Norwegian cafe coffee and cakes culture / Columns / The Foreigner

Norwegian cafe coffee and cakes culture. TROMSØ/STAVANGER – ARTICLE AND VIDEO: People wanting more than sock water means it’s a golden age for the Scandinavian drink that’s more than just a shot of caffeine. Coffee being really very important isn’t news to anyone who grew up with Scandinavian heritage, but experiencing it first-hand in Norway was still a new experience for me. Norwegians may not have the cute word that the Swedes do—fika—but they certainly have the concept of a long coffee break (with treats, of course; many of Norway’s best coffee shops are also bakeries). The coffee break is a staple. (Video at bottom of article)

coffee, cafes, beans, brewing, cakes, paywall



The Foreigner Logo

The Foreigner is an online publication for English speakers living or who have an interest in Norway. Whether it’s a glimpse of news or entertainment you’re after, there’s no need to leave your linguistic armchair. You don’t need to cry over the demise of the English pages of Aftenposten.no, The Foreigner is here!

Norske nyheter på engelsk fra Norge. The Foreigner er en engelskspråklig internett avis for de som bor eller som er interessert i Norge.

Google+ Google+ Twitter Facebook RSS RSS



Columns Article

LATEST:

}

Norwegian cafe coffee and cakes culture

Published on Monday, 19th September, 2016 at 19:26 under the columns category, by Dianna Walla and Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 22nd September 2016 at 09:33.

TROMSØ/STAVANGER – ARTICLE AND VIDEO: People wanting more than sock water means it’s a golden age for the Scandinavian drink that’s more than just a shot of caffeine.

Coffee brewing equipment displayed
Coffee aficionados have a wide variety of equipment to choose from in seeking that perfect cup brewed at home.Coffee brewing equipment displayed
Photo: ©2016 Michael Sandelson/The Foreigner


Coffee being really very important isn’t news to anyone who grew up with Scandinavian heritage, but experiencing it first-hand in Norway was still a new experience for me. Norwegians may not have the cute word that the Swedes do—fika—but they certainly have the concept of a long coffee break (with treats, of course; many of Norway’s best coffee shops are also bakeries). The coffee break is a staple.

(Video at bottom of article)

The coffee being made these days isn’t quite the same as it was half a century ago, however. Where uniform packages of pre-ground dark coffee of unknown origin were once the norm, most coffee shops now carry beans from single origins, with notes detailing which farm or farms they came from, the harvest date, how the beans were processed, and the most forward flavours.

Gentle roasts, natural flavours

Scandinavian cafe aesthetics
Scandinavian cafe aesthetics
©2016 Michael Sandelson/The Foreigner
These days, the coffee roasters in Norway and its Scandinavian neighbours are known for favouring very light roasts—you could say the beans are “gently roasted”—and depending on your brew method, the end result may even resemble a dark tea more than a traditional dark coffee.

Bergen’s Kaffebrenneri roasts the beans they buy for between 12 and 16 minutes, depending on whether it is light or dark-roasted coffee. “We try to offer a selection of beans from all over the world, but most come from Africa, Brazil, and Central America,” Coffee Roaster Kenneth Rasmussen tells The Foreigner.

People in Norway started wanting gourmet coffee some ten years ago, according to him, but the last five years have seen major growth in the coffee roasting industry. “It [the fad] is connected to other events in society. People are becoming more conscious of what they eat and drink,” he says. They sell their beans directly, via wholesalers, and run two cafes in Bergen.

Stacked caffè latte glasses
Stacked caffè latte glasses
©2016 Michael Sandelson/The Foreigner
It’s a trend that’s catching on in the States, too. Roasting the beans more gently so that the colour stays lighter also means preserving more of the natural flavours present in the beans before processing. Coffee beans are just the pits of the fruits of the coffee plant, after all.

Domestic aficionados

While you can still buy pre-ground mystery beans at Norwegian grocery stores, the coffee shops are where coffee culture truly flourishes. While you do see the occasional laptop in a Norwegian coffee shop, they’re rare to my American eyes; these spaces are first and foremost still places to gather and socialise.

In Tromsø, where I live, the no. 1 ranked restaurant on TripAdvisor is a coffee bar. And while Starbucks has infiltrated Norway in the last five years (the first location opened at Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport in 2012), it has yet to make it this far north.

Carrot cake muffins: a sweet treat
Carrot cake muffins: a sweet treat
©2016 Michael Sandelson/The Foreigner
In the majority of Norway, local shops and small Norwegian chains are the rule. In these shops alongside the coffee beans and baked goods, you’ll find all manner of equipment for sale in order to brew the beans yourself at home: everything from fancy scales and grinders to whatever brew method you like best, be it Chemex, Aeropress, or Japanese pour-over drippers and carafes.

Steam Kaffebar in Stavanger’s Klubbgata is one of them. The Foreigner spoke with General Manager Jonna Ljungström, a Swede living in Norway’s oil capital.

What equipment do you use and sell?

“Many different types; everything from a grinder to coffee equipment such as steel pots for hot water, or kits such as a Chemex. We also brew everything by hand here to bring out the maximum flavour with our own hot water tap. At some 2-3 minutes, it’s quicker than using a traditional percolator, which takes between 7 and 8.

A sweet treat for Norway

Chemex coffee brewer
Chemex coffee brewer
©2016 Michael Sandelson/The Foreigner
Kits are the most popular items that they sell, as are espresso-based caffè latte and cappuccino.

“Caffè mocha and caffè con panna (with whipped cream) are reasonably popular,” says Ms Ljungström, “but people don’t ask for these as often as the first two. We do get the occasional customer requesting drinks such as caffè affogato (a scoop of ice cream topped with espresso), though we only serve the types of coffee that we notice sell well.”

Steam is not the only place in town which brews coffee by hand. Coffee Berry, just a few doors down the street, and Starbucks, in the harbour nearby, do too. “But both we and Coffee Berry focus on quality, so there isn’t really much competition. Customers are also quality-focused, and demand a higher standard,” she says.

Solskinnsboller are very Norwegian
Solskinnsboller are very Norwegian
©2016 Michael Sandelson/The Foreigner
“It’s because people have become more interested in, and knowledgeable about coffee. Moreover, having tried an increased number of different brands means that they are more able to taste the difference between good and bad coffee. That’s my theory, anyway.”

Like other cafes in Stavanger, Steam also sells cakes. Solskinnsboller – a glazed cinnamon bun containing vanilla cream – go like hotcakes, so to speak.

“Croissants are not as popular, interestingly enough, though we did sell more of them during the tourist season. Europeans who live here do buy them, but solskinnsboller are more typically Norwegian. We don’t have them in Sweden, for example. It’s a cultural thing,” Ms Ljungström comments.

Dianna Walla is a writer and knitwear designer living and studying in Tromsø, Norway. She writes about baking at cakeand­vikings.com and about knitting at paper-tiger.net. Find her on Instagram at @cakeandvikings. Her part of this article originally appeared in full in the Sep 9, 2016 issue of the Norwegian American. Click here to subscribe.


To view this video from Youtube you need to make sure Javascript is switched on and you have the Flash plugin




Published on Monday, 19th September, 2016 at 19:26 under the columns category, by Dianna Walla and Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 22nd September 2016 at 09:33.

This post has the following tags: coffee, cafes, beans, brewing, cakes, paywall.





  
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!