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!?