Best Coffee Houses In Reykjavik

Coffee cup and coffee beans

When you’ve swum in the Blue Lagoon, seen the amazing local wildlife, explored all the volcanoes and national parks you can handle, you just might be ready to spend a quiet morning doing nothing more than sipping some excellent coffee, reading your book or watching the world go by.

Not many people associate Iceland with a good cup of coffee, but you’ll be surprised at the variety and quality of what’s on offer in Reykjavik’s excellent coffee houses.  The locals didn’t see the point of paying just to drink coffee until Mokka Kaffi opened up in 1958, but since then the quality of the coffee available here has gone from strength to strength.  Sipping a good latte, whilst arguing over politics, or simply people-watching is now a favorite Icelandic pastime. In fact, today, Icelanders are said to be the fourth largest consumers of coffee (relative to the population) in the whole world! (Not a lot of people know that).

You won’t find any Starbucks in Iceland, and most of the big-name International outlets have stayed away.  But what you will find are some really cool places to hang-out and a surprising number of cafes which really take their coffee seriously.  You’ll also find a great selection of quirky little venues, with books, board-games and international newspapers supplied where you won’t look at all out of place if all you want to do is sit with your knitting while you sip a good creamy mocha. Most (but not all) of the sit-down cafes on this list offer free Wi-Fi.  Very few places serve decaffeinated coffee.  Quite a few do free refills.
At night time many of the Reykjavik’s coffee houses turn into lively bars.

Reykjavik Coffee Houses

Barista Cafe Making Coffee PreparationUse this guide to find the exact coffee house that you’re hoping to find, whether it’s the taste of the coffee, the ambience or the people-watching opportunities that matter to you.

Reykjavik Coffee Houses- Our Top Picks

We’ve selected two coffee houses which we feel you really should experience during your stay in Reykjavik- both for the quality of the coffee and for the ambience.  Each one, in its own way has become a Reykjavik institution.

Mokka /Mokka Kaffi

Travel back in time to the 1950’s when you visit the oldest coffee house in Reykjavik.  Once the locals got used to the idea of going out just for a cup of coffee, this place became a popular meeting place for artists, writers and students, as well as getting its fair share of tourists.  The coffee here is excellent- you won’t be disappointed.  The décor has hardly changed at all since 1958.  Expect cool art-deco style furniture and wall hangings by local artists. They often hold art exhibitions – see website for details.  Don’t expect Wi-Fi- there isn’t any.  It’s quite a small place and at busy times you might have difficulty getting a table.

Address: Skólavörðustíg 3A, 101 Reykjavík, Sími 552 1174
Website: www.mokka.is/Mokka/Mokka-Kaffi.html

Reykjavik Roasters (formerly called Kaffismiðja Íslands)

These guys really take their coffee seriously.  Since this place was founded in 2008, the owners have worked hard at raising awareness and appreciation of quality coffee in Reykjavik. Expect a great range of excellent coffees from around the world, particularly Colombia and Nicaragua.  The coffee beans are ethically sourced and are roasted in-house. Products can be purchased on-site. Many of the locals will tell you that this place serves the best coffee in town.  You can even choose which brewing method you want. This is THE place to come if you like to treat your coffee drinking experience like a fine wine tasting.  The ambience is chic, minimalist and interesting.  They even have a real record player.   Just don’t ask for decaf.

Address: Við Kárastíg 1, 101 Reykjavík
Website: www.reykjavikroasters.is/english

If you‘re after amazing ambience,Iceland-style,  check out Cafe Babalú and Stofan (below).

Reykjavik Coffee Houses- Best for Ambience

Couple drinking coffee at cafeCafe Babalú

This place is possibly the coolest, quirkiest little coffee shop in Reykjavik.  Set over 2 floors, with an outside terrace, this place is very popular with the locals. You’ll find the comfiest sofas and a warm, welcoming little hide-out full of potted plants, books, toys, board-games and so much more. There’s interesting graffiti and artwork on the walls.  Every inch of the place is packed full of fascinating curiosities.   Do check out the amazing bathroom-complete with its own guestbook!  The coffee is good and there are some nice home-made cakes on offer. The Wi-Fi is reliable too.

Address: Skólavörðustígur 22a, Reykjavik

Stofan

You really can’t fault the atmosphere in this lovely coffee house.  The name literally means “living room”.  As well as wonderfully comfortable sofas and armchairs, you’ll find quaint wooden furniture and beautiful beams and exposed brickwork.
Stofan is somewhere where you can pass the time reading your book whilst sampling what’s on offer, or even knitting that jumper you never seem to find the time to get on with.  Expect a smattering of students working at their computers as well as the usual tourists you’d expect in a place like this.
As well as coffee, you’ll find a selection of teas and other beverages.  At night time this place turns into a bar, serving whisky, beer as well as the best Irish coffee in town.  Do give it a try!

Address: Vesturgata 3, 101 Reykjavik

Grai Kotturinn /The Grey Cat

This tiny little place is rumoured to be a favorite haunt of singer Björk.  The opening times are a mystery-even to the locals.  Last time we looked it closes at 3 in the afternoon. There are only six tables, but the atmosphere is just great- you’ll feel like you are sitting in someone’s private study.  The shelves are full of books and papers- there’s a really cozy, 1950’s feel.  It serves excellent coffee and is also popular with the locals for its delicious American-style breakfasts.  The American=style pancakes are particularly good.

Address: Hverfisgata 16a, Reykjavik

Reykjavik Coffee Houses- Best Take-Away Coffee

cup of coffeeKaffifélagid

This tiny little coffee shop does have a small area where you can sit down but most of the people who come here order take-out coffee.  Get here early in the morning if you want to see the locals gulping down their espressos on the pavement outside, for that delicious shot of caffeine needed to get them through the working day.  The coffee (brewed with Italian-roast beans) is very good.

