If you’re a roaster or aspiring roaster, one of the best roaster events in Europe will be taking place in Stockholm this October. The Nordic Roaster Forum is an intimate educational experience to further the knowledge and skill of specialty coffee roasters.
I attended last year to help with the event and the cuppings, lectures and parties were all fantastic experiences. You can watch the videos from last year forum on Vimeo
Nordic Roaster Forum is a 2-day seminar where 65 roasters will gather to learn about varietals, processing, sourcing, trading and roasting. The program is a mix of lectures, cuppings, dialogue and social networking. Farmers from producing countries will speak about the coffee and the trade from their perspective. Roasters will reflect and talk about their approach. We will cup the coffees processed by these farmers and roasted by the roasters.
For more information and registration, visit Nordic Barista Cup.
Earlier this week I wrote about the “Roaster Collection” bags, inspired by coffee roasters, but the “coffee roaster pant” is a true collaboration with one. Blue Highway, founded by two Swedish brothers who are both denim craftsmen and historians, teamed up with Stockholm-based specialty roasters Johan & Nyström to develop the perfect work pant for long days and hard wear at the roastery.
Beginning the project, Blue Highway visited the roastery to size up the employees who would be wearing them and learn about the work done around the roastery to better design for their intended environment. The project was born out of a mutual love of craft and quality in each respective field. Blue Highway drinks coffee while making jeans and J&N wear jeans while roasting coffee—it was divine providence that they work together.
Johan & Nyström has a number of 15 employees working at the roastery, and the idea of allowing them to work in custom made denim pant inspired by the old times came up when we got in contact with them because we had the idea of carrying good coffee at Unionville, for those interested in having a talk and sitting down for a cup. So we thought it would be a great idea to build a bridge between the quality thinking between their enthusiasm behind coffee, and our for the love of good denim. So me and my brother of Blue Highway sat down with the mission to create a pair of work pants suitable to wear during the everyday work preformed by a coffee roaster. –Blue Highway
The resulting product is a classic 1940′s inspired work pant that’s meant to hold up to long days manning a Probat, lifting burlap, and packing and unpacking coffee.
About the design features; the main object was to create a pair of work jeans that’s suitable to wear for long days and hard wear. So we decided to use a thick 14oz redline right hand twill with a deep indigo color. A fabric that’s durable and which will wear out nicely with time, and also its of the same type used in work clothes in USA around the middle of the last century.
The fit is a high rise with a wider leg, a true 40s style, much like early dungarees. We constructed the pants using one type of copper coloured thread and at some places we decided to use triple needle seams for more durability. Although this is not made using a triple needle chainstitch machine, we did it using our one needle lockstitch. It sure took some time but we felt very pleased with the result. The back pocket design is made inspired by an old French workwear design from the 40s, wear the side of the backpocket is fastened in the sideseem. This allows the wearer to have easy access to the backpocket, even if you are carrying tools seated down. One of the detail was to turn the yoke seam downwards instead of upwards which is the more common, this will allow your hand to slip down more easy in the backpockets, without a edge that could be annoying. –Blue Highway
Although Swedes didn’t invent jeans (they did invent the zipper), their passion for quality denim is unrivaled. Sweden is home to many leading jean companies, including Acne, Nudie, Cheap Monday and Denim Demon—so it’s fitting that Sweden’s leading coffee companies are making friends with some of them. For about 3000SEK ($440) you can have your own custom pair of Blue Highway’s made at their shop Unionville in Stockholm—or stop in and enjoy a coffee while getting an old pair patched up.
Read more about the collaboration on Unionville.
The first place I visited when I arrived in Stockholm, was the Johan & Nyström (J&N) concept store. J&N is the largest roaster in Sweden, which shows in the slick refinement of its flagship store. I showed up expecting to see a siphon demo, but the store was packed so (I assume) it was postponed to address the flow of customers. I began talking with Kalle about the Trifecta and his thoughts about it before ordering a cup of Hacienda La Esmerelda—as always it was sweet, juicy, and superb.
