No Cure Any More part 2

So, the saga of Kura could’ve continued. Instead I am sad to write these notes.

El banda del Jönsson

This saturday, the 12th of July (ironically the day before my daughter was born), was the last day of service for Kura at their new location. It was a small shock throughout the community that Kura was folding, since they were the beginning point of something Stockholm had never seen before.

When Da Matteo opened up in Stockholm back in 2012, it was clear I wasn’t going to be onboard the Kura ship. Nevertheless, the guys came and hatched great plans for their new space, fueled by coffee I served them. Evesdropping made it all sound very exciting, though I have to admit I never truly understood the idea of opening in a food court. In retrospective, people will always say they thought this and that, so I’m not going to say I saw it coming. I didn’t, and I certainly didn’t hope for it to end.

K25

It was decided just before opening that they were going with roaster David Haugaard instead of Da Matteo, which on a professional level disappointed me (naturally), but on a personal level saw a really great Australasian espresso crafted that I appreciated a lot. They also slimlined the tea selection somewhat, but instead offered V60′s of some of Davids fine offerings. The food offered were a 2.0 selection of what was the staple Kura menu; super salads and amazing toasts. It fitted the profile of this self proclaimed high end food court, with some of Stockholms most hyped up brands in the same room.

bespoke machine

Things started to look suspicious already on the opening night. Half an hour before opening, Kura still had no electricity. Things like these are maybe what happens when things are stressful and last minute, but it turned out it was symptomatic for the whole food court. On a personal note, I looked around the whole food court for vegetarian options. Not much was on offer, but since Kura are famous for their salads, I wasn’t too worried. My concern though was that opposite Kura was a famous burger joint, with vegetarian burgers on offer at their other store. In this space though, their only vegetarian option was salads. Details like these makes you think of the administration and organisation not being that well thought through or communicated.

cymon

Swedes are a funny bunch. The idea of offering some of the more interesting concepts under one roof sounds like a brilliant plan in most cities. Sweden, not so much. They tend to go for well known concepts, thus leaving Kura and other independant brands unexplored for quite some time. So you have the burger joint, the sushi place and the dumpling hangout jam packed, as in every other place they already have. At best you’ll grab “Stockholms finest coffee” on the way out. The foodcourt itself, K25, didn’t do any advertising or help out with promoting breakfast deals, since the majority of places mostly catered for the lunch crowd. Again, poor communication and administration on behalf of the strata that is supposed to lift the place altogether.

These are all my own analyzes of the situation from what was obvious to anyone walking into the space, knowing coffee and café environments. I guess when people realized what gem was hidden in there food wise, it was already too late. When wanting to get out of the contract, the strata would not tolerate just anyone taking over, but were picky in picking the next tennant. Thus Kura had to endure a long search to find their own right replacement. I can only say that the new owners will most likely be tennants that are familiar with the owners of the K25, and that after Kura there will be several more independants dropping off shortly. The foodcourt itself already has lost its charm, service is hurting, and walking in between lunch and dinner makes you think of nothing boutique but something very generic and sloppy. I can only think that again, quality doesn’t pay off in Sweden. Not on the high streets anyway. I’m grateful there are still cafés out there who try hard and do a great job. Kura isn’t there anymore, but their legacy lives on and hopefully in time, Swedes will know quality from crap.

NP: City And Colour - Love Don’t Live Here Anymore

Cream of the crops

My friend Christoffer Levak, who was my first contact with coffee in Sweden before I moved back, contacted me regarding an idea he had been working on for a very long time. Christoffer, who’s been working with more upscale market coffees for a while, has a dedication and devotion to Speciality Coffee, and thus wanted to create a platform where Commodity coffee and Speciality could be judged side by side, and clearly show that Speciality has the upper hand among tasters. The idea was something called “Kaffetoppen” (The Top of the Coffees”), where all coffees on the Swedish market would be judged by professional tasters, and scored on a webpage.