Address: Skólavördustígur 10, 101 Reykjavik
Website: www.kaffifelagid.is

Te & Kaffi

If you find that you’re really missing the daily Starbucks you’re used to drinking at home, then you’ll be happy to know that this place has coffee which is just as good and all the extras you’d expect, like free Wi-Fi and (some say) the best latte in town.
Te & Kaffi has various outlets dotted around the city.  It’s not just for take-away coffee.  For those who prefer to sip their mochas indoors, you’ll find plenty of seating and clean, functional décor.

Address: Around the city:  Try Skólavörðustígur 11, 101 Reykjavik, or Laugavegur 27, 101 Reykjavik

Puffin

This isn’t really a coffee house at all.  It’s actually just a kitchen window hatch from which the owner serves cups of take-away coffee. You can get espressos, lattes and more here.
What’s really cool is that all the profits are given to an autism charity. See website (below) for more information or to make a donation.

Address: Baldursgata 26, Reykjavík
Website: www.puffincoffee.com

Reykjavik Coffee Houses- Best for Real Coffee Aficionados

If you take your coffee really seriously and are interested in trying out coffee beans you’ve never tried before then you’ve come to the right city.  Here are our top picks for the coffee connoisseurs.

Reykjavik Roasters

See out Top Picks (above). These guys really know what they’re doing with their coffee.  Whatever you’re looking for you won’t be disappointed (so long as it’s not a decaf).

Address: Við Kárastíg 1, 101 Reykjavík
Website: www.reykjavikroasters.is/english

Cafe Haiti

As a young girl, owner Elda Thorisson-Faurelien worked in a coffeee field in her native Haiti.  Now she imports the beans from Haiti and roasts them in-house for that fresh-roasted taste.  The flavor is quite unique.
This cafe is in a good, position by the old Harbor.  There‘s free Wi-Fi and the menu also does breakfasts lunches and dinners too.  For something totally different try the Arabic coffeee with sugar and cardamon.

Address: Verbud, Geirsgata 7b, Reykjavik 101
Website: www.cafehaiti.is

Reykjavik Coffee Houses – Best for People-Watching

Couple holding hands and drinking coffeeThere are times when there’s nothing better than enjoying your coffee as you watch the world go by.  Here are some suggestions for those days when you’re in the mood to do nothing except people-watch.

Kaffitar Bankastraeti

You’ll find outlets of the Kaffitar chain all over Reykjavik.  The coffee is good.  It’s roasted locally and ethically-sourced.  Do give the Swiss mocha here a try.  There’s free Wi-Fi which works well, making these outlets a good place of you need to sit and work if that’s what you need to do.  You’ll also find a typically Icelandic laid-back atmosphere here. The best one for sitting and watching passers- by is the one on Bankastraeti, – a bright pink building at the start of Reykjavik’s main shopping street.   Sit by the window and watch the busy shoppers scurry by whilst you sip some very good coffee.  This place is quite busy early in the morning.

Address: Bankastraeti 8, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
Website: www.kaffitar.is

Mokka /Mokka Kaffi

See out Top Picks (above). As well as admiring the 1950’s art-deco design and art works by local artists, this is a good place to mingle with the locals as well as other tourists.  Just don’t expect Wi-Fi.

Address: Skólavörðustíg 3A, 101 Reykjavík, Sími 552 1174
Website: www.mokka.is/Mokka/Mokka-Kaffi.html

Reyjkavik Coffee Houses- Decaffinated Coffee

Waiter Serving CoffeeIf what you’re looking for is a decent cup of decaf then you’ll be surprised to learn that most of Reykjavik’s coffee houses don’t have any!  The reason is that there’s surprisingly little demand (even, presumably from the tourists).  So if you need some decaf, try one of these:-

Kaffitár

You’ll find Kaffitár outlets throughout the city, and all serve decaf, as well as a wide selection of excellent full-caffeine variations. Expect a very good cup of coffee.  Wi-Fi available and free refills on request.

Address: Bankastraeti 8, Reykjavik 101, Iceland (You will also find Kaffitár outlets in the Kringlan and the Smáralind shopping malls, as well as at the National Museum and at the beautiful Culture House.)

Website: www.kaffitar.is

 Te & Kaffi

See Best Take-Away Coffee (above).

Address: Skólavörðustígur 11, 101 Reykjavik

Reykjavik Coffee Houses – Also Recommended

Hemmi & Valdi/ Hemmi og Valdi

You won’t find anywhere quite like this place.  Originally set up as a place selling cheap beer and coffee, it attracts a young crowd.  At night this place turns into a venue for great live music.  Expect a full-on party atmosphere once they’ve put away the coffee cups.

Address: Laugavegur 21, Reykjavik

Bakari Sandholt

Not really a coffeehouse – it’s actually a great little bakery. But if you’re looking for somewhere to eat delicious bread and pastries with some top-quality coffee then try the small café at the back of the shop.

Address: Laugavegur 36, Reykjavik 101

C  is for Cookie

This charming, quirky little coffee shop is a relative newcomer in town.  Do try the excellent Polish cheesecake with your coffee.

Address:  Týsgata 8, Reykjavik

Make Time for that Coffee Break

There’s so much to do in and around Reykjavik, but it would be a real shame if you don’t take a little time out to sample some of our wonderful coffee houses.  These places not only offer a welcome breathing space, not to mention a great cup of coffee, but they also provide a unique opportunity to do what the locals do and to mingle with Icelanders and tourists alike. If you linger in some of these places as the day turns to evening, you can experience first-hand the magical transformation from coffee house to bar or music venue.  It’s an experience you won’t forget.

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