I have outed myself multiple times as an avid coffee house guest and think of myself as coffee house expert. I think I have been to almost every café here in downtown Reykjavík and therefore have lots of opinions about the coffee and cake business. Almost no day goes by that I don't pop into my café of choice and get myself a caffè latte and a snack. I just love my coffee and I simply need this little ritual. And since new cafés open all the time in Reykjavík I have plenty of testing, judging and exploring to do.
I've claimed it many times before: Reykjavík has the best coffee I've ever had so far. And believe me, I do give other countries a chance, wherever I go I check out cafés and basically drink myself from latte to latte.
So you get the idea, I'm a passionate coffee worshiper.
In the past years, the price for coffee has risen quite a bit, much to my dismay. Just recently, Icelandic news website DV.is tested coffee in different restaurants and cafés all over town and the result was that the cheapest single shot of Espresso is to be found at a place called Prikið. But is it also the best coffee?
Fair enough, the price is not unimportant, but what I find way more important is the taste of the coffee.
Of course it also matters whether you buy your coffee in a fancy restaurant or just a simple bar, so naturally prices differ quite a lot. But let's say you sit down in a cozy café somewhere in the center of Reykjavík, you will normally have to pay something between ISK 350 (USD 3.05, EUR 2.26) - ISK 650 (USD 5.23, EUR 3.78) for a proper caffè latte.
When ordering yourself a nice, chunky slice of cake you might have to pay up to ISK 1000 (USD 8.72, EUR 6.44) but those slices are usually well proportioned.
The other day I went to a coffeehouse close to the city hall, a place I usually don't visit because it is not by my usual route, but which I like for its cozy interior. I ordered a single caffè latte and a slice of chocolate cake and had the shock of my life: I had to pay ISK 1700 (USD 14.28, EUR 10.95) for that. To some this might not sound like a high price, but for Reykjavík it is. Had the slice of cake been huge and juicy I wouldn't have complained about its cost of ISK 1100 (USD 9.95, EUR 7.09) but it was, in fact, ridiculously tiny. The barista even told me this was the worst day to buy cake as it was a Sunday. Great. But he still charged me full price for that pathetic, little slice of totally ordinary chocolate cake. By Reykjavík standards, ISK 1700 for a mediocre latte and a really small slice of cake is absolutely scandalous. Daylight robbery! I sure as hell won't go back to that place.
A lot of people told me they thought it was because of the tourism boom and that shop owners were just trying to rip them off. And granted, the masses of tourists visiting the capital these days are surely not aware of how much things like dining and drinking out in Iceland cost and just pay the prices in good faith.
Unless you are in an establishment specializing in coffee drinks you shouldn't have to pay more than ISK 600 for a caffè latte.
I really seem to worked myself up on that coffee issue. I might have had a little too much caffeine today...
Katharina Hauptmann – [email protected]