The format is rather simple; all coffees are judged blindly, cupped according a score sheet that borrows heavily from the Cup of Excellence and SCAA Q-grader sheets. All coffees will be judged three times before landing on the webpage with a final score, taking off any excess points in either direction and creating an average score. The sheet is not only about coffee quality, but on consumer experience: what does coffee taste like in the cup for someone who just “drinks coffee”? The result is inevitably showing, when you place really dark roasted coffee next to well roasted Speciality coffee with complexity for instance. To make sure it is not too biased, the group is based on tasters rather than coffee minded people. There are chefs and sommeliers together with roasters and baristi, but also just regular people interested in taste.

I see two benefits with this site and group. The first is offering the consumer a “professionals point of view” what good coffee is, as is common with for instance wine and beer in most media today. The second is that the non coffee professionals within the group recieves another level of understanding of a produce that has been treated as a generic product for many years within the restaurants. I’d say, within the group we’re reaching there immediately!

What especially like is the independance of the webpage, not tied to any specific roaster or other agenda than to let the consumer know about tasting experience in the cup. However, hoping to draw sponsorship from for instance web based shops who can use the results in their marketing, and also hoping that roasters see the benefit of participating actively by sending their coffees, rather than us buying whatever is on shelf where we can find it. So far, the support of this project among roasters has been very positive, and I hope this will help spread the format among consumers! Check it out on this webpage, next cupping launching its first final results!

NP: Hellacopters Toys And Flavors

Lanthandeln Espresso

So, this is my new job! For a very long time, I’ve been keeping my train job as something to always rely on, always be the bread and butter of my life, but also the never ending pain and agony of being about everything I am not about. My friend Reggie Elliot worked here before, and did a great job trying to push the envelope of what coffee can be in an environment that isn’t usually blessed with coffee (or any other produce for that matter) focus. Then Reggie moved back to DC to start his new venture, and there was a vacant spot. I thought about it long and hard, was I ready to give up the trains? And I was. Most things negative in my life, I blame the trains for: the working hours, the company policies towards their staff as well as the environment I get to serve people in. I am a peoples person, no doubt, but driving the trains makes you kind of misanthropic since everyone will show you their worst traits in one go. (Writing this just two days after Oscar winner Malik Bendjelloul (famous for the documentary “Searching For Sugar Man”) commited suicide by jumping in front a train on my very home station, I can’t get rid of the thought that it could’ve been me driving that train).

This specific Lanthandeln Espresso is situated within Bonniers Konsthall, an art gallery focused on rather large exhibition with focus on contemporary art, which means it’s a great cultural hub which is right down my alley! The audience here is knowledgable and know what they want, yet rather open minded towards new experiences. Lanthandelns focus is really fresh produce (eggs coming from a very specific farmer, keeping his hens under surveillance on camera, olive oil that one of the chefs participated in creating etc), and great coffee. They’ve chosen to work with Stockholm Roast, which is a local roastery that works intimately with a lot of foodie restaurants in Stockholm and elsewhere. I know Johan and Öner from before, me and Johan  worked for Da Matteo together, so it’s all good fun! Stockholm Roast provides Synesso espresso machines, which to me is the number one espresso machine on the market, and one of my first loves on my coffee journey. The fact that I now work on a Mazzer rober with a dosing chamber is uncanny, closing in the circles of my life (this was the set up when I first started at Ristretto in Perth).

I am also planning on taking on some international coffees to present to Swedes, which will be really exciting. Some of these companies have never been presented to the Swedish public before, but are well known within the industry! More info to come! I’m also very excited about our tea selection brought to us by Swedens number one tea dealer, In The Mood For Tea. Lately, my focus has shifted slightly from coffee to tea, and it’s great excitement to get to work with the best tea available in Sweden!

Lanthandeln Espresso also have a license to serve alcohol, which will make the After Works interesting in the future! Serving some interesting Belgian beers at the moment, as well as some Italian and French wines. I am interested in moving it forward towards some stellar new world wines. We’ll see what the future brings! This is all I can tell you for now, but I am very excited about this! Hope to see you there!

