Sprudge contributor Joanna Han recently spent a fortnight traveling across Scandinavia, visiting some of the region’s very best coffee bars and roasteries, including Drop Coffee and the Solberg & Hansen concept shop. In her third feature from the trip, Ms. Han walks us through her very favorite places in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I spent much of my first trip to Denmark exploring the countryside and northern coast, shopping at Wood Wood and Norse Projects, but mostly just eating lots of food and drinking loads of coffee. This list started out as a coffee guide, but I found that there simply aren’t ten coffee shops in Copenhagen worth writing about. The Danish baristas I met were all very eager to talk about coffee in Oslo, but decidedly less enthusiastic about the scene in their own city. “Besides The Coffee Collective, there’s really not much here…” they invariably told me when I asked them for suggestions. Still, the cafés below always came up in conversation, and I included a few restaurants to make it an even list of ten. Tip: If you ever embark on a tour of the major Nordic cities, do yourself a favor and begin with Oslo and end with Copenhagen—you’ll be pleased to find that things get cheaper and cheaper (or rather, less and less expensive) as you go!
At Boldhusgade 6, you’ll come across a tiny door and narrow staircase that leads awkwardly down into Copenhagen Coffee Lab. Owned by a group of three friends coming from various coffee backgrounds, this barely three-month-old shop is grateful to be a part of Copenhagen’s supportive, growing, and engaging coffee community. On bar you’ll always find one espresso by a rotating guest roaster, most likely than not either Koppi or Great Coffee, along with one of their own coffees, roasted in-house on a Giesen W15. If you’re too hungry to settle for a pastry, you can walk next door to the very famous wine bar Ved Stranden 10 (see #9).
The Coffee Collective’s new roastery is on Godthåbsvej in Frederiksberg. It’s certainly the largest of the three TCC shops and has a more formal feel—expect sit-down table service from baristas in collared shirts. A glass wall divides the main space from the roastery, where you’ll likely spot roaster (and Sprudge doppelgänger) Casper Engel Rasmussen head-phoned and hard at work. My favorite part of this shop is its coffee and food pairing menu: Thick slices of sourdough bread are served with organic butter and delicious fixings like fig preserves, cheeses and lemon zest pistachios, and offered alongside a coffee that best complements the flavors.
There’s no combination I love more than coffee and books (besides, perhaps, coffee and cats). Democratic Coffee Bar shares a space with Copenhagen Main Library, but with its own entrance and a dividing hallway, it feels like its own space. The coffee is from Aarhus-based Great Coffee, and the incredibly good baked goods and sandwiches are made in-house, from scratch by the owner. Read more in this nice article written by fellow Sprudge contributor Aaron Frey, at his own Frshgrnd.com.
Admittedly I never actually tried the coffee here. Having coffee shop-hopped all morning and afternoon, I physically couldn’t handle much more caffeine at this point—except in the form of ice cream. In addition to offering brewed coffee and espresso drinks from a rotating guest roaster, Café Det Vide Hus (“The White House”) is known for its incredibly tasty ice cream bars, all of them made in-house and given silly names like Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee. The espresso ice cream bar is a must-try for any coffee lover, made with—what else—TCC’s Kenya Kieni espresso and covered in dark chocolate. But my absolute favorite was a brilliant combination of tart sea buckthorn sorbet covered with white chocolate—so insanely good that I shamelessly ate two in a row. The wall behind the bar is decorated with dozens of coffee bags from the best roasters in the world, and the baristas are super nice guys.
The second and most central of the Coffee Collective shops, home of the recognizable world map wall, is located inside Torvehallerne, a large indoor food market just outside the Nørreport metro station. Drop by for a quick espresso and explore the neighboring meat, cheese and fish and fresh produce stands.
Is it excessive to include every single Coffee Collective location in this guide? Perhaps, but each of the shops are so distinct from each other that I couldn’t possibly leave one of them out. The original TCC shop sits on hip Jaegersborggade in gritty Nørrebro. I was surprised at how small and endearingly unrefined it was inside. A bit cramped and cluttery, hip hop playing in the background, filled with cool kids clad in New Balance 420s, this would easily be my favorite neighborhood coffee shop if I lived nearby. It doesn’t hurt that Meyer’s Bageri from Noma co-owner Claus Meyer is just across the street.
This brand-new Nørrebro bar is a dream for the design-minded fan of craft beer. Mikkeller brews some of the best beers I’ve ever tasted, but it’s the design of the place that tops it all off. The pale turquoise walls are lined with framed prints of their clean, charmingly quirky branding, and minimal light wood tables and benches fill up the dim, low-ceilinged but spacious interior. Find tote bags, t-shirts and bottled beer in the adjoining Bottle Shop, and be certain to try their coffee IPA—the result of a collaboration with Koppi Roasters, it’s a match made in heaven.
The best meal I had in the city was enjoyed at this gem of a restaurant. Nordskovsspisetue is still quite new, so it’s never crowded. Although it looks fancy, the prices are extremely reasonable—I was pleasantly shocked when I punched the bill into my trusty currency converter app and found that it was just $50 for two people. (I had also just had an awful $37 burger in Oslo a week earlier, so this was especially nice). A new special is on the menu daily, the food is of excellent quality and the service is lovely. Amass and Noma certainly sound nice, but until those options become financially attainable for me (and the majority of Sprudge readers), let’s all make a point of extolling the virtues of restaurants like Nordskovsspisestue. I’ll be returning here next time I visit.
Desperate to get some food in my stomach between coffee shops, I visited this wine bar after getting the recommendation from a few different baristas around town. The menu of small plates looked excellent but I settled for a hearty croque monsieur instead, and I left the wine choice up to owner and (though I’m no wine expert), I wasn’t disappointed. Looks like Oliver Strand wrote a nice article about the place for Bon Appétit, and the bar’s owner, Christian Nedergaard, was a featured speaker at the 2013 Nordic Barista Cup.
10. Koppi Roasters
This one is a bit of a stretch, but while you’re in Copenhagen, you might as well take the train 40 minutes north to Helsingør, then make the short ferry ride across to Helsingborg to visit Koppi Roasters. I very sadly did not have time to do so myself this time around, but if it’s anything like their pop-up shop in Stockholm, it’ll be completely worth the trip. Koppi are highly respected and served at some of the finest coffee bars in Scandinavia, and the journey to visit them from Copenhagen is reportedly very beautiful.