmental protection, customer satisfaction and quality coffee. 



One factor that sets Kaffitár apart from the other coffee outlets in Reykjavik is the company’s personal relationship with their overseas coffee farmers. Pulling in beans from Nicaragua, Brazil and Guatemala, Kaffitár relies on the talents and experience of its prize winning farmers all the while investing in the most humanitarian and sustainable policies available.

Aðalheiður still travels the world each year to make lasting relationships with those in the industry and, of course, to purchase some coffee.

As with Reykjavik Roasters and Te and Kaffi, Kaffitar also sells its own beans and ground coffee.Credit: Kaffitár Facebook

Kaffitár is also a wholesale provider of coffee, selling beans and ground coffee in a wide variety of flavours. Some of these include; chocolate and almond, coconut, "Summer Sun", Vienna Coffee and Dark Espresso. Many visitors to Iceland choose to purchase Kaffitar's beans before leaving as they make a fabulous gift for friends and family back home. Luckily, Kaffitár has an outlet right inside Keflavík International Airport. 



Sipping java at one of Kaffitár many outlets—there is 8 in total, making it a large chain by Icelandic standards—feels quite different to the usual, Nordic decor that is so popular in Reykjavik. Instead, Kaffitár has kept their colour scheme bright and vibrant, creating a warm and comfortable vibe.

Kaffitár offers refills on black coffee.


  • Address: Kaffitár can be found at numerous locations in Reykjavík

Ida Zimsen

Iða Zimsen is one part book shop, one part cafe, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.Credit: Iða Zimsen Facebook

Iða Zimsen is Reykjavik's finest book cafe, the perfect location to curl up with a warm mug, a fine read and a few hours to while away. Iða Zimsen is easily accessible to anyone lazily exploring the streets of the capital; the cafe is found right beside Reykjavik Art Museum and, in many ways, is the cherry on the cake for any cultured day out.



Iða Zimsen is one part cafe, one part book store, boasting an enormous collection of books ranging from art photography to Icelandic history. Nothing can quite beat that feeling of finding the perfect book, buying it, then sitting down with a coffee and light snack to enjoy your purchase. Even if you're not overly interested in buying any books, the cafe welcomes guests to come and enjoy browsing. 

Iða Zimsen is popular with the LGBTQ community in Iceland. Every Tuesday, the book shop serves as a meeting place for men and women to come and enjoy both good coffee and good company. 


  • Address: Vesturgata 2a, 101 Reykjavík

Mokka Kaffi

Mokka Kaffi was founded in 1958, making it one of Iceland's oldest cafes.Credit: Mokka Kaffi Facebook

Mokka Kaffi is one of Reykjavik's oldest cafes and is the first of many to make a name for itself in history; after all, it was the first establishment to own an espresso machine and the first to serve coffee in the Italian tradition.



Founded in 1958 by husband and wife team, Guðný Guðjónsdóttir and Guðmundur Baldvinsson, little has changed in half a century; the red, wooden and sophisticated decor stays the same, as does the family who owns it. It should then come as no surprise that Mokka Kaffi has a loyal customer base, with many of its patrons having kept it as a makeshift second-home for decades. 

Every month, Mokka Kaffi exhibits artwork by local and international artists, all of which is for sale.Credit: Mokka Kaffi Facebook

Mokka Kaffi is also a transient exhibition space for local and international artists alike. These exhibitions change every month and are purchasable, making visiting the cafe throughout the year a new experience each time. Aside from the fantastic artwork, patrons to Mokka Kaffi swear by the cafe's traditional Icelandic hot chocolate and famous waffles.


  • Address: Skólavörðustígur 3a, 101 Reykjavík

C is for Cookie

C is for Cookie is a newcomer to the scene, though it presents an amazing alternative to the more well trodden cafes in the city.Credit: C is for Cookie Facebook

Adorably named, C is for Cookie makes for a perfect interval from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Fans of children's television will recognise the cafe's peculiar title from the Cookie Monster's 1972 single, 'C is for Cookie', by the Portuguese composer, Joe Raposo. As hard as it might be to believe, the owners of this quirky little cafe may be even more passionate about cookies than the monster itself.

The cafe sports fantastic options for foodies, including daily soup, delicious sandwiches and, a personal favourite, chocolate drizzled cheesecakes. Of course, there are also plenty of cookies on offer, and even breakfast served throughout the day. 

C is for Cookie is a relative newbie to Reykjavik's coffee culture, though it has already presented itself as a fantastic alternative to the city's other coffee outlets. The owners have a brilliant taste in music, providing for a hip new ambience, made all the cosier and welcoming by the brightly lit interior decoration. 


  • Address: Tryggvagata 8, 101 Reykjavík

How was your coffee experience in Iceland? Which were your favourite cafés and beverages? Let us know in the comments box below!