Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Iceland

Image for Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Iceland

Welcome expatriates to the rich tapestry of coffee culture in Iceland, offering insights and tips for navigating the local coffee scene. If you're new to Iceland or a seasoned expat, this guide provides practical tips for immersing yourself in Iceland's vibrant coffee culture.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

Did you know that coffee is one of Iceland's most beloved beverages, with over 70% of the population enjoying a cup every day? Where is coffee sourced in Iceland you might ask? While most coffee consumed in Iceland is imported, there are a few local coffee farms producing high-quality beans. One such farm is Vorořaba in the south, where they grow Arabica coffee beans using organic farming methods. If you're a coffee lover and enjoy exploring local coffee farms, we recommend heading down south for a coffee farm tour or purchasing beans directly from the source.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Iceland's coffee scene is diverse, featuring a range of coffee style drinks favored by locals and expats alike. Here are some popular brews that you should try:

  • Kaffi imaið (Filter Coffee): This is Iceland's most popular brew, often served in vending machines and cafes. It's made using a paper filter, which reduces the coffee's bitterness and results in a lighter brew.
  • Kaffi plótuð (Full-Bodied Coffee): This is a more robust and full-bodied brew, perfect for coffee lovers who prefer a strong coffee taste. It's often served as espresso or macchiato.
  • Kaffi afhreyðið (Decaffeinated coffee): This is a popular choice for those who prefer a milder caffeine hit without sacrificing coffee's delicious aroma and taste.
  • Kaffi hljoss með skoði (Cappuccino): This is a classic coffee beverage that is less popular in Iceland than in other parts of the world, but still worth trying if you're a true cappuccino lover.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee is a big part of Icelandic culture. It's often consumed during social gatherings, serving as a bridge between friends and family members. Coffee drinking customs and traditions vary from country to country, but here's what you should know:

  • Kaffe og hagvorg: This is a traditional coffee ceremony where coffee is served in a series of three or five small cups. The cups are often filled with honey or sugar, adding sweetness to the coffee flavor.
  • Skipakaffi: This is a popular coffee station found in many Icelandic households and offices. It's essentially a coffee machine that's placed on a counter for shared use. Many Icelandic workplaces proudly display their skipakaffi, expressing their coffee-loving culture.
  • Kaffi í bottle: It might sound surprising, but coffee is often served in bottles in Iceland. While this might sound unusual, it's a practical solution for serving coffee to commuters on the go.
  • Kaffifárar: These are Iceland's cozy coffee shops, providing a warm and inviting space to enjoy your coffee. They often offer pastries, sandwiches, and other small snacks to pair with your coffee.

Expat-Friendly Coffee Shops and Cultural Experiences

Are you new to Iceland and looking for an opportunity to connect with the local community? Here are some expat-friendly coffee shops and cultural experiences that cater to diverse tastes and preferences:

  • Kaffehus Idnó: This is a quaint and cozy coffee house located in Reykjavik, featuring an intimate ambiance that's perfect for social gatherings. If you're looking to immerse yourself in Iceland's coffee culture and connect with like-minded individuals, this is a fantastic place to start.
  • Kopar: This coffee shop chain offers a range of coffee drinks, sandwiches, and pastries in a contemporary and welcoming environment. If you prefer modern and trendy coffee houses, Kopar is an excellent choice.
  • Icelandic Coffee Roasters: This is a local coffee roaster that's popular among Icelandic coffee lovers. If you prefer a deep and robust coffee flavor, we recommend trying their coffee beans, which are available for purchase online or in select stores.
  • Colombian Coffee Roasters: This is a specialty coffee house that offers a range of coffee flavors and roasts, as well as coffee-making demos and workshops. If you're interested in learning more about coffee making and brewing techniques, this is the perfect place to start.
  • Coffee Culture Tours: This is an exciting coffee tour that takes you on a journey through Iceland's coffee culture, featuring insights into coffee farming, brewing techniques, and local café culture. It's a fantastic opportunity to connect with the local community, learn about coffee traditions, and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee.


In this comprehensive guide, we've provided practical tips for immersing yourself in Iceland's coffee culture. Whether you're a new expat or a seasoned coffee lover, we hope this guide has offered valuable insights and recommendations. Remember, coffee is more than just a beverage in Iceland - it's a way of life, a catalyst for social gatherings, and a bridge between different cultures. Embrace Iceland's coffee culture, connect with the local community, and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee today.

For more coffee-related insights and information, visit our website today.