Archive

Scandinavia

Recently, I reposted an interview I did with Klaus Thomsen, previous World Barista Champion and co-founder of the Coffee Collective. Since then I’ve been out there and experienced their coffee first-hand. The Coffee Collective have three locations: Jægersbrogade, Torvehallerne and Godthåbsvej, and supply coffee roasted in the latter property to a number of locations in Denmark and Sweden. I visited all three.

Jægersbrogade
This was the Coffee Collective’s first shop, and the first roaster is here too. The set up is a bit bizarre to start with: no bar. This means there’s no barrier between you and the barista. In some ways, this is a great idea as it improves accessibility and makes the coffee brewing supertransparent. If you choose to, you can stand and watch your aeropress being prepared. It also feels slightly unusual to not have the traditional boundary between server and customer that a bar brings, though I imagine it helps to make best use of the space. Jægersbrogade is in the middle of the up-and-coming Nørrebro area, a mix of arty types and cheap rents makes it the Hoxton of Copenhagen.

For coffee, I tried the Esmerelda two ways. The Esmerelda is a limited run coffee, often cited as ‘the best in the world’ – which is rubbish – but it is a very nice coffee. It was available in Aeropress and Espro-press. The espro-press is a type of french press that has a metal mesh in it for enhanced filtration, avoiding much of the nasty sludge that cafetieres are prone to getting. The Esmerelda as produced by Coffee Collective is very tasty, and really different from the Tim Wendelboe variant of the same coffee, but still maintains the clean qualities of the coffee. I wasn’t able to taste the differences between the espro-press and aeropress versions, so I did wonder why it was on the menu in both forms, but maybe someone else could taste something I couldn’t.

Torvehallerne
The Coffee Collective’s most central location is in Torvehallerne; an indoor market somewhat akin to Borough market in London, but more sheened and less rugged. It’s worth going here even if it didn’t have a great coffee shop. Fortunately, it has another Coffee Collective outlet, which is a bar decked out with a series of kalita pourovers and a custom-made espresso machine. Behind the bar is a world map that outlines where each of the coffees they are brewing can be found. Superb idea, and develops the theme of transparency that the Coffee Collective holds dear, especially with regards to its relations with farmers in coffee-producing countries.

Here has a limited amount of coffees, presumably to simplify matters for the baristas at Coffee Collective’s busiest location. But the quality is maintained, even in this atmosphere, and I found that the engagement was good for what is arguably the closest to the ‘fast food’ model of coffee preparation of all Coffee Collective’s outlets. Torvehallarne is, without doubt, the easiest to get to what tourists and a great place to go for a morning of wandering around taking a look at Denmark’s food offerings.

Godthåbsvej
This is the newest of the Coffee Collective’s locations and houses the roastery, as well as more space for offices (?) etc. It possibly wins the award for longest bar:stuff ratio with a really minimalistic attitude towards coffee equipment. Despite this, a selection of brewing equipment, a Strada espresso machine and a Marco uber boiler shows that Godthåbsvej really means business. It also has the largest selection of coffees, with some you won’t find in the other shops. I tried four, which will be simplified into the following format:

Kieni – Kenya – Aeropress. A rare mix of sugariness and fruity acidity. Both a beautiful example of a Kenyan coffee and also an individual mix of its own. The coffee the staff seemed most enthused over.
Yukro – Ethiopia – Aeropress. A very subtle kind of sweetness, with a good mouthfeel, but not as interesting as the Kenyans.
Finca Vista Hermosa – Guatemala – Espropress. A well-rounded cup, a little spice, a little brightness and a chocolatey aftertaste. I think the espropress suited this coffee, though being unfamiliar with the brew method, I’d like to experiment more.
Gichathaini – Kenya – Kalita. Poetry in a cup. Like drinking parma violets, with a touch of acidity and a silky mouthfeel.

If you’re not sure what to get, they do a cupping experience for 100kr (£10), in which you get talked through all the coffees with the barista. The barista will, regardless, bring the coffee to your table and tell you the story of where the coffee has come from. This is a great touch that I would have enjoyed in Jægersbrogade too. I heard the Godthåbsvej shop described as ‘intimidating’ in its size, which I can understand, but it also conveys the seriousness of what it’s doing. There is a glass wall separating customers from the roastery, which enhances the transparency. Clearly a lot of thought has been put into space here, and it has had fewer constraints than the other two shops. It’s a bit out of the way in Frederiksberg, but a bus stop serves it and F’berg is a lovely area of town to spend the day.

Notes
The Coffee Collective
@coffeecollectif

Advertisements

Malmö is not the kind of place you’d expect to find first-rate coffee. The streets are modern, but quiet. The ‘old town’ has a regal architecture that hides what is actually a very vibrant coffee culture. It has undoubtedly benefited from proximity to Copenhagen, across the new bridge, but Malmö also has an individuality to it. Djäkne is a great example of the clean, spacious feel of Malmö. It has functionalist, but stylish design with an emphasis on huge spaces. This was especially evident when I arrived as the shop was next to empty.

A long bar holds behind it a Marzocco and pourover is available for the more filter-minded drinker. Djäkne offers traditional continental foods, such as pastries and muesli, but the menu is compact. Behind the bar they have a selection of their favourite roasters, Koppi, Coffee Collective, as well as some more local roasters. But these are just for display. The coffee they provide is from a local roastery in Malmö called Lilla Kafferosteriet, though they also occasionally have guests on.

The coffee I tried was a Kenyan, from the Kianjiru plantation. It was well crafted through V60, and I found it to be complex. The primary notes I found were chocolate orange with a small  acidity:brightness ratio. This made it incredibly easy to drink and, whilst I would have liked more body, I daresay that is merely personal preference.

I seriously recommend this, especially if you are on a flying visit through Malmö as I was. It’s very central and you can see a lot of the old town on the way from the station. It’s also got free wifi (a godsend, and a little less common in Scandi than the UK) and some cool music as well.

Notes
Djäkne (swedish)
@djakne
Lilla Kafferosteriet

There’s a real trend at the moment towards guesting international roasters. Coffee shops across London are showcasing coffees from all across the world next to their standard roasters. And they definitely should be providing this, as some great coffee is being roasted outside of the UK and it would otherwise be difficult to get hold of without the coffee shops acting as importers. What has really been a hit is the best of the Scandinavian roasters. The culture in Scandinavia is strong, and these countries have a great modernising attitude towards speciality coffee. Previously I have taken a look at the Coffee Collective, from Denmark, this time I was able to taste some Koppi.

 

Koppi was founded by two Swedish barista champs, Anne Lunell and Charles Nystrand, and is one of the pillars of Scandinavian coffee. The coffee I tried, a Honduras Los Pinos, prepared by the top baristas at Store Street espresso, was a great example of filter I have tried before from Koppi. A characteristically fresh and clean flavour, more towards the dry fruit flavour, this coffee was very subtle and light on the tongue (previous Koppis I’ve had have struck me as apple-y). It left me with the distinct aftertaste of a grassy field. The taste is consistent through the cup, and did not change greatly as it cools. As a gross generalisation, I would say that this coffee is quite indicative of a Scandinavian feel: light and nuanced, resulting from a tendency towards fully washed beans.

Notes
Koppi
@koppi_anne
Store Street Espresso
@storestespresso