Coffee Love in Sweden: An Interview with Drop Coffee

One of our favorite parts about Kalsada is getting to know like-minded coffee-lovers innovators all around the world, as well as social entrepreneurs looking to make an impact in the Philippines. We’ll occasionally share these conversations and what we’ve learned.

The folks at Drop Coffee in Stockholm, Sweden, pride themselves on crafting great cups of traceable coffee, roasted in-house. Their baristas’ skills are certified, with Oskar Alverus holding bragging rights as the current champion of the Swedish Barista Cup. The care they put into their coffee is mirrored and matched by the cafe experience they offer, from their photogenic coffee bar and space to the eclectic sounds that help create just the right atmosphere.

Before Kalsada team member Edward Basse’s  latest stint in the Philippines in May, he had the chance to speak with Joanna Alm, co-owner of Drop Coffee, about Swedish coffee culture, Drop’s approach, and how they create the right ambience to go with your cup.

Where are you from?

Borlänge, Dalarna, Sweden.

When did you start working here?

Drop Coffee has been around for about three years. In the beginning, there was more or less only the bar. After a year behind the bar, we decided to buy a 1.5 kg Giesen. Since then, we have been portraying ourselves as a roastery with a coffee bar.

Why coffee?

There’s so much in coffee that’s yet to be discovered, so much to find, and so much to discover. It’s a lovely community, and it’s even the second biggest legal business after oil. The ecological sector, all the impact of the flavor, how they are working – there’s so much we can make better and shape.

Why is Sweden into coffee?

We have a long tradition of drinking brewed coffee. I think that we are now averaging on 3 or 4 cups each day. I think we have such a big market that we should start to care about at least some of these cups! [laughs] Something like what we did with wine – we started caring about it.

What do you think is the importance of coffee culture and the café space for the community?

Everyone can care so much more about coffee. If you go somewhere and wish to buy a cup of coffee, you can always ask questions and every café has a responsibility to be able to answer these questions to the community. But more important than the facts, you should be able to get a well treated cup of coffee; a coffee you know where it comes from and the flavors of it has been taken care of throughout the process–roasting, grinding and brewing.

What are some of the important qualities you look for in your coffee?

First of all, that the quality is good. That means that I like each single flavor in the cup. There is no flavor from the roast process or other defects. Also, I’m able through handicraft to deliver as many of the possible flavors through the roasting and brewing. But it’s also about the harmony, structure, and how well the flavors work together.

What are some of the important qualities you look for in sourcing?

I personally do not find certification as the only way to do it. I find it more important that we are having a dialogue with the producers, and that we can follow how they work and trust them. I find it more important that instead of putting money into getting these certifications they put in money into things that can provide clean water, or pay the workers better.

What kind of music is played in your café?

It depends on who the barista is! It can go from hard hip-hop to South American jazz to Nico’s crazy techno beats…

Do you get to pick it?

Yep! Of course!

Does it influence the general ambience? 

Of course, you can almost touch the Friday evening or a Tuesday morning atmosphere.