NP: Miles Davis I Fall In Love Too Easily

Back in black

tamp like a champ

This was supposed to be my year away from coffee. Sometimes you get too involved in something, and stop enjoying it. It started pretty bad, with me going to Ethiopia on a coffee trip. Not really staying away from coffee then, was I? Then it was work and no real involvement for a long time. So my idea formed to start writing a book on Swedish Coffee Culture, which I am still in progress of getting written. And then there was the Aeropress Championships, then there was this cupping group that Christofer Levak asked me to join, then I got invited into the focus group for World of Coffee in Gothenburg 2015,  and all of a sudden I was interested in a job that was available. So, I resigned from the Underground, finally, and will start working at Lanthandeln Espresso, a quality based café inside the Bonnier Konsthall in Stockholm.

Today I did a sneaky appearance before my official start on Thursday, and it was all fun and games. But also kind of an eye opener, that I am back on square one, knowledge wise. It’s a challenge, but also kind of a rebirthing for me. A chance to start all over again. With an old school Mazzer grinder, dosing chamber style, and a Synesso, I am back where I started. Pictures will follow.

NP: AC/DC Back In Black

Going South

 

I’ve been in Malmö briefly twice in ten years. When my girlfriend had her two last performances with Fictional Copies  I took the chance to go and see it, and catch up with old friends as well. The cast of Fictional Copies had rented an apartment just a block away from Möllan, which is the more residential yet funky area of Malmö. Right there on the corner of the square was Kaffebaren På Möllan, where we had breakfast everyday. Typical Italian style breakfast with a sandwich, an espresso and a glass of OJ. First morning, I bumped into a long lost mate from Stockholm. It gives you an idea what kind of bar it is, when that happens! They were serving a robusta blend by J&N, but I think one day after I got back to Stockholm, they started serving espresso from Love Coffee Roasters, so that was my bad timing.

Next stop was Djäkne, a coffee bar where my friend Luis works, but he wasn’t in at our first visit. Got served a lovely sandwich and a filter coffee with Suke Qute from Love Coffee. Great stuff. The place was one of the most stylish bars I’ve seen around Scandinavia so far! Djäkne is a multiple roaster venue, which gives both baristi and customers the opportunity to sample some really good stuff from all around Sweden. Djäkne is also a very interesting concept regarding this “coffice” trend we see in Sweden. Here they have introduced an app where you can order your coffee to be picked up at any given time, to save time.

Last time I was in Malmö, I went to Lilla Kafferosteriet, a very charming old place in the heart of the city, two blocks away from Djäkne. This time around, I didn’t have the chance really. But I had a coffee with their roaster Kristian who I find is one of the nicest blokes in coffee! He is also a mean disc golfer! Hope to catch Kristian in Stockholm instead.

Then it was time to see the mighty Dan Stenqvist of Solde. Dan used to (and still very sporadically does) write a blog about coffee that I read a long time ago. Now he, and the rest of the Solde crew, are more about being family- and businessmen, which is only natural after so many years in the industry. Solde has been around as a coffee bar for about 8 years, and they started roasting in 2010. I have to admit that the first couple of times I tried their stuff, I was yet to be impressed. But this time around, their coffee was really on par with some of the best in Sweden. It’s a very non pretentious bar, very sparse with stuff to eat (“You want a sandwich, sure, I’ll make you one..”) but always pumping.  And friendly!

Around the corner from Solde, There is the number one coffee geek place in Malmö, Te- och Kaffehuset. Only a few days earlier, Timmy had beaten me at the first round of the Swedish Aeropress Championships, but due to me travelling south, I missed out on the Swedish Brewers Cup, where Timmy also had competed. So I was lucky to sample some of his coffee roasted by Turun Kahvipaahtimo. And as it was served, owner Samuel stepped into the house and we had a lovely time, all of us and Samuels dog. I love the fact that Te- och Kaffehuset both works as a coffee bar as well as a retailer for all things coffee (and tea).

