Friday, December 7, 2007

Copenhagen Espresso Run

visited 29/11/07
I have spent the most amazing days in København. I’ve been treated to an incredible welcome by Klaus and Troels. They told me all the worthy places to visit in town so in my spare time I ran around doing my espresso runs. Here is my take …

The Coffee Collective (Jægersborggade 10) [edited 29/06/08] Is one of the leading and most progressive espresso bars in the world.

Without a question Estate Coffee (Gammel Kongevej 1) is the best espresso bar for quality coffee. They are the only bar in Copenhagen that has a clover. A vast selection of premium single origins is an outstanding way to try something different every day of the week. The clover is tuned nicely, giving maximum flavours into the cup. The espresso was outstanding also, very complex with light acidic and sweet notes and great mouthfeel.

There is much to love about this place especially the coffee, the atmosphere inside is not very welcoming, the staff have been a little distant on few occasions, but if you walk in on the right day you might find your overall experience complete. An absolute must to visit!

Café Europa (Amagertorv 1) stood out also, this café is more about the feel. Old rich heritage of this place really reflects in the interior. The food was fantastic, we had a massive antipasto breakfast with just about everything you could think of on the plate. The coffee was great also and really completed the overall picture. These guys have a very strict theme and are much more serious and professional than Estate. The location is very central so you can't miss it, highly recommend going here. These guys raised 3 out of 4 world barista champions. They are very proud of that fact and display all the trophies above the bar. If you end up going to Europa try their brunch it is outstanding!

Here is a place that deserves a lot of credit for its espresso … Kaffe & Vinyl (Skydebanegade 4) is a cool vintage record shop with a coffee machine. They use estate coffee and pull a double shot every time. The espresso was outstanding. You must make a trip over to them, trust me you will like it.

Risteriet (Studiestræde 36) is a well worthy bar also, they roast their own coffee. The espresso wasn’t all that great unfortunately. Inside the shop you will find the whole range of reg barber tampers so if you are in the market for one, this is the place to see them.

Riccos (Studiestræde 24) – just next door to Risteriet this underground espresso bar doesn’t really offer anything unique but a cool place to go and see, do not have a high expectation to get a decent espresso shot.

Copenhagen espresso run has bee a lot of fun, it is good to see a very high standard of coffee from some of the shops. This is the city that always moves forward and never moves back, it is outstanding to see coffee collective entering the scene, it’s the matter of time before they sign on experienced clients. Unfortunately at this stage there are not many cafes that offer their espresso blend, but like I said its just a matter of time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Denmark - Country of Barista Champions

As many of you know Denmark has had 4 world barista champions, this factor alone immediately indicates a very high standard of coffee quality. I would like to talk about certain barista champions and what they are up to these days ..

It is really good to see that all past barista champions from Denmark are still involved in the coffee industry.

Martin Hildebrandt (Miami, 2001), I had the opportunity to meet one of the pioneers in barista competition world. He is currently busy managing Europa café, which is located in the heart of Copenhagen. An outstanding espresso bar that raised three World Barista Champions.

Fritz Storm (Oslo, 2002) – I didn’t have the opportunity to catch up with Fritz this time, as he doesn’t live in Copenhagen, he is very busy and involved with lots of trade shows and general barista education.

Troels Poulsen (Seattle, 2005) – Very much involved with Kontra coffee today, Troels is in charge of barista education at Kontra coffee. Troels gave me a very detailed tour of europa café, we got to catch up and talk a lot about coffee. I cannot express how genuinely nice he is. After our little europa experience we ended up at Kontra rostery. I must say that the space that they have is amazing. They occupy 2 levels of space. On the first level you will find anything from domestic single group espresso machines to the most professional toys in the coffee business. On that same level; a big probat roster with a nice cupping room at the back of the facility. Downstairs is mostly education with a nice room with a projector screen and seating as well as few different espresso machines (da la corte and la marzocco). Further down the hall you will find a spacious storage facility with spare parts and miscellaneous wares. This rostery is backed by the owners of europa, a very successful roastery. The roastmaster is Michael a very knowledgeable roaster, on top of things a great gentlemen.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting kontra coffee rostery, it is good to see that Troels is heavily involved in the coffee industry and doing to great things in barista education and marketing for Kontra . Kontra it is also a shop; you can easily visit their roasting facility without booking an appointment.

