My final instalment from this summer’s trip to Copenhagen is perhaps its most famous name in coffee, the Coffee Collective. Known across Europe for the standard of its roasting, the Coffee Collective also has three coffee shops: the original, out to the west of the centre, the second, in the nearby roastery, and this, its third, right in the heart of the city at Torvehallerne, once again demonstrating that speciality coffee can thrive in the mainstream if done properly.
Torvehallerne is a food and produce market, which reminds me of Boston’s Public Market, where George Howell is doing a similar thing. The Coffee Collective occupies a long counter at the end of the eastern of Torvehallerne’s twin halls. There’s plenty of space, and a limited amount of seating in the shape of window-bars, although you can also take your coffee and make use of any of the public seating areas.
Talking of the coffee, it’s what you come here for. There’s a choice of a blend, single-origin or decaf through the Kees van der Westen espresso machine, or you can have one of three single-origins as a Kalita Wave pour-over, with a fourth on bulk-brew if you’re in a hurry.
There’s something about (speciality) coffee and books in Copenhagen. First there was the latest addition, Prolog Coffee Bar, a café and magazine shop, plus old hands, Forloren Espresso, replete with magazines. And there’s today’s Coffee Spot, Democratic Coffee, sharing its space with the city’s central library. You can’t get more books than that! You can sit in the coffee bar itself, which is long and thin, but which can be quite noisy, or decamp to the library, where there’s a choice of tables and comfy armchairs in the windows.
Everything in Democratic is made from scratch in the kitchen behind the counter, including the bread and pastries. Everything except the coffee that is, which is roasted off-site on a shared roaster, Democratic roasting two or three times a month. There are two single-origins on espresso, one for black coffee, one for milk, plus two more on filter, one available as a hand-poured V60, the other on bulk-brew.
The coffee changes every two-three months, Democratic buying a 700kg pallet with three/four different green beans. Once they’re gone, Democratic moves onto the next set of beans. Democratic doesn’t have different roast profiles for espresso/filter, regularly swapping which bean is on which method.
Copenhagen has a small, but extremely high-standard speciality coffee scene. One of the relatively old hands is Forloren Espresso, which stands out partly because it doesn’t, like so many others in the Danish capital, roast its own beans. Instead it serves single-origin espresso and pour-overs through the Kalita Wave, using the UK’s Has Bean on espresso and filter, with Denmark’s La Cabra providing some of the filter options. Forloren also brings in an occasional guest roaster.
There are two options on espresso, three on filter. Each bean is priced differently and the options change every week or so. The main espresso option is designed for milk, with the second espresso usually served on its own or in cortados. There’s also a choice of tea, while a small snack menu offers breakfast and lunch options, plus there’s cake and pastries.
Although just a few steps away from Copenhagen’s tourist-central at the top of the Nyhavn Canal, and on the well-trodden route to the magnificent Frederiks Kirke, Forloren Espresso is surprisingly off the beaten track. A good sign that it doesn’t rely on the tourist trade is that it shuts at four o’clock every day and doesn’t open at all on Sundays.
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.
Outside of the Lisbon branch of the Copenhagen Coffee Lab, my first ever visit to a Danish coffee shop (and indeed, to a Scandinavian one) was to Prolog Coffee Bar, Copenhagen’s newest speciality coffee shop, which opened just over three months ago. This was more convenience than anything else: I’d just arrived from Dublin and of all the places I’d been recommended, it was the closest (a 15-minute walk) to my hotel where I’d be staying for work for the rest of the week. However, with last Sunday afternoon free, I was determined to explore!
Prolog isn’t a huge place, occupying what was an old bookshop and retaining something of its character, as well as still selling magazines. The owners, Jonas and Sebastian, work at the shop and I met both of them. Jonas, who used to roast at Democratic Coffee, now does the roasting for Prolog, while Sebastian’s also learning the trade. At the moment, things are small-scale, with just an Ethiopian Nano Chala on espresso, joined on filter by a Kenyan, both through the V60. There’s also a range of iced-coffee, plus an innovative selection of food and food products. In that respect, Prolog’s no ordinary coffee shop!