Going back to Djäkne, I ended up in a friendly disagreement with Jens Brine, owner of Impod, over the latest (fad) grinder EK43. In order to persuade me into getting what’s great with it, he invited me down to his place the following day, which happened to be next door to the Solde Roastery. Jens showed me around at his little workshop, where there were very impressive machinery and prototypes, yet to be presented to the world shortly. We ended up drinking a lot of coffee shots, and though we couldn’t agree all the way, there were very small things to agree to disagree on. In all, a lovely time with a lovely chap! And I got to see the Solde roastery quickly, where Dan had left me some really cool samples. Was too coffeed out to take pictures though.

Malmö seems to me to be a place where coffee in Sweden took off early. There is still a culture around the coffee bar, rather than a hybrid café with great coffee, great food and even great wine/beer on offer that seems to be happening more and more in Stockholm for instance. I appreciate that actually. Especially when on holiday. The rest of Malmö seemed like a charming city, and its people were very friendly. I’d like to come here more often! Thanks to all the lovely coffee peeps for your hospitality and time!

NP: Tom Petty Down South

Copenhagen re-revisited

It’s been almost three long years since I last saw Copenhagen from ground, and since I was in the neighbourhood, I didn’t want to be so close yet miss out. Time was an issue, and the budget too, so we opted for one night in the centre of town at a reasonably priced hotel close to the Central Station (and two blocks away from Mikkeler, which we entered and left in about two minutes due to the fact it was jam packed to the rafters).

Upon arrival in the beautiful, yet slightly chilly spring time, we headed to one of my favorite places, Democratic, however since it was Thursday before Easter, nearly everything was closed or just shutting down. We were meeting up with old friend Josh who would arrive shortly after in the capital, so we opted for The Coffee Collective at Torvehallarne. While waiting, we had pintxos and a lovely tempranillo at the tapas bar, feeling very European as Swedes tend to do when they can drink alcohol in a square without any real restrictions (hell, you can even buy real beer at 7 Eleven in Denmark!).

I have to say that, hands down, The Coffee Collective are my favorite coffee company when it comes to design and lay out. I haven’t yet been to the roastery, but as quirky and charming the Jaegersbrogade location is, the slickness of the Torvehallarne and the packaging, the lay out, the whole shebang, is the most impressive in the whole of Europe in my humble opinion. Very Danish, and very great! The coffee was great too, served an espresso first, and then me and Josh opted for a filter each (a Colombian and a Kenyan, both brewed very well). Again, to test the waters of being European, we chose to balance the coffee with some cava from the outdoor bar. How lovely! Then off for some late lunch at Kafe Europa in town, where you can opt for S&H coffee if you want, but I chose the Tuborg Grön instead!

That night, we had Thai food, and had thought of going to Mikkeler, however the place was packed to the rafters, so we bought some beer from the local supermarket, and went home to the hotel and called it a night. The next morning, we had limited time, so we had a hearty breakfast at the hotel, then went for a walk up towards Nyhavn (where all tourists end up sooner or later), cause I wanted to see if Ved Stranden 10 was open. It was. But even more thrilling was the coffee shop next door that I had never heard about; Coffee Lab. The venue was beautiful, non pretentious and warm but with some cool details that made it hipster worthy as well. I had an espresso of the Amaro Gayo, a coffee that is very dear to me. Needless to say, I was very excited about it!

The rest of the day we strolled around the city, looking at wonderful architecture, great design and had a lovely time. Copenhagen seems, to me anyway, very open and embracing still. We ended up having a glass of red at Ved Stranden 10, this time on the curb where they had made their outdoor serving area. Such a stylish place, yet so free from snobbery. Just the perfect pit stop for a wine enthusiast without getting robbed.

I can see myself live in Copenhagen within a couple of years or so. I’ve fallen in love with the city, and I hope it won’t be too long before I come again!

