Travel insights from Taylor Coulson, contributing editor of The Compass

Freshly Brewed: Scandinavia’s Coolest Coffee Shops

Coffee is a centerpiece for conversation and collaboration, no matter the time and place. But Scandinavia is the place to be this winter when it comes to experiencing coffee culture and these Scandinavian events and traditions. After all, a great café or unique coffee bar just might be the reason you’ll return.

Get a taste of Scandinavia’s coffee culture by visiting these coffee shops that are as hot as the coffee.

Denmark: Where hygge is happening

Coffee Culture

Hygge might be the secret ingredient coffee shops in Copenhagen use to be continuously ranked as one of the happiest countries as well as one of the top coffee consuming countries in the world. The fact that baristas can sell coffee by the gallon might have something to do with it, too. Pronounced “hoo-guh,” hygge is a Nordic concept of comfort and coziness that creates an extreme feeling of well-being and bliss. Winters are extremely cold in Denmark, so warm coffee shops filled with flickering candles and cozy interiors invite every visitor inside.

Top Coffee Shops

  • The Coffee Collective is an iconic specialty café and roastery founded in 2007. It has four of its own coffee bars sprinkled across the city in Bernikow, Godthabsvej, Jaegersborggade and Torvehallerne and continuously works with farmers who share the same passion for a sustainable coffee experience from seed to brew. Cold coffee, coffee beer and coffee kombucha are a few of their most popular beverage items on the menu.
  • There are plenty of stories to share inside Paludan Book & Café Shop. Quite literally since it’s Denmark’s oldest book café in the old Jewish quarter of Copenhagen. Bookshelves frame the intimate space made perfect for bookworms. Its library-like living room ambience comes with a tasty menu filled with breakfast, lunch and dinner options so there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to finish your book or cup of joe. You don’t need a library card to experience the hygge here.

Sweden: Where you can take a fika with friends

Coffee Culture

Fika isn’t just the Swedish way to say you’re taking a break… it goes far beyond a daily coffee break with cake. “Taking a fika” is a tradition that enhances productivity and strengthens relationships. Most Swedes consider it essential to participate in fika, preferably twice a day. It’s a time to catch up with friends or colleagues and appreciate a sweet treat that creates a home-away-from-home vibe. No matter your age or expertise, experiencing a fika in Stockholm is the ultimate way to get a slice of Swedish culture and satisfy that sweet tooth Swedes are known for.

Fun fact: Finland has a similar approach to business when it comes to coffee and fika. Finns have two mandatory 15-minute coffee, or kahvi, breaks during their work day!

Top Coffee Shops

  • Café Pascal is the picture-perfect place for an Instagram post. If you have a green thumb, its aesthetic won’t disappoint; the space is filled with plants, exposed bricks, Edison bulbs and most importantly, strong coffee.
  • Kafé 44 is the place to be for music and movie lovers. It’s an oasis of laughter and forgetfulness, perfect for fika with friends.
  • Java Whiskers is every cat and coffee lover’s dream. If you need an afternoon pick-me-up along with a wake-me-up cup of java, this is the cat café to visit.

Norway: Where coffee is steeped over a campfire

Coffee Culture

Kokekaffe, aka steeped coffee, is a Norwegian tradition which means it’s prepared over an open fire. Norwegians take their coffee like they take their summer days – lightly roasted. Sometimes the sun doesn’t set until later in the evening so a cup of coffee is a necessity, especially for visitors. Light roasts are typically sweeter and best served without cream and sugar, when it’s slightly cooled.

Top Coffee Shops

  • Tim Wendelboe is the epicenter of coffee culture in Oslo. It’s a roastery, coffee bar, barista training center and so much more, all in one. Visitors can imbibe flights of coffee every Sunday and sample pre-release roasts from all over the world during tasting sessions and coffee presentations.
  • Fuglen translates to “the bird” in English and isn’t just a chic coffee bar by day. It’s also a vintage design store until it turns into a cocktail bar in the evening. So whether you prefer an espresso shot, beer or fancy cocktail, this is the 70s-themed place to be.

Iceland: Where coffee competes locally

Coffee Culture

Reykjavik is Iceland’s tiny capital filled with locals and visitors that are crazy for coffee. Iceland remains Starbucks- and McDonald’s-free so visitors can rest and sip assured knowing their experience is as Icelandic and interesting as it gets without any interference from international coffee chains.

Top Coffee Shops

  • Mokka-Kafi was the first coffee shop in Reykjavik to serve espresso drinks and still thrives on doing so. The romantic atmosphere is filled with red carpet, leather boots and artwork that change every few weeks to admire while you indulge in sweet treats and drinks. The only music that plays here are the sounds of loyal customers.
  • Stofan Café translates to “living room” in English and is an exact replica down to the board games and books galore that fill the space. Beer, wine and coffee are the staples of this traditional Icelandic café located in Reykjavik. Beyond beverages, this garage-themed space has a vintage vibe worth checking out.

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