Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coffee in Stockholm

One thing I don't like about Stockholm is the taste of coffee. Swedes, the world's second most coffee consumer in per capita terms (after Finland), seem to like sour coffee with a higher amount of caffeine than the average in the world. This taste preference extends to espresso, too.

Here's the typical experience of me drinking espresso or cafe latte in Stockholm. The first taste is pretty bad. But as I spend some money for this cup of coffee, I cannot really throw it away. So I keep drinking. By the time my tongue gets used to (or paralyzed by) the taste, my head starts feeling dizzy.

After three years in Stockholm, I almost dislike coffee.

But finally, finally I encounter a good cup of coffee in Stockholm. I visit Mellqvist Kaffebar on Rörstrandsgatan, the street known as little Paris (which I rather strongly disagree with), on the early Saturday afternoon. Just like other popular cafes in Stockholm, the cafe is rather small and, of course, packed with customers. The seating is not designed for a long stay, however. By the time I get a cup of single espresso, a counter table facing the window to the street gets vacant. I sit down and sip the espresso. A taste with several layers spreads within my mouth. This is a rare experience in Stockholm. What makes coffee fascinating is the mixture of different flavors which cannot be immediately verbalized. Coffee in Stockholm is easy to verbalize: sour. This one is not. When I look up, a board on the wall tells me that the coffee beans at this cafe are a blend of Brazilian Carmo Sitio Grota Sao Pedro (Google suggests Sítio Grota São Pedro is a famous coffee farm in Brazil) and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Gibi Natural. And the beans are roasted by Haugaard (whose blog seems to be this one). Although its brie and salami sandwich is not perfect due to hard-to-bite bread, it seems I finally find my favorite cafe in Stockholm.

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