NP: D.A.D. Sleeping My Day Away

Swedish Aeropress Championships 2014

For the third year in a row, the Swedish Aeropress Championships was organized by Brian Jones of the famous blog Dear Coffee I Love You. First year was at Da Matteo in Gothenburg, and I remember taking the night bus to Gothenburg with Joanna and Simon of Drop Coffee. That year, we saw Emil Eriksson of Love Coffee take home first prize, and I actually got to see him take home third place in the world in Portland. I loved the intensity of that competition, it was so unpretentious; just a bunch of geeks in a room brewing up a storm.

Second year was at Koppi in Helsingborg, and the traveling was too unconvenient for me, so I didn’t participate. That year, a home brewer took first place and represented Sweden in Melbourne.

This year, it was too close for me to miss out, being at J&N at Work in Stockholm. So I opted to join in on the fun. For the last year I’ve been brewing coffee at home on my Moccamaster, and haven’t really cared for alternative brewing methods, so it was a good chance to dust off the old penis pump to play around. I’ve never had much luck with the Able-disk, so I decided to enhance the filter with adding paper to it as well.

hipsters with around the pumps

My method was simple: 17 grams of coffee, rather course (somewhere between metal and paper filter), upside down brewing. Added water to the top without pre-wetting. Stirred properly for the coffee grounds to leave the top and assimilate in the brew. Once settled, I stirred again. And then one more time, but filling up water to the top before that (since degassing the bloom will leave room for more water). No water weighed, no time measured. Freestyle.

judges

Judges Anders and Måns pointed to Timmy’s cup and Joanna pointed at my cup. So, I was out of the game pretty quickly, which I had kind of expected anyway. For me, this competition is a little bit like betting on horse racing. But saying that, we could soon see I was sort of on to something. Third place, John Dester of Kafé Esaias, used not two but three filters. Then the competition was down to first and second place; winner being Oscar Nyman, who used to work for J&N, but now was competing as independant, and runner up Brian Jones of DCILY. Judges said there was a clear distinction between these two cups and the rest, and it turned out they were the only people who sifted their coffees, so I guess it can make quite a difference after all!

Oscar vs Fatima

For me the greatest part was seeing the guys from Da Matteo coming up and representing. Fatima, Gabriella and Patrik were all competing bravely, and have been seen doing so this year earlier, and it excites me that a new generation are still interested in learning through competing, and participating in the community challenges! Great to catch up with people over some boutique beers courtesy of J&N afterwards, and good luck to Oscar in Rimini in a couple of months.

NP: Christopher Cross Ride Like The Wind

 

Trainspotting

Besides coffee, I do have another life. I started as a subway train driver back in 1998, and left in 2003. Then came back to it when I returned to Sweden in 2010, simply because no other work place would have me. Despite the work being very monotonous, it also presents a lot of time on my own, to contemplate and clear my head. One day I will definitely write a book on the Metro system of Stockholm. It’s a very fascinating place, with a plethora of humans from all walks of life. This are some pictures gathered during one day of work. These are my views from under ground where very few Stockholmers set their feet ever.

NP: Johnny Cash I Never Picked Cotton 

No Cure Any More part 1

How do you write about friendships and fond memories without putting them in past tense forever, when in fact this is what is about to happen? It’s hard to describe what Kura has meant for Stockholm coffee, but I will try to describe it from my own angle.

The story is old, but I’ll tell it anyway. In the summer 2010, I arrived to Stockholm pretty much heartbroken over the fact that my own family had decided we needed to move to Sweden. My marriage was in turmoil, it was the worst possible timing to arrive in Stockholm since jobs don’t happen over summer. I felt a depression hitting me hard, and the only light in my clouded mind was Kura Café. I was introduced to Cymon Reid by my then sister-in-law (who would later go on to become a barista at Da Matteo in Gothenburg), and funny enough my then brother-in-law who lived in the same house as Kura. Neither my sister- nor brother in law had any idea Cymon knew the other.