Kalle also prepared an AeroPress of the Kenya Kangunu, which I’d later try as espresso as well. The Kenyan was solid, but it’s incredible how much its flavors were dulled beside the Hacienda. As an espresso though, the Kenyan really shined. It was a bit tart, but still smooth and extremely juicy, like an electrically charged shot of black currant juice.
I decided to grab a couple bags to take home—an Ethiopian Harrar and a bag of natural processed El Salvador that is quite remarkable. As I was about to leave, they let me know they were preparing a cupping and suggested I stick around if I had time. Who could say no to that? The cupping wasn’t anything official, just of a hands-on demo for the public, but they’re always fun to take part in.
The cupping was called “The Coffee Belt” and took us around the world with 9 different origins—Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Jamaica, El Salvador, Brasil, Sumatra, Papa New Guinea, and Malabar. While it may seem a bit overwhelming, it was a great way to really experience the unique taste of each origin.
J&N may be a large company, but the quality of the coffee is still good and the baristas were some of the friendliest I’ve met. The concept store is as much a classroom as it is a coffee shop and they really make you feel welcome. However, when I got home I noticed that my bag of Harrar had two dates on it, “roasted on” and “expires on,” which was 10 months later! I took this as a sad reality of the company’s corporate growth.
Between all the coffee tasting, one must eat—but most people know that good food and good coffee are hard to find under the same roof. However, a couple Antipodeans have done a hell of a job combining the two at Kura Café, near Vasaparken. They specialize in “super salads” and fresh, healthy soups & sandwiches. I ordered a Gibralta, made with da Matteo on a La Marzocco, while I waited for my food. They don’t offer drip coffee here, but they can pull espresso well enough to compliment their fantastic lunches.
The last place I stopped before leaving Stockholm, was suggested by the guys at Kura and it didn’t disappoint. Snickarbacken 7 is a small coffee bar set-up in the front of an art gallery, hidden in an alley. There was a range of offerings from Tim Wendelboe, daMatteo, Love Coffee, and even some Intelligentsia. I didn’t get to stay as long as I’d have liked, but I shared a couple shots and some conversation with one of the partners.
During my stay, I also stopped by Coffice, a coworking space that serves da Matteo, but only looked around out of curiosity. I also planned to visit Cupcake STHLM, which serves Love Coffee, but I couldn’t fit it in this time around. Stockholm has a large scene, but most of the better shops serve da Matteo or J&N, so I focused on visiting the source instead of each shop that uses quality roasters.
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Stockholm is the capital and largest city in Sweden, it also has the largest coffee scene. Of all the cities I’ve been to in Scandinavia, only Oslo rivals Stockholm for the number of quality coffee shops. However, most of them serve coffee from just a few of the same roasters. One of the newest roasters in town, Drop Coffee, currently only roasts enough to meet the demand of their shop at Mariatorget in Södermalm.
The space doesn’t look huge when you first enter, but it stretches back past the roaster to provide extra seating in a cozy alcove. I was fortunate to meet both owners—Oskar and Erik—during my visit, who were more than happy to talk about their love of coffee, their roaster, as well as the inspiration they draw from US companies like Stumptown. They’ve been roasting on their own for less than a year, but they’ve already begun building relationships with farmers and believe in paying fair prices for quality coffee.
I sampled a cup of the Brasil Villa Borghesi Daterra as well as a Kenya Ruthagati, which were both keenly brewed on the pour-over bar. While the newest barista, hailing from Tim Wendelboe’s in Oslo, served up a shot of their Winter Espresso that was soft, smooth, and packed with peaches & cream. As I was leaving, Oskar sent me on my way with a bag of Honduras Montana Verde that I’ve been enjoying all this week.
Drop is temporarily roasting on a 1kilo electric Giesen while their gas lines are properly installed, but it hasn’t prevented them from offering a quality product. I can’t wait to see how much things improve once they’ve got a more consistent energy supply.
Check out a video of Drop Coffee in action on SVT Rapport.
Drop Coffee – Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 10
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