Why is coffee so good in Scandinavia?

Sweden has the highest per-capita consumption of coffee in the world. This generally means that you get access to “the good stuff”. The same is true for Ireland and tea, we drink more than anywhere else, so we get higher quality leaves than anywhere else (in general). I don’t drink Swedish tea and I don’t drink Irish coffee, my life is good :slight_smile:

Checked my facts, and before somone comes in and corrects me, I will correct myself (I believed the Swedes, that’ll teach me!). Seems both Finland and Norway have higher consumption rates (2002 data). However at between 8 to 12 kilos per person per year, that is more than double the consumption rate of the US.

Again, I know my good coffee. Though I’ve not been to Central America in years, I’ve toured coffee roasting facilities, can tell a Sumatra from a Peruvain blend, etc. etc. I’m pretty sure there’s a difference in brewing techniques: the coffee didn’t just taste better, it tasted different. At first I thought we were getting “Cafe Americano,” a shot of espresso with hot water, but I’m trying to figure out what exactly it was.


brew = add water to coffee :smack:

sometimes my English really passes me by

First off, if you found the coffee on Scandinavian Airlines tasty, well, I think you got low standards.

Drip-brewing is definitely the common way to do it in Scandinavia. Not entirely sure about those coffee machines though. I take it you are talking about those new machines (black machines with huge brownish mosaic patterned paper cups) which have been popping up the last few years. The coffe from those machines is rather tasty actually. I did observe one guy adding more beans to such a machine once, and they didn’t seem to use the Dutch method referred to above, but who knows.

A little googling revealed that those machines are using something called “Arabica-coffee”, its beans are coming from Brazil, Columbia, Central-America and Kenya. Their latest model grind the beans, and “with the use of pressure” brews the coffee cup by cup.

Maybe the basic secret to good coffee is adding a little more beans to get a nice black cup, a clean coffe machine, and drink it fresh. :stuck_out_tongue:

Coffee Arabica is just one type of bean; the other type, Coffee Robusta, is generally considered to be inferior. Arabica beans are what’s grown primarily in Central/South America; Robusta beans are grown primarily in Africa.

Brewed with the use of pressure, huh? Interesting – that sounds like it might be espresso after all. Maybe we really were drinking something along the lines of Cafe Americano.

As for my low standards with SAS coffee, what can I say? It was quite good, better than some of the drip-brewed coffee I had in Norway. That may have been because SAS coffee was brewed freshly, whereas the coffee I had in cafes had been sitting on the burner for awhile.


Well, I think you have higher standards than me, so I guess you “got lucky” with SAS. :wink: Or they have improved, it’s been a while since I travelled with them.

Anyway, a bit further googling about those coffee machines revealed a multi-national cooperation with a bunch of subsidiaries. They deliver both the machines and the coffee, and apparently you can order home, or so they say.

The main company should be Autobar at:

The coffee itself is manufactured in Holland by ICS, at

The coffe line brand (both the machines and the coffee) is appearently called Cafe Bar (which consists of Cafe Bar BV International, and even more subsidiaries), but you could check out the Autobar webpage above, choose Vending & Food Services - Company List - Cafe Bar, for a list of additional websites. But I think the ICS webpage is where you want to go.

Don’t take that pressure thing to seriously, it turns out it was mentioned on the Norwegian webpage of an independant agent to the Cafe Bar Norway company, which is a subsidiary of Cafe Bar BV Int, which is a subsidiary of …

Excellent, Alien! I’ll poke around these sites a little more. In first glance, I can’t find anything about the brewing method they use, but I’ll keep looking.


As far as I know (having heard it from the brother in law of an SAS flight attendant) they use instant coffee.

Instant, huh? If so, it was far and away the best instant coffee I’ve ever tasted: instant normally tastes to me like charcoal juice. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t instant, at least not in the US sense of the term (nasty powder mixed with boiling water).