After quickly scouting Stockholm for good coffee, I found that Kura was the only place, besides V Street in the central parts of town (now Mean Coffee), that offered what I thought was a great espresso. This was just around the time when people were talking about the new Scandinavian espresso style; a thinner fruiter/acidic version of espresso, where as I, still to this date, prefer the Australian/American style of espresso with a heavier body and more mouthfilling. This little conclusion lead me to Da Matteo roasters who were the common roaster for Kura and V Street.

My initial contact with Da Matteo was with their sales rep, Johan Ahlgren, who would later take off running Stockholm Roast with partner Öner Kulbay. Together with Cymon we put up the first cupping open for the whole coffee community in Stockholm, where the centre of attention was Nekisse, a big talked up coffee at this time, that I had worked with through Five Senses in Perth, and now was available in Sweden through Da Matteo. At the same time, I had friends from London and Australia over, so there was a bit of an international touch over that night, which was the start, I’d say, of something new! Also around this time, I was running a crappy blog, which reported on various topics picked up on the internet as well as locally in Stockholm, and I think that helped Stockholm a bit to overcome their shyness and check out what was going on!

The harsh reality of Sweden is that it is actually rather easy to get employed, but rather hard to have a career in coffee like in more coffee based countries such as Australia or America. I was hell bent to work in coffee, but not to just any price. So instead of taking up a job at a place I might not like it at, I went back to driving trains in the Stockholm Underground, something I did some seven years prior (and still do). However, I did shifts at Kura to maintain some of my coffee knowledge, and decided that I should compete again in order to really keep myself on my toes.

I met with Christian Gullbrandsson of Da Matteo, and went to Gothenburg for what would be a life changing moment, when meeting Matts Johansson, the owner of Da Matteo. They decided to sponsor me with coffee, and I did most of my training at Kura, but also went to practice in Gothenburg and to hang out with Matts. At this point, I knew that Da Matteo would be the only company I could work with in Sweden, since the philosophy and the product was so linked to what I believed in. Unfortunately, they’re based in Gothenburg.

In order to get feedback from people, I presented the blend Christian had created for me at Kura and at V Street to anyone who wanted to try it. This gave me an opportunity to explain what I was aiming for in the cup, as well as getting some feedback if I had actually succeeded. In the actual competition I ended up in the finals, but not among top 3. I was disappointed to say the least.

I got back to being a hang around in coffee, and made Kura my living room. There were always regulars there to chat with, as well as fellow coffee people both in and outside the industry. One of them named this blog. Another one brought me coffee from his trips to America. The list is long. Probably one of my most exciting moments was learning that my number one favorite artist in Sweden, Tiger Lou, was a regular. When I later started dating my girlfriend, and I met up with her at the train station, I bumped into Tiger Lou and we chatted a bit. Was I a bit proud to reveal who that was to my girlfriend? You bettcha!

I’ve taken numerous people to Kura, friends from overseas, old regulars from Australia, bloggers (and another blogger, and even another blogger) and other coffee people from Europe and America. They’ve all had their first coffee with me at Kura, and breakfast. That hearty breakfast. Or the delicious super salads. Staple food at a Speciality Coffee café would be sourdough bread, soup and salad. Some did it better than others, but Kura took it to another level, where coffee and food was on par with each other, as well as the sweets. When Johan Ahlgren opened Snickarbacken 12, you could see where he got the inspiration (though he did some outstanding things on his own, that are still there years later). It wouldn’t be until Joel Wredlert opened up Kafé Esaias that you could say that Kura had its fair share of competition though.

I think the real success story for Kura was the fact that they were both very friendly, and added quality to the scene never seen before. I’ve seen people from other roasters who I rarely see outside their own crowds, have breakfast regurarly at Kura. In mid-2012 the plans for a new location surfaced. I was one of few aware of this, and involved in the presentation of the plans for what would be the next level of design and service. Many nights at Tiki Room, our regular haunt, professional photo shoots and discussing ideas and influences. I was on the very verge of joining the team fully. As part of Da Matteo, I was willing to actually leave my position there, and go with these guys. By chance, Da Matteo opened up its own pop up store, and I took a leap of faith.

