Since the early 1990s, the coffee scene in Oslo has turned from a few specialist shops and niche roasters to a dedicated and city-wide passion for the brew. The Nordic countries roast their beans lighter than anywhere else in the world, and Oslo is where the very lightest roasts and most subtle blends are found. Most of the coffee in Oslo is filtered or made in a stove-top kettle and then consumed black - sort kaffe - usually without sugar. ‘Oslo coffee is very fragrant, bright and sweet,’ explains world champion roaster and barista Tim Wendelboe. ‘It is often fruity in flavour and naturally sweet with low bitterness.’
Every year, competitions and awards for the best roasters and the most skilled baristas focus the spotlight on the city’s coffee culture. Names such as Solberg & Hansen, Supreme Roastworks and Kaffa are among some of the city’s best roasteries; you can find their coffee in cafés throughout Oslo, and many eateries now have their own in-house roastery.
Renowned coffee roaster Tim Wendelboe has won countless awards for his coffee, and his tiny, charming café is understandably popular. Working on such a small scale means the quality of the coffee here is exemplary and each cup is a treat for the senses. The roasting machine takes pride of place at the front of the shop, while the service counter at the back has a couple of stools to perch on while you enjoy a cup of his signature-blend brew. During the summer months, don’t miss the creamy and cold cappuccino al freddo, invented by Wendelboe in 2007.
Tim Wendelboe, Grünersgate 1, 0552 Oslo, +47 4000 4062
With its 1970s Nordic décor and special atmosphere, Fuglen is one of the most stylish cafés in Oslo. It stocks a range of blends, some from local roasters such as Tim Wendelboe and Supreme Roastworks. The house espresso uses Guatemalan single-origin beans and a coffee of the day is always offered. Also recommended is the chai latte, made using Fuglen’s own recipe.
Fuglen, Universitetsgata 2, 0164 Oslo, +47 2220 0880
A true neighbourhood café, Java is owned by roaster and barista champion Robert Thoresen. The beautiful green and white tiled décor is dominated by a striking wooden bar and naturally, the coffee is also outstanding. The best beans are from the café’s sister roastery Kaffa, and the coffee is brewed to order on a drip cone or syphon – specialist equipment is important here. Order a pastry supplied by the popular Avent Bakeri and on a warm day, take a pavement seat and settle in to watch the world go by.
Java, Ullevålsveien 47, 0171 Oslo, +47 2246 0800
One of the oldest coffee houses in Oslo, this branch of Stockfleths – there are several around the city – was established in 1895 and is a local favourite. The owners are passionate about coffee and the brewing here is among some of the best in Oslo: the baristas are famous for the distinctive way in which they prepare each cup – which has come to be known as ‘the Stockfleths move’ – adding to the theatre of this classic coffee destination. Don’t miss the cortado, one of the few coffees in Oslo that is served with plenty of milk. Cosy and quirky inside, Stockfleths has ample outdoor seating in the summer.
Stockfleths, Karl Johans gate 25/Lillegrensen, 0159 Oslo, +47 4009 2361