Klaus Thomsen (Berne, 2006) – now part owner of coffee collective coffee rosting company. Him and 3 other guys have joined forces to open a pioneer rostery in copnhagen. They all came from estate coffee so have a very high standard in anything and everything. I can without a doubt say that they are one of leading rosters in the industry. These guys are perfectionists in just about everything that they do, very involved in research. I couldn’t help to compare their philosophies to what Tim Wendelboe’s doing in Oslo. The coffee is fantastic, they are not getting ahead of themselves, they only roast few different coffees and absolutely perfect each and every one! You can see their selection on the website. The other great thing is that they try to use direct trade. They are very active in traveling the world in search of best plantations and keep a blog about their ventures, you must check it out. I received very generous welcome from Klaus and the crew. If you are in town in the neat future, you must check this place out as it offers an unforgettable and rewarding experience. As you know we did water cupping at the rostery, feel free to check out my previous post

This blog turned into my experiences at Coffee Collective and Kontra, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to go to Estate Coffee rostery, but I do hear amazing things about it so if you have time I strongly recommend visiting them too.

Malmö – Sweden Espresso Run

visited 29/11/07

Having spent a lovely afternoon in Helsingborg I was on my way to Malmö which is way south of Sweden. It is roughly 40 minutes away from Copenhagen and the train is connected via a long bridge. Mr Dan Stenqvist was expecting my visit and had already planed out our espresso run for the evening. We went to all worthy espresso bars around town and finished off with a little coffee jam at Solde kaffebar where Dan works. So here is my take on Malmö.

Solde Kaffebar (Regementsgatan 2) was my favourite out of the bunch, we went there last. They employ a very fun, casual approach. Inside there is plenty of space to move around however they keep seating limited, a real traditional corner bar design with high stools. This café changes their house blend once a month. In a way that is a great way to keep regular customers coming back and giving them the opportunity to try different espresso blends and educate their palate. They are very open towards different coffee and do occasionally get traditional Italian blends with robusta portions. The coffee still needs to pass the owners quality examination, so they don’t end up serving complete rubbish for a whole month. I think that this system takes a lot away from the overall consistency of the shop throughout the year, but I will let you make your own mind up. At the end of they year the customers get to vote on which coffee they liked best. Last year David Haugaards blend was the winner, I think they even sent him a trophy.

Right now they are using J&N FTO espresso blend, I am very much familiar with this blend as I got to play around with it few times in Stockholm. I must saw that shots in Malmö tasted completely different; nowhere as good as Stockholm. They are aware of this fact and blame the water I think they need to look into few different filtration systems, perhaps “Water + More” filter would work well.

At the end of the day we had some time to have a little coffee jam and pull some shots, we tried the KOPPI espresso blend that I brought along from Helsingborg. Once again the shots were vastly different. The complex acidity that was very distinct in Helsingbord was hardly noticeable. Again, water is an easy target to blame here.

Lilla Kafferosteriet (Baltzarsgatan 24a) – a very interesting concept espresso bar with a micro-rostery. They are the only espresso bar with a 3 group synesso machine in the whole of Sweden. They also have a very dirty probat roaster, you could see that the cooling trey isn’t cleaned properly as well as various other unclean elements. I want to give theses guys credit for doing what they do as they offer a nice selection of premium single origins and 2 espresso blends. The shots that Dan and I got were extremely hot and burnt my tongue. That machine needs proper temperature tuning! There is absolutely no point having a synesso running at such high temperature. The shots were too hot so that might have been one of the main factors that took away from the overall taste. I found the espresso blend very boring without any striking features.

Te & kaffehuset ( Fersens väg 16) is a domestic equipment shop with a large selection of different coffees. Their primary market is in selling packed coffee. They also have a GB 5 machine that they use for their café part. A very experimental shop using different extraction methods with different coffee beans. Well worth visiting and having a chat with Mattias Sjöbäck , very enthusiastic and knowledgeable owner.

Nesta (Södergatan 22) – a very well designed espresso bar in a stellar location. This place has a very nice vibe about it. They have the best coffee equipment, however the coffee is very much lacking in just about everything. It has a very heavy dose of robusta. The coffee is imported from Italy so freshness could be an issue also. This is the kinda place where you go with your friends to just sit down and chill, not for the coffee unfortunately.

Malmö is a very interesting town with plenty of quality espresso bars that are very capable of pulling good coffee however at the end of the day espresso part of things didn’t really strike me. The main issue here would have to be the water, I think they have to start looking into water science a little further. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dan for his kind hospitality … thanks man!