Kura Café on Torsgatan will always be part of me, my own history and my own emotions. Watching these pictures that I have put up in this gallery, leaves me both warm with love, and sad that a small café was my only lifeline at one stage in life. When my daughter was born, we used to watch reruns of that old show, Cheers, and you know the song; “Where everybody knows your name”. That was Kura for me.

NP: Tiger Lou Like My Very Own Blood

The Man In The Mirror, the year that was, 2013

the things that binds us

When I was a kid, I somehow made it up that 13 was my lucky number. 2013 is the only time in history I will live on a year that has 13 in it, so naturally my inner child superstition had its hopes up. And it was a fairly decent start. We had just established the pop up store of Da Matteo, I was living at a friends house in a very upscale area of Stockholm, and was supposed to be there for two years at least.

When summer started creeping in, we realised Da Matteo was counting days, and my friend came back due to complications with his American visa. What was supposed to be a couple of months in summer, and us moving back in very shortly afterwards, turned us eventually homeless. Or at least without a home of our own. My mental health started to show its real self, and I was very quickly hitting the wall while balancing out 40-60 hours of work at Da Matteo, night shifts every other weekend on the trains and on top of that having to find roof over our heads, not only for myself but for a girlfriend, a daughter and a dog as well. The stress finally took its toll, and around midsummer, I took sick leave never to return.

Instead I went to San Francisco and Santa Cruz. The old t-shirt print “Mercenaries Never Die – They Just Go To Hell To Regroup” has been a motto of mine for many years, and though San Francisco was as far away from hell it could get, it was all about myself regrouping. And from California, we returned to Sweden but went up North and had the best summer I’ve had since I was a kid probably. No work, no worries.

Coming back to Stockholm was a little bit like when I got back from Australia in 2010. The inspiration from California, and the realization that this will never materialize here was kind of depressing. Sure there are people in Stockholm doing great things, but they’re suffering since they not only have to recreate themselves all over again, but also have to create the market instead of just feeding it.

Also what I learnt about myself in California is that I know where my taste profile belongs. What I had at Four Barrel and Verve is what I learnt that I appreciated with Da Matteo when I got here in 2010, and that hasn’t changed one bit. It made me aware that my passion lies not in brewing the coffee (hell, I prefer batch brew over V60 any day, even invested in a Moccamaster) but learning more about it from seed to cup (ye olde cliché). Fate took me to Ethiopia in the later part of 2013, and it opened up my eyes towards reality of growing, sourcing and buying coffee. It is a long way to the top, if you want to rock’n’roll. Deal with it! And I will…

I made a deal with myself not to get too involved with coffee for a long period of time. It’s an oath I might have to break eventually, and what I really meant was that I won’t work in coffee publically for a while. I am, to say the least, not that interested in serving coffee to people who needs an explanation ‘what’s so special with this coffee’, or geeks coming up comparing every gram all coffee bars use in every little part of the city. It’s very uninteresting, counter productive and uneducational. By telling people that coffee is made up by numbers, we’re shunning people rather than make ourselves approachable. And that is a culture I am over.

For myself, my own health and sanity, 2014 will be a year focusing on mental balance. I need to take up yoga, meditation and exercise, I have quit drinking and my approach is fueled by a renewed interest in spirituality and the non-divine secular buddhism as well. My other interests, photography, writing and music, must have a more prominent part in my life. But family first! To take that renewed interest in coffee, to the level where it becomes a new awakened passion again, it has to be sustainable, long lasting and an integrated part of my lifestyle. I have plans, let’s hope they will materialize in 2014! See you on the flip side…

NP: Duran Duran Hungry Like The Wolf

disclaimer: found this little blog piece interview I did, speaking of trends in coffee now and in the future. Let’s how soon this will happen, if it will at all!?

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