Copenhagen Coffee Lab, Copenhagen

"Copenhagen Coffee Lab" written above "Kaffebar & Mikroristeri" on an A-board made of five, vertical wooden planks.You would think that it goes without saying that the Copenhagen Coffee Lab is in Copenhagen, wouldn’t you? However, I first came across it in Lisbon of all places, where it has the most unlikely of outposts. However, Copenhagen Coffee Lab’s home is in Copenhagen, where you’ll find both the roastery and the subject of today’s Coffee Spot, Copenhagen Coffee Lab’s only coffee shop.

This is located right in the heart of Copenhagen, within sight of the famous Christiansborg Palace and a few steps from tourist central where the canal boat tours vie for your business. Despite this, it feels off the beaten track, aided by being tucked away in a basement, with just some tables on the pavement outside to advertise its presence. Well, that and an A-board. And a trike at the end of the street.

However, it’s worth finding, both for the space, and for the excellent coffee. The Copenhagen Coffee Lab roasts all its own coffee, with a pair of single origins on espresso and, usually three more options on filter through V60, Kalita, Aeropress. The aim is to have an African and South American coffee on espresso and at least one of each on filter.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Copenhagen Coffee Lab is not the easiest place to find, so this was a reassuring sight...
  • ... and sure enough, down the street, there it was.
  • This is the view looking on down the street and across the canal to the Christiansborg Palace.
  • just case you were still wondering, the A-board confirms you have reached your destination.
  • The view looking back the other way, coming from the canal.
  • There's plenty of outside seating, if only you can dodge the showers.
  • Let's go in, shall we? Note the opening times above the steps. Nice touch.
  • The steps leading down to Copenhagen Coffee Lab, as seen from the inside.
  • There's a large, open basement at the bottom of the stairs...
  • ... which is dominated by the L-shaped counter to the back/right. You can sit here if you like.
  • The view from the left-hand end. There's a small kitchen beyond the counter, by the way.
  • There's not much other seating in the main room, just these two stools by the window...
  • ... and the two armchairs off to the right. However, what's that through the opening?
  • It's another cosy space where the Copenhagen Coffee Lab has its retail shelves.
  • There's also lots more seating here. These two tables to the right, for example...
  • ... and this cosy two-seater to the left where I ended up.
  • It's a neat spot where I could keep an eye on the (ever-changing) weather.
  • The view from my seat...
  • ... and the wider view back towards the counter.
  • Let's go and explore some more, shall we?
  • It's not just those two spaces, you see. There's another room at the back...
  • ... seen here from the opening connecting it to the main room.
  • There's a bench seat on the left, with two large tables...
  • ... and Copenhagen Coffee Lab's two comfiest chairs on the right.
  • The view from the back of the room.
  • Let's go back into the main room. But wait! What's that off to the left? There's more!
  • This cosy room sits behind the counter, with windows onto an inner courtyard.
  • I call it the boardroom on account of its large, communal table.
  • Okay, finally, let's get back to the main room.
  • Hmmm.... Looks like it's raining. I think we should stay here for a while.
  • Although it has plenty of windows, the Copenhagen Coffee Lab also has lots of lights.
  • I think they look like flying saucers, don't you?
  • I had fun photographing them.
  • Even the desk lamps were getting in on the flying saucer theme!
  • More conventional desk lamps were also to be found.
  • I like a coffee shop with plants on the tables.
  • The art hanging on the walls is by Thomas Juul-Jensen by the way.
  • This is one of his works.
  • The Copenhagen Coffee Lab is full of neat touches, including this model ship on a windowsill.
  • So, to business. If you like the coffee, you can buy it and take it home with you.
  • You can also buy all manner of coffee-related kit to make it with!
  • However, the heart of the operation is the counter in the main room.
  • The concise menu is chalked up on a pair of blackboards on the wall behind the counter...
  • ... although the espresso-end of the businses is off to your right.
  • The two grinders have details of the beans on them. There's also a small food menu.
  • It was a little late in the day, so there was only one croiissant left...
  • If you don't want espresso, Copenhagen Coffee Lab does a good line in filter coffee too...
  • ... with a pair of V60s on the counter, where you can sit and watch your coffee being made.
  • However, I'm after espresso.
  • My beautiful flat white, made with the Brazilian Fazenda Rainha.
  • Amazing latte-art, by the way...
  • ... which lasted all the way to the bottom of the cup.
  • I paired this with a lovely toasted sandwich...
  • ... and followed it up with an espresso, using the Ethiopian Nano Challa.
  • I also put the last croissant out of its misery.
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Whereas Copenhagen Coffee Lab’s Lisbon outpost has basement-like qualities, the original goes one better and is actually a basement. The hatch-like entrance on the street is flanked by four seats to the right while, to the left there are three tables, each with two chairs. In the middle, a steep flight of stairs leads down into Copenhagen Coffee Lab proper, which consists of a four separate, interconnected spaces.

