Exploring the picturesque city of Copenhagen quickly reveals that it’s a dream destination for coffee enthusiasts. Here, the Nordic or Scandinavian roasting style reigns supreme, referring to high-quality beans that are lightly roasted to bring out optimal flavor in the coffee. Relaxing while sipping and savoring filter coffees and pour-overs feels in tune with the lifestyle in this waterfront city, while each café also offers an array of espresso drinks and delicious pastries. These are just some of many of Copenhagen’s coffee styles, which also include the espresso martini (for example, made with Prolog coffee at the Soho House) or coffee soft serve ice cream and espresso croissants at Andersen & Maillard Coffee Roastery & Bakery.
The city’s delectable cardamom pastries—at Hart Bageri, Juno the Bakery, alice and more—provide the perfect pairing with a freshly brewed cup of black coffee. As Dane Phillip Oliver at La Cabra Coffee Roasters explains, “It’s a big part of the coffee culture here because Denmark has such a rich history with bakeries and baked goods and with the new bakers coming along, they just play so well together. For us bakery and coffee, having them side by side at that level is so important.”
The following world class coffee roasteries and cafes brew up some of the best coffee in the city—and as Oliver suggests, don’t miss the pastries along the way.
At Coffee Collective’s roastery, in the Godthabsvej neighborhood, café goers can view the goings-on behind the scenes while they sip expertly crafted coffees and espressos. Klaus Thomsen started this coffee company in 2007, the year after he won the World Barista Champion. This temple to Nordic roasted coffees has expanded to nine locations including their bakery. Though known throughout the city and around the world for carefully sourced and pristinely roasted beans, Thomsen is resolute in his mission. “Coffee does not need to be that fussy,” he says. Coffee Collective has spent years fostering direct relationships with coffee farmers. “The benefit of having your own shops is you get to go taste the coffees—how they are actually brewed,” adds Thomsen “You get the whole picture of the life of that coffee. Our job here at the roastery and in brewing is to release the full potential of what the farmer has created.”
In the Osterbro neighborhood, a visit to April Coffee Roasters showroom, which opened in 2020, requires some sleuthing. This is an intentional choice by the founder, Patrik Rolf, who wanted to create a coffee experience. Set in the mostly residential neighborhood, at first glance the café and store might look like an interior design gallery. Just inside the doors a sleek Modbar espresso machine sits atop a low counter. There, three choices are offered: espresso, espresso with milk and filter coffee. The seating feels more like a living room than a coffee bar, and is appointed with furniture designed by The House of Finn Juhl. The interior design, with Danish and Japanese influences, provides both a relaxing space to enjoy drinking coffee as well as an ideal setup to display their retail offerings from coffee beans and drip packs to brewing equipment. Their custom brewer is engineered to be an ideal shape for Nordic roast coffees. April also sells a line of utility clothing that has been designed for their staff in the café and roastery—with jackets, trousers, shirts and accessories.
With a location in the Vesterbro Meatpacking District, Prolog Coffee has distinguished themselves as a significant chapter in the Copenhagen coffee story. The original café now faces Hart Bageri, with some of the best pastries in the city including their cardamom croissant and pecan financiers. Opened in 2016 by Sebastian Quistorff and three-time Danish barista champion, Jonas Gehl, the name Prolog refers to something that is always at the beginning and aiming for a goal. They opened a café in Osterbro earlier this year, near Juno the bakery, which also serves Prolog coffees alongside their cardamom buns, cream buns, tarts and slices of lemon cake. Prolog launched a tray collaboration with the Standard Practice, a stackable design made from Scandinavian Douglas fir off-cuts and produced locally in Standard Practice’s Copenhagen workshop. They also sell the Prolog Apron, made with Danish fabric company Kvadrat, that the staff has been wearing in the café since they opened. Quistorff and Gehl plan to open up a new roastery in Frederiksberg next year.
Launched in Aarhus in 2012 by Esben Piper, the Copenhagen location of La Cabra roastery and café are currently in Frederiksberg—but as they move to a larger location coffee enthusiasts will follow. La Cabra’s inner-city Copenhagen location is a collaboration with lifestyle brand Another Aspect, on Møntergade in the heart of Copenhagen’s fashion district. Their goal to create bright and transparent coffee experiences across Denmark has now expanded around the globe with their first international locations in New York City on Lafayette Street in Soho and in Bangkok’s Samphanthawong district plus one coming soon in Muscat. La Cabra coffees are also served at Koffee Mameya’s tasting experience in Tokyo. “We see ourselves as promoting modern Nordic coffee experiences alongside International inputs and influences which comes with the mix of nationality working within our companies,” says Dane Phillip Oliver, while giving a tour of the roastery. “We bring a lot of these different perspectives and meet with that Scandinavian Nordic coffee approach.” In Copengahen, La Cabra coffees are also served at Democratic Coffee, a café on Krystalgade street in Copenhagen University’s library.
After working together at Prolog, Luke Allen asked Nobu Matsui to join him in a new venture. Next to Alle Station they opened HipHop, a tiny café with big dreams. They serve a menu of filter coffees and espresso drinks: americano, piccolo, cortado, flat white, cappuccino and latte. Named for the music genre, HipHop promises attention to detail in the coffee roasts and preparation along with a carefully chosen playlist. “Nobu is the head roaster. He is the sensei and I am the student,” says Allen. “We’ve adopted his approach, that he has developed over ten years of brewing and roasting in Copenhagen. We are pushing into a new Nordic style, focused on light roasted coffee that’s also at optimal development.” A mural by @waltgisli flanks the back wall of the coffee bar with a vibrant interpretation of the world’s most famous mouse, apropos in a city also known for Tivoli Gardens, the whimsical destination that inspired Walt Disney to build amusement parks.
Opened in June in Vesterbro, on Vesterbrograde street, ORSA may be the new kids on the block but they have made their intentions loud and clear. With an Instagram that says, “We just don’t care” and tables that emphatically are labeled “No Fucking Laptops,” you’d think that maybe this is that don’t-bug-us variety of coffee shops. But in reality the light-filled cafe is warm and inviting, fulfilling their goal to create a space where coffee and music meet. The name Orsa is Latin word for initiated or begun. Serving Prolog and a rotating series of featured monthly roasters like Casino Mocca from Budapest and Candycane Coffee in Prague, ORSA also features local artists and started their Public Display of Inspiration series with Gokce Terciogiu who paints with the Turkish art of marbling. They also host a social running club named NORSA with weekly runs that begin and end at the café.