Cafés in Reykjavik | A Guide to Icelandic Coffee Culture

Coffee culture is so prevalent here that making a list of all the cafes worth visiting in Iceland is practically impossible. Instead, here at the Iceland Guide we’ve selected some of our personal favorite coffee shops, as recommended below.

babalu coffee

café babalú can be found along skólavörðustígur, the road that leads directly into the city center from the lutheran church, hallgrímskirkja, and is instantly recognizable by its bright orange paint and first-floor balcony. Glenn Barkan opened the store in 2004 after moving to Iceland to marry her longtime boyfriend.

Reading: Best coffee in reykjavik

  • see also: gay iceland | all you need to know
  • entering café babalú is a journey in itself; the eclectic, eccentric and exuberant interior décor is the epitome of ordered chaos. vintage postcards, icelandic flags, lgbtq artwork, colorful flower baskets, old maps, dusty old books, tropical ornaments; café babalú is like entering the house —or the imagination— of a bizarre and confusing hoarder; Luckily Reykjavík wouldn’t have the place otherwise! it certainly makes for an interesting environment while enjoying your java.

    One of the first things people notice about Cafe Babalu is its bright facade.Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Viko van Dijk. No edits made.

    café babalú offers a wide variety of beverage options, as well as free refills for black coffee and a wide variety of pastries and desserts. the cafe has a somewhat homey approach to serving tables; don’t be surprised if you find yourself pouring your own coffee refills, for example.

    • address: skólavörðustígur 22, 101 reykjavík
    • vinyl

      In many ways, Vinyl Bistro doesn’t look like a café at all; With its dj booth, delicious menu, and huge collection of vinyl records, the establishment fits somewhere between a hip urban diner and a pretty yummy-smelling music store.

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

      • see also: top 21 vegan and vegetarian restaurants in reykjavik
      • music fans will find vinyl perfectly adapted to their tastes; The owner, Ymir (also known as DJ Sir Dance A-Lot) has been collecting vinyl records of almost every genre for over forty years. enthusiasts will be able to see discount boxes of second-hand records and even get their hands on some new releases.

        To top it off, there are even live dj sessions at night when the place turns from a cafe to a restaurant/bar. above all else is the smooth, laid-back vibe of vinyl; staff and patrons alike can’t help but wrap themselves in the elegant atmosphere.

        photo by jakub dziubak

        Coffee aside, vinyl is well-respected for its delicious vegan offerings, until recently the restaurant was entirely vegan; now vegans, vegetarians and carnivores can enjoy the vinyl menu.

        • see also: happy hour | the cheapest beer in reykjavik
        • Also on the menu, guests will find other delicious foods such as wraps, soups, lasagnas, and veggie burgers, among others. Drink lovers will also be delighted to find vegan whiskey sours and other humane alternatives to their favorite spirits.

          • address: hverfisgata 76, 101 reykjavík
          • reykjavik roasters

            If you’re a connoisseur, Reykjavik’s roasters are probably your surest chance to sample some of the country’s most prized coffee. The café was originally founded as Kaffismiðja Íslands in 2008, but then went through a rebrand in 2013, re-emerging as Reykjavík Roasters. they now serve as a coffee retailer, café, and educator.

            Reykjavík roasters continue to invest a lot of time and money in their coffee, choosing coffee farms abroad, importing only from the most ecological and humane bean producers on the market. 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 looking to improve their barista skills. Two instructors oversee the workshop and teach their guests four methods of roasting coffee beans. one of these workshops has a maximum of six places and will cost you 7900 isk. the cafe also offers professional courses for baristas and employers.

            • locations:
            • kárastígur 1, 101 reykjavík
            • brautarholt 2, 105 reykjavik
            • freyjugata 41, 101 reykjavik
            • tea og kaffi

              See also: 10 quán cà phê rooftop ở Sài Gòn, được giới trẻ check-in ‘sống ảo’ cực chất

              te og kaffi, named for the products it sells; tea and coffee, is iceland’s largest coffee shop chain, with more than thirteen different cafes across iceland. Since it was founded in 1984 by Sigmund Dýrfjörð and Berglind Guðbrandsdóttir, Te og Kaffi has tried to stay true to its humble origins as a family business, bringing together experience, innovation, passion and in-depth knowledge to bring customers the best coffee on the market. In fact, many have 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 wholesale coffee paraphernalia. coffee has proven to be more ambitious than most, going deeper into the industry, and is now the only producer of coffee pods in iceland.

              by being involved in the entire process (minus the coffee growing), te og kaffi has proven to be one of iceland’s most sincere and unique chains. In the same building as the roastery, the café also offers training courses for in-house baristas and customers looking to improve their brewing skills and knowledge.

              Like most other Icelandic cafes, te og kaffi also serves food, including sandwiches, paninis, croissants, and savory soups. the company also prides itself on its muffin bakery, which produces “the best muffins in iceland”.

              • address: te og kaffi can be found in several places in 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.Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Rheins. No edits made.

                flóran garden bistro is located a five minute drive from the city center in the reykjavik botanical gardens. Located in a greenhouse, the bistro is heavily inspired by the beauty of the surroundings and grows much of its own produce in the restaurant’s garden.

