In Norway we truly want the summer to last as long as possible. That’s why coffee shops serve iced coffee from April until October, even though the weather isn’t really optimal until the end of May until late August. Like in all major Scandinavian cities there’s a coffee shop on every corner in Oslo. We have the full spectrum represented, from the larger chains to some of the best specialty coffee shops in the world. These are some of my favorite coffee shops, which serve the best iced coffees in Oslo.
Tim Wendelboe espresso bar and roastery located in Grüners gate 1 at Grünerløkka is an institution and a destination for coffee lovers from all over the world. Few, if any, baristas have managed to build a personal brand to the scale of what Tim Wendelboe has done. His current project of creating his own coffee farm in Colombia, Finca el Suelo, was even reported by eater.com. In fact, Tim Wendelboe was the initial inspiration to my love for coffee and might even have helped escalate my interest for the food scene.
The iced coffee menu at Tim Wendelboe consists of three classics. Usually, you will find a simple, slightly sweetened iced black coffee ready to be served from a bottle, the star anise-infused Anisetta and the creamy, cool Cappuccino Al Freddo served in a Martini glass. My all-time favorite was called 0% Irish, but that hasn’t been on the menu for some years. Although the style of Tim Wendelboe’s iced coffees is the same year in and year out, they are still damn good and summer flavors I keep returning to over and over again.
The iced black coffee is coffee brewed to perfection, added about 10-15 grams sugar to balance off the acidity and cooled before serving. The Anisetta, which is my personal favorite, is a double espresso shot, shaken with ice cubes and homemade star anise syrup. It’s poured into a glass and topped with organic whole milk to harmonize the flavors and mouthfeel. The most famous iced coffee drink – the Cappuccino Al Freddo – is made with a double espresso shot, equal amounts of whole organic milk, and two teaspoons of sugar. Mixed with ice cubes and made thick and creamy in a Hamilton milkshake maker, before it’s poured into a cocktail glass and sprinkled with finely ground espresso dust.
To me, Tim Wendelboe represents stability and consistent quality. I’m always impressed that no matter who’s behind the counter there’s never a difference in the finished product. Even when bar manager Stephanie Dawn’s army of Wendelbabes and Wendelbros keeps growing. Each barista must go through a massive amount of training, and I can imagine there’s a culture of uncompromising perfection. Tim Wendelboe’s espresso bar is also famous for not serving any kind of food and having limited seating options. Three Scandinavian vintage chairs inside, a stack of stools that can either serve as tables or extra bum support and a few benches outside, which are pretty damn cold to sit on during winter. That doesn’t seem to put anyone off, though, as the queues are always long. Coffee excellence is the explanation.
Further up the streets of Grünerløkka, you find the coffee bar I probably visit most often in Oslo – Supreme Roastworks. Founded by Magnus Lindskog and Joar Christoffersen in 2007, when they started to roast coffee in an old garage in Torshov. Later on, they got Odd-Steinar Tøllefsen on the team and established a shop. Last year Odd-Steinar won the World Brewer’s Cup in Gothenburg, making him a world champion of coffee brewing. Obviously, these guys make some of the most rockingly awesome iced coffees in Oslo!
Supreme Roastworks is situated just a few blocks from Tim Wendelboe, and the quality and knowledge of the staff is definitely comparable. That’s where the similarities stop, though. Supreme Roastworks can seat a much larger crowd either at tables or along the counter bar or window row, making it a popular meeting spot and café office (coffice). As a result of that, there’s usually more regulars to be seen at Supreme Roastworks than Tim Wendelboe. Although hardcore coffee nerds at heart, Magnus and Odd-Steinar also want to soothe your hunger, with a good selection of sandwiches, müsli and baked goods. Lastly, where Tim prefers the Aeropress for black coffee, Supreme utilizes the V60 and their iced coffees are nothing alike either …
Satans god iskaffe – Damn good iced coffee is the star on the menu and it comes in two versions. Both are made with three parts of V60-brewed Ethiopian or Kenyan coffee. The main variety has one part Rose Lemonade from Fentimans and a slice of lime, while the other variety is made with one part apple juice with raspberry from Knatten apple farm. The former is sparkling and bittersweet, and the latter is flat and slightly more sweet and sour. Supreme Roastworks makes an Espresso Tonic as well. Here, Odd Steinar demonstrates how:
Java & Mocca
The flagship store Java at St. Hanshaugen and its sister shop Mocca in Briskeby are two classics among Oslo’s coffee bars. Historically they are the breeding ground of many of the stars of the Oslo coffee scene today – including the founders of Supreme Roastworks. Java is closer to where I live, but Mocca is pretty much the only coffee bar I’ll visit on the west side of Oslo. Unless I’m having an affogato in the BA53 coffeeshop that is. I chose to feature that particular delicacy in my guide to the best ice creams in Oslo instead of iced coffees. It fits in both guides, though.
Lise Marie Rømo was working on this sunny Saturday. She’s a former Oslo barista champion and always smiling behind the counter. It was perfect iced coffee weather, so I asked her what their specialty iced coffees are. They got all the classic iced coffees you’ll typically find in some other stores as well, like iced latte, shakerato and frappé. I find the iced black coffee more refreshing, though, or even more exciting is the espresso tonic made with Fentimans tonic water. You shouldn’t miss one of the best croissants in town if you stop by this beautiful vintage looking coffee shop. It’s made by Åpent Bakeri but baked fresh in the ovens at Java.
Stockfleths is the only high-quality chain of coffee bars in Oslo. Tim Wendelboe has his background and training from this company, and the same goes for the couple behind Coffeeberry in Sandnes and Stavanger. Stockfleths operates ten stores in total, with seven of them situated in Oslo. The original one is in Lille Grensen and one of the most beautiful stores is in Gamlebyen. Their flagship store is at Prinsens gate in Kvadraturen where they have a laboratory in the basement! That’s where I went to taste their selection of iced coffees.
Stockfleths’ menu bears some similarities to that of Java & Mocca. I tried both the Frappé and the Espresso tonic, and by now it might be obvious that I prefer the more refreshing version without milk. Stockfleths Espresso tonic is made with a double espresso, sugar, ice cubes and Fentimans tonic water. Thus, the acidity and bitterness of the espresso are offset by the sweetness of the tonic. The fizz makes it even more summery and fresh. The coffee beans of choice at Stockfleths is Solberg & Hansen – who also has a coffee bar of their own. Check it out at Mathallen.
What’s your favorite iced coffee in Oslo? Please share in a comment.