The company Kaffitár (i.e. Coffeetear – reflecting the Icelandic habit of asking for ‘a tear’ of coffee) was established in 1990 by coffee lover Aðalheiður Héðinsdóttir. Her goal was to educate her countrymen on the finer aspects of coffee drinking. The company imports the finest coffee available, directly from farmers around the world. Héðinsdóttir is one of the company’s two coffee samplers and travels the world to find the best available raw materials as well as to establish a professional relationship with the farmers themselves in places such as Kenya, Nicaragua and Colombia. The coffee is selected after careful scrutiny, where the coffee’s aroma, taste and body are judged and only the best is deemed good enough. The coffee itself is processed in Iceland under the company’s strict quality standards.
After establishing a viable import business, Héðinsdóttir decided to branch out, starting a chain of coffeehouses around Reykjavík. One of these happens to be my favourite coffee shop in town. The Kaffitár shop located in the National Museum of Iceland. Sitting squarely on the University of Iceland campus, Kaffitár is a favourite among university students, offering a product far superior than the university cafeteria.
The newly renovated museum building offers the perfect surroundings to enjoy a tasty cup of your favourite beverage. The museum’s book shop offers the appropriate mental stimulation, while the quiet museum atmosphere allows for easy flowing conversation. A large window offers a view over the university bookstore and a small pond outside that brings an element of tranquillity to the place.
The selection of beverages is plentiful. My personal favourite is the Americano, a delicious espresso saturated with a little hot water. For those with a sweet tooth, a hot cup of cocoa is always enjoyable. A large selection of quality tea from all four corners of the world is also available. I must admit that I have a guilty pleasure for the chai latte, a milk-based tea drink, flavoured with Indian chai mix and a lot of syrup.
Of course, if you are hungry for something more substantial than liquid, a selection of scones, bagels and other goods are available. The biscotti comes highly recommended.
If lounging around in coffeehouses, leading the bohemian life is not your cup of tea (pun intended), it is also possible to buy ground coffee or coffee beans by weight and enjoy your cup at home, or perhaps, put it in a thermos and enjoy it out in the wilderness. Nothing compares to a hot of cup coffee out in the nature.
But good coffee is not produced by the raw material alone. At Kaffitár it is possible to stock up on all the available equipment to produce and enjoy both coffee and tea, be it coffee grinders, cups, kettles or French press coffee makers.
You could really say that it is the one-stop coffee shop.
Suðurgata 41, 101 Reykjavík
Tel. +354 551 7710
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday from 8-17;
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