                This relationship between the environment and food culminates in the ultimate goal of floran; to provide a unique experience where both parties get the best of 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 teens where she began her career in the culinary arts.

                at age 18, marentza went to study food in copenhagen and thus returned to iceland with a strong awareness and practice in danish cuisine. Before opening Floran Garden Bistro, Marentza worked as a restaurant manager at Oddfellow House and Hotel Borg.

                The bistro is located directly across from húsdýragarðurinn, a small zoo that exhibits Icelandic farm animals and various attractions. The bistro setting makes Floran one of the most aesthetically beautiful places to eat and drink in the city. The company also offers catering services and easily accepts large groups and parties to enjoy its delicious menu and beautiful scenery.

                • address: fattygarðinum laugardal, reykjavik
                • brown sofa

                  Stofan cafe is a popular place to relax in Reykjavik.Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Rob Young. No edits made.

                  Stofan Café is a cozy and much-loved café located in the center of Reykjavik. Stofan is one of those perfect, romantic cafes that manages to bring all the right ingredients together; Fantastic coffee, comfortable seating, lots of reading materials, board games, and good company. As for food options, the stofan is quite typical, serving sandwiches, paninis, vegetarian soups, and pastries.

                  the cafe offers specially brewed coffee as well as a variety of Icelandic beers, happy hour falls between 4pm and 6pm. Unlike many other cafes and bistros in Iceland, Stofan tends to focus on serving coffee and light snacks, rather than doubling down at night as a bar and nightclub.

                  As a local favorite, Stofan Café is committed to entertaining its loyal guests; The establishment will often have swap shops, performances by local musicians and DJ’s, and pub quizzes on a variety of topics. however, one thing to watch out for with the stofan is its incredible popularity; finding seats at certain times is difficult, but it’s worth it if you’re quick enough to sit down.

                  • address: aðalstræti, 101 reykjavík
                  • coffee

                    in 1990, aðalheiður héðinsdóttir and her husband, eiríkur hilmarsson founded kaffitár on the principles of compassion, multiculturalism, and experience. Since then, they have nurtured the company to become one of the leading providers of coffee in Iceland, fostering a strong focus on environmental protection, customer satisfaction and quality coffee.

                    • see also: iceland’s problematic environment
                    • See also: 10 Best Keurig Coffee Makers in 2019

                      a factor that distinguishes kaffitár from other coffee outlets in reykjavik is the company’s personal relationship with its coffee farmers abroad. Harvesting beans from Nicaragua, Brazil and Guatemala, Kaffitár relies on the talent and experience of its award-winning farmers while investing in the most humane and sustainable policies available.

                      aðalheiður continues to travel the world each year to build long-lasting relationships with members of the industry and, of course, to buy coffee.

                      photo of gamene

                      kaffitár is also a wholesale coffee supplier, selling whole beans and ground coffee in a wide variety of flavors. some of these include; chocolate and almond, coconut, “summer sun”, vienna coffee and dark espresso. Many visitors to Iceland choose to buy kaffitar beans before they leave, as they make great gifts for friends and family back home. Fortunately, Kaffitár has an exit just inside Keflavík International Airport.

                      • See also: Flights to Iceland | the ultimate guide
                      • Drinking coffee in one of the many kaffitár establishments (there are 8 in total, making it a large chain by Icelandic standards) feels quite different from the usual Nordic decor that is so popular in Reykjavik. instead, kaffitár has kept its color scheme bright and vibrant, creating a warm and comfortable environment.

                        kaffitár offers black coffee refills.

                        • address: kaffitár can be found in many places in reykjavík
                        • Ida Zimsen

                          Ida is a perfect place for a book and a coffee.Photo by pardani arden

                          iða zimsen is reykjavik’s best book cafe, the perfect place to curl up with a warm cup, a fine read, and a few hours until time. iða zimsen is easily accessible to anyone lazily exploring the streets of the capital; The cafe is located right next to the Reykjavik Museum of Art and in many ways is the icing on the cake for any cultured day.

                          • see also: art galleries in iceland
                          • iða zimsen is part cafe, part bookstore, with a huge collection of books ranging from fine art photography to Icelandic history. nothing can beat that feeling of finding the perfect book, buying it, and then sitting down with a coffee and light snack to enjoy your purchase. Even if you’re not too keen on buying books, the cafe invites guests to come and enjoy browsing.

                            iða zimsen is popular with the lgbtq community in iceland. Every Tuesday, the bookstore serves as a meeting place for men and women to come to enjoy both good coffee and good company.

                            • address: vesturgata 2a, 101 reykjavík
                            • moka kaffi

                              photo by jeremy yap

                              mokka kaffi is one of the oldest cafes in reykjavík 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.

                              • see also: history and culture of iceland
                              • Founded in 1958 by husband and wife team Guðný Guðjónsdóttir and Guðmundur Baldvinsson, little has changed in half a century; the red, wood, and sophisticated decor remains the same, as does the family that owns it. So it should come as no surprise that Mokka Kaffi has a loyal customer base, with many of its customers keeping it as a makeshift second home for decades.

                                mokka kaffi is also a transitory exhibition space for local and international artists alike. these displays change every month and are available for purchase, making visiting the cafe year-round a new experience every time. In addition to the fantastic works of art, Mokka Kaffi customers swear by the traditional Icelandic hot chocolate and the café’s famous waffles.

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