One of the most important tools for surviving a conference is coffee. Strictly speaking it’s caffeine, but that always translates into coffee for mathematicians. This is why conferences usually provide default coffee during breaks. However, default coffee is not good for your stomach/soul/brain so you owe it to yourself to get a good cup of coffee every now and then.
In the US you can always count on Starbucks to get decent coffee, and they seem to be everywhere, but I like going somewhere new for coffee. RANDOM last year was in Princeton, and it didn’t take long to figure out that Small World Coffee was the coffee place of choice. I wished someone had told me beforehand so I wouldn’t have wasted any time. Ideally this should be a part of the conference materials, perhaps even in the call for papers.
Now that ICALP is coming up I thought I’d give detailed directions for good coffee. The conference is in Reykjavík University which happens to be right next to Kringlan shopping center. Kaffitár has a small café inside the shopping center, which serves ridiculously good coffee. To get to the café just enter the shopping center opposite from RU and walk to the opposite end of the mall (don’t worry, it’s a big mall, but not US-big), take the escalator to the first floor and the café is at the bottom of the escalator. Once you’re there you can’t miss it. Te og Kaffi is also in RU, but I’ve never been there and I’m a bigger fan of Kaffitár. In any case you can’t go wrong with either one of these places. They take coffee very seriously, both have had silver medalists in the World Barista Championships, can you see that happening at Starbucks?