Speciality coffee is nothing new in Scandinavia. In fact 6 out of the first 7 world barista champions were Scandinavians and many have gone on to start their own roasteries. Dane and 2006 champion Klaus Thomsen is one of the founding partners of ‘The Coffee Collective’, they began in 2008 and have 3 outlets across Copenhagen.
The outlet we tried was located in Copenhagen’s Torvehallerne. The Coffee Collective stall occupies a prime corner stand in one of the hall and has a beautifully equipped coffee counter. It includes a busy brew bar and in the pride of place a 3 group Kees Van der Westen ‘Spirit’ espresso machine.
I asked to photograph the machine and was invited behind the counter to take a closer look and ask a few questions – Katie said she hadn’t seen my face light up like that all trip. It is a thing of precision and beauty.
There were two options for espresso (25 Kr. £2.95) both of which were blends and I chose the fruitier of the two; which was a combination of Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Katie had a latte using the other Brazilian dominated blend (35 Kr, £4.10). The Coffee Collective roast all their coffee at their roastery in another part of Copenhagen and tours are available.
I asked for some information about ordering coffee to the UK so hopefully we will get hold of some in the future. We’d like to be able to offer some of their lightly roasted speciality coffee as an aeropress or V60 filter after dinner at our evening service Nord.
I did a quick web recce on coffee before leaving the UK, specifically to Nordic Coffee Culture; the premier location for Nordic coffee information and discovered Kent Kaffe Laboratorium. I thought it might be a nice place to visit but didn’t really fit it into our plans. As we were walking to the Torvehallerne we stumbled across it and I marked it’s card for a visit later that afternoon.
KKL is an excellent place to enjoy speciality coffee, and whilst they offer a range of espresso based drinks they seem to focus more on other brew methods. Chemex, aeropress, V60, slow-drip cold brews and syphon were all present. These could be enjoyed with a couple of single origin options; I plumped for the Ugandan via the syphon.
I have to admit this was a couple of firsts for me because as a relative newcomer to coffee I haven’t had a Ugandan single origin or coffee prepared using the syphon. The coffee was low in acidity and full bodied – it reminded me less of other fruitier West African coffees such as Kenyan or Ethiopians and much more like a Brazil. It did have a smooth finish though and this improved as it cooled.
The interior is a mixture of classic 1960s Scandinavian furniture including sofas with jarring psychedelic graffiti artworks on canvas. I would have been fine without the art but it does add some colour to what would otherwise be a sea of beige. Very few places in Copenhagen seem to suffer from the lack of space that is so prevalent across London – although I am sure that were this to be the case they would overcome the problem with innovative design.
Like any city Copenhagen is blighted by chains offering a fairly poor coffee experience. Undoubtedly there are plenty of people trying to reverse the trend by offering top quality speciality coffee and I am sure we only scratched the very surface of Copenhagen’s coffee culture.