Starting in the main room, the L-shaped counter is directly ahead. Four chairs line the top of the L, which houses the filter-bar and its EK-43 grinder. To the right, the bottom of the L has the pastries, till and two espresso grinders, the espresso machine itself sitting behind the counter, business-end facing you.

There’s not much more seating here: a two-person window-bar to the left of the steps and a couple of comfy chairs against the left-hand wall, opposite the end of the counter. Between them, a wide opening leads to the second space. Long and narrow, this has three tables, a four-person one to the right, a two-person one directly ahead and another two-person table tucked away under the window to the left. At the back, rows of alcoves against the wall house coffee/coffee-related kit for sale.

At the back of the main space, on the left hand-side, another opening leads to the first of two back rooms. Another pair of comfy chairs live here, while on the left, two four-person tables line a bench seat along the wall. Finally, as you enter this space, an opening to the right leads to the final of the four rooms, known as the boardroom. Long and thin, this occupies the space behind the counter and has a single, long communal table in the middle.

The Copenhagen Coffee Lab has concrete floors with white-washed walls and ceiling, punctuated by exposed wooden ceiling beams, which give it a lovely feel. Each of the four rooms has its own windows, so there is plenty of natural light. Although I imagine it could get quite loud when full, while I was there, it had a lovely, calm, relaxed atmosphere.

There was an Ethiopian Nano Challa and a Brazilian Fazenda Rainha on espresso, the later used in larger milky drinks (the Ethiopian is considered too acidic for large volumes of milk). I’d had this in Lisbon as an espresso, so tried it here in a flat white, rewarded with a very smooth, well-balanced flat white, the taste of the coffee coming strongly through the milk. If I did a Coffee Spot Award for Best Flat White, this would be an instant front-runner.

I also tried the Ethiopian as an espresso, which arrived in an over-sized up. I had a real blow-the-top-of-your-head-off moment with the first sip and it didn’t really calm down after that. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, just too much acidity for my palette, which dominated any other flavour notes. On another day, I’d have tried it as a cortado.

There are pre-made sandwiches (although these aren’t displayed, so you have to ask) and pastries. I paired my flat white with a toasted sour-dough cheese sandwich and my espresso with a croissant. The sandwich was surprisingly good (the barista was worried it would be a little bland; he only had ham and cheese, but did a special cheese-only version for me). The cheese had melted, giving it a wonderful consistency, contrasting with the crunchy bread, while a hint of mustard was just what it needed to bring out the flavours. Meanwhile, my croissant was very fine indeed, with a rich, flaky dough.

December 2016: Copenhagen Coffee Lab, Copenhagen has won the 2016 Coffee Spot with the Best Basement Award.

BOLDHUSGADE 6 • 1062 COPENHAGEN • DENMARK
http://copenhagencoffeelab.com/kaffebaren +45 31 70 13 86
Monday 07:30 – 18:00 Roaster Copenhagen Coffee Lab (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Counter, Chairs (outside)
Wednesday 07:30 – 18:00 Food Cake, Sandwiches
Thursday 07:30 – 18:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 18:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 11:00 – 17:00 Wifi No
Chain No (sort of) Visits 3rd July 2016

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