Early July Oscar and Martin took a little break and headed to Iceland.
Below is Martin's report on the coffee scene there.
Martin on Iceland:
Iceland is famous for it’s geysers, waterfalls, volcanoes, geo thermal baths and its cool capital Reykjavik. But what about the specialty coffee scene? On our road trip around the country we tried to find out more.
On the way into Reykjavik from Keflavik airport we stopped off at a café right on the harbour at Hafnarfjörður.
This place itself had quite a cool vibe with a community hub feel to it. Most of the food here was locally produced. We noticed when we arrived that at most tables, customers were having scones. Clearly we had to try them. They were home made and absolutely delicious. Unfortunately the coffee wasn't as good.
Once in Reykjavik there really is only one place to be which is Reykjavik Roasters. They have three shops of which we visited two.
The first one we visited was quite central near the Hallgrimskirkja, The church with it's impressive stepped concrete facade is Reykjavik's main landmark. The café is on a prominent corner location with a central bar. It has an artisan look with quite a relaxed vibe. We just had lunch so we stopped for a quick but excellent flat white. The roasting is also done from this site.
The next morning we visited one that is a little further out but still in walking distance from the city centre. This café is quite spacious with a nice brew bar and a simple pared-down interior. The baristas were friendly and gave us some tips for our road trip. We started with a filter brewed on the Kalita, followed by a cortado with a cinnamon pastry. The filter was a Guatemalan from the San Antonio Esquipulas farm. Reykjavik Roasters had two coffees on from this farm. That day we had the one with notes of blood orange and dark grapes. We bought a bag of the second coffee of this 0f to take back with us to London to share with our customers in the shop (which had notes of black tea and dark caramel).
Outside of Reykjavik whilst traveling around the ring road, like in other Scandivanian countries batch filter coffee is served everywhere and is half decent at most times, but it can be a bit hit and miss. As we were camping we mainly relied on our Aeropress and the coffee we brought with us (Five Elephant).
There is one place to mentioned: In Akureyri, Iceland’s second town the Akureyri Art Museum has a cafe called Gil Kaffihús, that serves Reykjavik Roaster’s coffee and is worth visiting.
All in all we found that the specialty coffee scene is still quite small. Also in comparison to the local craft beer scene. We found breweries with nice tap rooms in various small towns around the country.
Martin visited and recommends:
Reykjavik Roasters, Kárastígur 1, 101 Reykjavik
Reykjavik Roasters, Brautarholt 2, 105 Reykjavik
Gil kaffihús, Akureyri Art Museum, Kaupvangsstræti, 600 Akureyri