The Norwegian Committee of Coffee Enlightenment

Besides endless pages of recipes, the Baltzersen’s now-famous recipe book has revealed a considerable amount of third-party material: mostly leaflets, flyers, and newspaper clippings. Most of them relate to recipes, cooking and ‘how to be a good housewife’ (different times, we know). Socially progressive or not, they provide a historical tale in their own right of social and cultural conditions, not to mention a few laughs.

Norwegian coffee

One of our oddest finds is a small print, listing advice on making coffee (above). The list has been publicly supplied by a mysterious entity signing as Den Norske Komité for Kaffeopplysning, or The Norwegian Committee of Coffee Enlightenment. It reads as follows:

TAKE THIS ADVICE (concerning coffee)!

Regardless of preparation process, there are several universal necessities to bear in mind when making coffee. We’ve therefore compiled the following list:

THE KETTLE MUST BE CLEAN

Old coffee and vestiges will leave a bad, harsh taste – make sure that the kettle, pot or whatever you may be using to prepare your coffee is clean. Any vessel that’s rarely used should be rinsed thoroughly with hot water before being used to serve coffee.

USE CLEAN, FRESH WATER

Water that has been sitting or previously boiled will damage the coffee’s fresh flavour as the water can’t extract the flavour compounds from the coffee to the same degree.

USE CORRECT MEASUREMENTS EVERY TIME

Be exact and consistent in your measurements; remember it’s 7 measures to 1 litre of water.

NEVER LEAVE THE COFFEE BOILING

Leaving the coffee to boil for too long will make the coffee lose the aromatic compounds, making it unpleasantly bitter.

We recommend that you follow these rules, because remember:

When the coffee is good, the coffee does you good.

Sincerely,
The Norwegian Committee of Coffee Enlightenment

That last part has much more of a ring to it in Norwegian, Rob assures us. Regardless, we couldn’t let such a cultural enigma go unnoticed.

Some research reveals that The Norwegian Committee of Coffee Enlightenment is indeed a legitimate organisation, started in 1962. That’s seven years before Norway discovered oil, on 23rd of December 1969 – as any Norwegian paying attention in history class or with family in the oil industry can tell you (those two demographics collectively cover about 98 % of Norway’s population). 7 years before global trade and cultural exchange hit Norwegians in a big way, yet already well organised in the necessary etiquette of making coffee. Enough so to have their own national committee anyway.

The Norwegian Committee of Coffee Enlightenment exists to this day, although under the slightly more manageable name of Norwegian Coffee Association. They describe themselves as a national, public information resource for all things coffee, and keep themselves busy as well. Their public web page provides news national and international on coffee, they host seminars, provide extensive reviews of equipment, Q&A, endless pages of advice and information on everything from brewing coffee to health benefits to international market reports on the industry.

Norwegian Coffee Association also trial-test coffee equipment and issue a product seal of approval from the European Coffee Brewing Centre in Oslo, Norway. A regular publication, “Coffee Magazine,” documents all coffee-related news, stories, reviews and more.

For more information, they have a comprehensive English page explaining their organisation. Beyond that, we found this Nordic classic, The Coffee Song, for your pleasure and enjoyment. Lyrics below the video:

Lyrics:

Gather, roast, grind, cook the coffee (x2)

And then we gather it, then we roast it,

Gather, roast, grind cook the coffee

One more cup, yes please! (x2)

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