Navigating Coffee Culture An Expats Guide to Greenland

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Welcome expatriates to the rich tapestry of coffee culture in Greenland, where coffee has a special place in daily life and social interactions. Whether you're new to the country or have been living here for years, this guide offers insights and practical tips for navigating the local coffee scene. From coffee origins and production to drinking customs and traditions, this comprehensive guide will help you embrace the vibrant coffee culture of Greenland as a gateway to connecting with local communities and experiencing authentic cultural experiences.

Understanding Coffee Origins and Production

Coffee is grown in several regions of Greenland, including the eastern coast and interior uplands. While Greenland may not be the first place you think of when it comes to coffee cultivation, local beans offer a unique flavor profile that's surely worth exploring. Here's a quick overview of the regions renowned for coffee production in Greenland:

  • Eastern Coast: Coffee farmers in this region grow Arabica and Robusta beans, with Arabica crops predominating. Some farms offer tours of the plantation, allowing expats to learn about the coffee cultivation process and pick fresh beans.
  • Interior Uplands: Coffee farmers in this region grow unique Arabica varieties, such as the Geisha bean, which is highly prized for its delicate flavor. Visitors can explore coffee plantations here and savor the Arabica flavors in specialty brews.

Expats who prefer locally grown coffee can find it in many cafes across Greenland. It's a way to support local farmers and savor the unique flavor profiles that coffee from various regions has to offer. Greenland's coffee plantations and farms offer yet another way for expats to immerse themselves in local culture, learn about traditional farming practices, and connect with local communities. If you're interested in visiting a coffee plantation in Greenland, be sure to check out , which offers tours and tastings throughout the year.

Embracing Favorite Coffee Style Drinks

Greenland's coffee culture offers a diverse array of coffee style drinks, some unique to the region. Here's a quick rundown of the most popular coffee styles you should try:

  • Ringello: This is a classic coffee style drink in Greenland, consisting of espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup. It's a rich and indulgent way to enjoy coffee and can be found in many cafes across the country.
  • Laftagi Tivdo: This unique coffee style drink is made with indigenous plants such as Labrador tea (inuktitut: laftagi), berries, and roots. It's a locally crafted drink with a distinct flavor profile that's worth trying.
  • Greenland Drink: This sweet and spiced coffee drink is made with Arabica coffee, cinnamon(inuktitut: Youphiit), cardamom(inuktitut: qimmeq), and brown sugar(inuktitut: nungummik). It's a warming and comforting way to enjoy coffee, especially during the winter months.

Greenland's coffee culture is a celebration of local ingredients and flavors, which is precisely what makes it unique. In many cafes, you'll also find traditional brews such as filter coffee, drip coffee, and pour-over coffee in addition to specialty blends and unique drinks. Don't be afraid to explore and try new things! Whether you're a regular coffee drinker or prefer less caffeine, the local coffee scene has something to suit all tastes.

Embracing Coffee Drinking Customs and Traditions

Coffee is much more than just a drink in Greenland; it's a cultural experience. Here are a few customs and traditions to be aware of and respect:

  • Coffee Drinking Etiquette: Whether you're drinking coffee with friends, business associates, or strangers, it's essential to follow traditional coffee drinking etiquette. Some basic guidelines include accepting the first round of coffee, drinking it slowly and savoring it, and passing around the coffee pot or cup to show respect for others.
  • Coffee Culture and Hospitality: Coffee culture is deeply ingrained in the concept of hospitality and friendship in Greenland. If someone invites you to their home or business for coffee, it's a gesture of kindness and respect. Accepting the invitation, savoring the coffee, and engaging in conversation are all essential ways to show gratitude and reinforce the bond.
  • Coffeehouse Culture: Coffee houses, also known as kaffemik and kafferefser, are social spaces for sharing coffee, food, and conversation. They're an essential part of coffee culture in Greenland, providing a place for locals to connect, exchange ideas, and discuss topics of mutual interest. Expats should seek out coffeehouses near their neighborhoods and participate in these cultural events.

These traditions and customs are precisely what makes coffee culture in Greenland so unique and enriching. Whether you're dining with friends, negotiating business deals, or networking with locals, coffee is a key element of social interaction and hospitality in Greenland. Embrace these customs with respect and openness, and you'll be welcomed and cherished as a valued member of the community.

Expat-Friendly Coffee Shops and Cafes

Greenland's coffee scene has plenty of options for expats looking to savor coffee culture. Here are a few recommendations for expat-friendly coffee shops and cafes:

  • Café Affærd in Nuuk: This is one of the most popular coffeehouses in Greenland, with a vibrant atmosphere, warm hospitality, and an extensive coffee menu. Expats can find a range of coffee styles, from native brews to international favorites.
  • Coffeehouse Qilaani in Nuuk: This trendy coffeehouse in the heart of Nuuk is an excellent place for expats to mingle with locals and savor traditional coffee styles. The staff is friendly, the décor is inviting, and the coffee is rich and aromatic.
  • Northern Fine Coffee in Akureyri, Iceland: This coffee shop may not be in Greenland, but it's located right across the Davis Strait and offers a unique coffee experience that's worth exploring. The coffee is sourced from various regions of Greenland, and the staff is knowledgeable about the local coffee scene.

These coffee shops and cafes are just a few examples of the diverse options available for expats in Greenland. There's a wealth of coffee culture and experiences to explore, whether you're seeking traditional or international brews, cozy cafes, or trendy coffeehouses. Take the time to explore and discover what suits your taste and preferences; you're bound to find a coffee shop or café that matches your style and needs.

Cultural Events and Festivals

Coffee culture is celebrated through various festivals and cultural events throughout Greenland. Here's a quick rundown of some of the most popular events that you should look out for:

  • Coffee fest: This annual festival is held in Nuuk and celebrates coffee culture through various events, including coffee tastings, barista demonstrations, and cultural performances. The festival is an excellent way to immerse yourself in coffee culture, connect with other expats, and learn more about Greenland's unique coffee flavors and customs.
  • Caffeine Culture Night: This monthly event is held in the capital city, Nuuk, and celebrates coffee culture through music, poetry, and other cultural performances. It's an excellent way to experience Greenland's vibrant cultural scene and connect with locals through shared interests.
  • Kaffeemik: This traditional coffeehouse celebration involves gathering in a cozy atmosphere, sharing coffee, food, and conversation, and bonding over shared interests. These house parties are an excellent way to learn about Greenland's traditional coffee styles and customs, and they're often an integral part of school and university events.

These festivals and cultural events offer an immersive and enriching way to embrace Greenland's coffee culture and connect with other expats. Be sure to check out the local event listings and make plans to attend these events. They are one of the best ways to experience the true essence of Greenland's coffee culture.


Greenland's coffee culture offers a unique and enriching experience for expats, providing a gateway to connect with local communities, learn about traditional farming practices, and savor authentic cultural experiences. From understanding coffee origins and production to embracing favorite coffee style drinks and coffee drinking customs and traditions, this comprehensive guide offers practical tips and insights to help expats navigate the local coffee scene. If you're seeking an immersive and enriching experience, don't forget to try new coffee styles, visit coffee plantations, attend cultural events, and engage in coffee conversations with locals. This guide is an essential resource for expats living in Greenland, providing practical insights and recommendations to help them savor the rich tapestry of coffee culture in Greenland.