City profile: Gothenburg

In the heart of Scandinavia lies a city pulsing with a unique warmth, defying seemingly hostile winter temperatures. That city is Gothenburg. Positioned on Sweden's western coast, it beckons visitors with its eclectic blend of modernity and old-world charm. For this historic port city, coffee holds a special significance, having flowed through its docks from distant lands for centuries. Today, this maritime legacy has birthed a vibrant coffee culture, with a strong presence of local roasteries that thrive amidst the city's rich history and seafaring traditions.

Besides exploring Gothenburg’s coffee scene, I will be paying a visit to the Nordic Coffee Fest, a brand-new festival with a focus on sustainability, and a project sprung from the minds behind The Barista League, long-time friends of Standart.

As I stepped onto its cobblestone streets on a cold February day, the wind howled with such ferocity that it evoked images of the snow-blanketed landscape depicted on my beloved Moomin cup back home. The Snow Blizzard scene depicts the moment when the wind carries Moomintroll, and he finally has to give in and become part of the blizzard. Much like this vivid moment from Tove Jonssons’s stories, I found myself wind-battered as I ventured to visit the coffee shop, searching for a haven of warmth.

Now, all I needed to keep me going as I dashed around town for a few days was some coffee and brake fluid to slow me down, considering how much caffeine intake one usually has when visiting any coffee gathering. 


Named in homage to the ancient art of alchemy, Alkemisten is where the philosopher's stone takes on a new form—one steeped in the rich, aromatic depths of coffee. The alchemy practiced goes beyond the mere manipulation of beans and water, however. It's a philosophy that permeates every aspect of the coffee shop, from its warm and cozy atmosphere to the connections forged between baristas and customers.

In conversation with owner Kristian Hedborg, I quickly learned that this area is commonly known as Little Balkan, owing to the significant diaspora community residing within its bounds. I guess one cannot escape the ghost of their own heritage!


📍Morgon’s Coffee Roasters


As you step into the embrace of Gothenburg, the first sight to greet you is the stoic presence of its cranes. Standing as silent guardians of the city’s maritime legacy, their towering forms echo the industrious spirit of shipbuilders past. Beneath one of those anchored titans lies a specialty coffee shop called Morgon that brings you as close to the soul of the harbour city as one can.

A significant aspect of their branding ethos derives inspiration from the vivid contrasts and bold stenciled lettering often seen on shipping containers and harbors.

Far from the urban chic neighborhoods, this café draws in both local workers and wanderers alike, offering a moment of charm amidst the industrial landscape of the docks. A must-visit during the summer.




Named after its address, A43 stays true to its roots by keeping things straightforward and transparent. Here, you’ll find coffee simply yet expertly made, served in a space that reflects the clean lines and raw materials of brutalist architecture and a simple typeface logo.

Located near the city library, many students and remote workers find their way to A43, to pause from their busy schedules and enjoy a moment of tranquility over a freshly brewed cup of coffee—one that's as honest as the space itself.


📍Viktor’s Kaffe


For 12 years now, Viktor’s Kaffe has been a central place where both locals and tourists come to indulge in fika—the famous Swedish coffee break. Nibbling on a delicious pastry with a macchiato, I found myself analyzing the interior of the space, overcome with interest.

What one notices is the absence of flashy decor—no paintings adorn the walls, allowing the raw beauty of the space to shine through. Warm colours and flickering candles create an atmosphere of peace, inviting you to unwind and savour the moment. The ambiance is a delightful fusion of mid-century aesthetics and school-style furniture, evoking a nostalgic charm that welcomes patrons to linger.

As I cast my gaze downwards, the Persian-style rug beneath my feet serves as a symbolic invitation to patrons, inviting them to settle in, take their time, and enjoy good conversation. A glance upwards reveals several downward-facing paintings of perfect blue skies hanging from the ceiling like stand-in skylights—a reminder that no matter where you are, in the right mood you can take good weather with you, even on a cold, grey day in Gothenburg.


📍Da Matteo


The name of this coffee shop goes back to its owner, Matt, who earned this nickname during his time in Italy when locals found his name difficult to pronounce.

Upon returning home, he opened up the first Da Matteo coffee shop in his own house. Two decades later, it has blossomed into one of the city's most renowned coffee establishments, playing a pivotal role in pioneering espresso culture in Gothenburg, and branching out into coffee roasting, sourdough baking, and four more locations across the city.

While the place is influenced by Italian coffee culture, it is uniquely Swedish, reflecting the nation’s love for experimentation. Italians hold fast to their cherished traditions, particularly evident in their preference for traditional espresso-style drinks, while Swedes more readily embrace experimentation, and so Da Matteo’s offering includes a diverse selection of pour-overs, cold brews, and unique pastries for visitors to enjoy.





Located in iconic Haga, a district of Gothenburg renowned for its picturesque wooden houses and 19th-century architecture, Kaffelabbet is a place where you can enjoy a coffee and also pick up brewing equipment and beans to enjoy at home.

Since 2015, they’ve been bringing the city the finest coffee from Sweden’s top micro-roasteries, but you can also discover an extensive array of coffee roasted by neighbouring Nordic countries, known as some of the world’s most enthusiastic coffee consumers, year after year.

While talking with John Jern from Kaffelabbet, I quickly learned how the ’90s Italian espresso wave swept through Sweden, so the filtered coffee tradition gracefully intermingled with the newfound allure of Italian espresso, marking a significant evolution in Swedish coffee culture.  So if you’re planning to meander through Haga’s streets on a shopping adventure for gifts, treat yourself to a coffee pit stop here.