Nordic coffee culture makes us swoon. It might be the design (bright whites and blond wood complementing gray skies), the clout (AeroPress and Barista Champions galore), the hygge (food- and drink-fueled coziness), or the way coffee is so lovingly curated, brewed, and shared. Scandinavians drink more coffee than any other populace. Socially, in ways that make other café cultures look hurried and crude. In overcast places, fika rules.
In Copenhagen, the traditions of kaffee run deep, but most of the city’s sleek, specialty shops are relatively new. Following in paths trod by the city’s Michelin-rated restaurants and world-renowned roastery the Coffee Collective, Copenhagen’s newest specialty cafés are intertwining the friendly, communal nature of Nordic coffee with elegant Danish cuisine, modest-yet-inspired design, and a renewed focus on coffee’s origins. With so much to get excited about, we cropped this snapshot to the City Center:
1) The Coffee Collective (Torvehallerne)
This outpost of the world-famous roastery started by Klaus Thomsen, Peter N. Dupont, Linus Törsäter, and Casper E. Rasmussen in 2007 is the most energetic of the city’s three (including the original Jægersborggade roastery, Copenhagen’s first public roastery and coffee bar), but abides by the same tenets as the other locations: sustainability, transparency, and community.
2) Copenhagen Coffee Lab
A relatively new café and roastery (opened in 2013), Copenhagen Coffee Lab—housed in a modest cellar—focuses on skillfully brewed filter coffee served in lab-style glass (think beakers and borosilicate Hario wares). With simple surroundings, including an unfinished wood bar, and brewing wares available to go, this shop presents a monk-like devotion to coffee.
3) Democratic Coffee
Nestled inside Copenhagen’s Main Library, Democratic Coffee provides a break from book-browsing and offers some of the best baked goods in town. The owner, Oliver Oxfeldt, developed the shop’s highly rated croissant recipe, and can regularly be spotted behind the bar. There’s minimal seating, but the library’s attached lounge provides room to relax.
4) Original Coffee (Bredgade)
This year-old shop is one of five for Original Coffee, each with its own stunning, minimalist design. Marble floors, a dark wood bar, and low-wattage hanging lamps accent the space, serving both “classic” and “modern” espresso: a chocolaty arabica blend and a sweet, acidic Yirgacheffe, both from Kontra Coffee, a local roaster.
5) Forloren Espresso
Forloren Espresso owner Niels Nielsen developed a passion for specialty coffee while in Tokyo. His year-old café serves pastries from Japan’s Danish-inspired Andersen Bakery, and beans from UK’s Has Bean Coffee and Denmark’s La Cabra Coffee Roasters. With the loving hand of an expert and enthusiast, Nielsen brews from a small but select menu of coffees, delivering undivided attention to each order.
6) Café Det Vide Hus
While the coffee at Café Det Vide Hus is impressive—they serve beans from the Coffee Collective, roasters from around Europe and as far as the US—it’s the ice cream pops that inspire. The striking bars, in flavors like licorice, pistachio, sea-buckthorn, and single-origin coffee, integrate coatings as inventive as freeze-dried berries, bee pollen, hibiscus powder, and caramelized hazelnuts.
—Regan Crisp is Fresh Cup’s associate editor, map by Cynthia Meadors. Featured photo courtesy The Coffee Collective.