A website launched on Friday announcing a new company that plans to export Scandinavian coffee culture to a city near you. Simply named “Scandinavian Coffee House” the company is opening its flagship store and head office in Ålesund, Norway—the town where I attended a coffee and chocolate pairing last fall. There are already plans to open stores in New York and Tokyo this year, while also searching for franchise partners in the Middle East, China and India.
The SCH brand has built itself upon the great pillars of Scandinavian life, which include design, nature, heritage and coffee. With the coffee aspect focusing on the very small percentage of very well regarded coffee that you can find here. They have partnered with Robert Thoresen—the owner of Kaffa roastery in Oslo and the very first World Barista Champion—to select and roast coffee under the SCH label.
The SCH website, which is quite beautiful, talks about seasonal coffee, the importance of their roast style and their commitment to brewing each drink individually. In many ways, this seems like the first attempt to launch a coffee chain built on progressive coffee ideals (as opposed to a progressive shop becoming a chain).
If they can stay true to their core principles and maintain quality control, this seems like a great way to reach a broader market of the coffee drinking public. My biggest concern would be how they maintain quality control and freshness of the roasted coffee that’s being shipped to places far from Norway—like Tokyo and India. Will there be a roasting facility and trained roaster included with each new franchise?
The website is currently just a teaser, with no real photos of their cafés (since they’ve yet to open), but it has definitely grabbed my attention. The website itself is one of the nicer ones you’ll come across in the coffee world, the samples of their custom furniture look fantastic, and the photos of nature remind me why I moved to Sweden.
However, after spending time reading through all the content, I’m left wondering why SCH isn’t focusing on spreading the joy of Scandinavian coffee within Scandinavia. While we are spoiled here with roasters like Kaffa, Tim Wendelboe, Koppi, da Matteo, Coffee Collective, among others—majority of the coffee served in a traditional Nordic coffee house is not what I would like to have representing my heritage.
It’s wonderful that they want to share the incredible aspects of Scandinavia with the rest of the world, but sometimes I think people should have to come here to experience it. After all, that’s what adventure is all about.