Monthly Archives: April 2014

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

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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