The Coffee Collective – Copenhagen (DK)
The Danish kings of coffee
Even before I even started this blog, there was always one name that kept coming up in random conversations. It was like some sort of ghost that was haunting me from cafe to cafe. [Said with a slight whisper] The Coffee Collective… The Coffee Collective … Who is this Coffee Collective that everyone seems to be raving about, I wondered? Eventually I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and started doing some research here and there. My findings were conclusive. They seemed to be pretty amazing. So, a few months into running this blog I started to get the feeling that if I didn’t go to Copenhagen and visit the famous Coffee Collective I would loose all credibility. Luckily, I had a plan.
On my first day of my weekend trip to Copenhagen I decided to use my lunch break in between meetings to pop down to the nearest Coffee Collective location that I could navigate to without having to find complicated reasons to justify a 2 hour lunch break. As I maneuvered towards Torvehallerne I could already see people sitting outside sipping coffee (note: it was really warm, unlike Amsterdam). When the sliding doors opened I immediately stumbled upon the stylish Espresso bar that could be nothing other than the famous Coffee Collective. The baristas looked just as handsome as all the other Danish people I had been spotting all day (seriously what is UP with that?) and without much ado I got myself a Flat White. I was curious to see if all the fuss was justified. The only thing that did shock me a bit was the price: 40 Danish Kroner = €5,37. That’s a proud price for a coffee, but given that everything else was just as expensive I put it in my books as “marketing costs”.
After greedily gulping down this rather smooth interpretation of my beloved Flat White, I went back in to get a pour over. Everything looked so sleek and perfectly designed, it was Denmark through and through. I went for the Yukro coffee from Ethiopia, which is a type of coffee I don’t usually like but it was recommended and I would be silly not to follow this recommendation. Needless to say, it was rather good. I love it when you can get up close and personal with the baristas when they prepare your coffee. It’s a beautiful thing.
A few days later my friends and I popped into the first ever Coffee Collective on Jægersborggade, which is like a tiny sliver of hipsterdom in otherwise wild Nørrebro. This little specialty coffee shop is so tiny that when you walk in you technically stand behind the Espresso machine. What’s kind of cool about it is that you can see the barista working from behind, a rather rare view. They also still roast some of their coffee here but since getting their 3rd and biggest location in Fredriksberg last year, most of the roasting is done over there. My friends ordered ice lattes and I went for an Aeropress, this time giving the Finca Vista Hermosa from Guatemala a shot.
If you’ve been following my blog so far you might have come to think that I am one of those anal people who ONLY drink one type of hot beverage, but as you might have learned more recently, I too am adventurous. The coffee I got had to cool down a bit first to develop its full flavours. It was just as the barista had promised. Full bodied with a slight hint of chocolate and a bit of blueberry in my honest opinion.
On my last day I ventured out to Fredriksberg to visit the temple of The Coffee Collective. Slightly hidden from sight, I had to look hard to actually spot the sign from the bus stop. As I took the last few drags from my cigarette I surveyed the windows to get a peek of the inside and saw huge open spaces, a very long bar and lots of wood. I think it was a good thing that it wasn’t busy that day because I actually got to chat with the very nice barista who told me a wee bit more about The Coffee Collective and its mission to bring amazing coffee to Copenhagen (and beyond).
While my Flat White was being prepared using only the most modern equipment, I surveyed the merchandize wall, picked a bag of El Desarollo, Huila, Colombia and a copy of their very own book “God Kaffe” to take home and took in some of the trophies that were on the very top shelf. Probably the most noteworthy of them all was this one: World Barista Champions 2006. That’s what really put this humble Danish coffee business on the map.
The Coffee Collective have also taken the sourcing of their beans into own hands so that all of their coffees are direct trade, which not only gives them full control of the quality but also allows them to work more closely with the farmers and help pay them a more decent wage. The entire process from seed to cup is also lovingly illustrated and explained in their book. Shame it’s only available in Danish.
As my visit was drawing to a close I asked the barista if The Coffee Collective had any plans to expand abroad. He thought for a moment and then said: “No, we’re really only focussing on Copenhagen and are not planning on opening up any more shops in the near future…” My advice: Watch this space.