Olivia Hahne, our hottest new contributor, is on a one woman-and-baby mission to find the best place to have a coffee in Stockholm. This week: Mariatorget.
Not your ‘hood? Check out the rest of our café culture series.
Johan & Nyström
Address: Swedenborgsgatan 7, 118 48 Stockholm. Tel No: 08 702 20 40
You’ve probably tasted Johan & Nyström’s coffee at other Stockholm cafés as their main business is producing and selling hand roasted coffee made from ethically sourced beans. Founded in 1994 by a ‘bunch of like-minded coffee enthusiasts’, they are widely regarded as some of the best in the business and consistently rank highly in coffee / barista awards.
Johan & Nyström at Mariatorget is both bar and boutique, selling Johan & Nyström’s ground coffee, coffee beans, tea and a range of coffee making equipment. The café has a dark wood and leafy interior, giving the place a bit of an Amazonian rainforest feel to it, whist the baristas’ brown leather aprons are complete with hanging spoons reminiscent of those seen in South American steak kitchens.
The coffee is great, as you would expect. In addition to espresso, they also have coffees made from techniques such as Chemex, Symphon, Aeropress and drip on offer (fully explained in the ‘brewing methods’ section of their website for those not versed in the language of coffee geekery) and a variety of tea.
Service is very friendly and informative, with my rookie questions about coffee-making answered without so much as a smirk or a raised eyebrow. There’s space for buggies and for those wanting a quieter place to enjoy a fika, there’s a room just off the main coffee bar / shop area. Pop by for a coffee and tea tasting session on weekdays at around 15:00 (check Facebook for which coffees and teas will be on offer). And if you want to recreate the perfect brew at home, Johan & Nyström’s offer a range of barista courses and even a tea making course.
Cost of a latte: 38 kronor
Perfect for: enjoying one of the best cups of coffee you could hope to find in Stockholm
Avoid if: you’re on a semla mission – none of those little bad boys here, I’m afraid
Musical equivalent: King of Bongo by Manu Chao
Address: Swedenborgsgatan 4B, 118 48 Stockholm. Tel No: 08 641 52 11
After a hard day’s shopping at vintage store, Herr Judit Brandstationen, and the small boutiques lining Hornsgatan, you’ll probably be looking for somewhere to get some Mariatorget-style sustenance. If you’re a fan of artisan bakery, look no further for your food fix than Bageri Petrus.
A relative newcomer to the Mariatorget scene, Bageri Petrus opened in October 2012 and, as the name suggests, is more bakery than coffee bar. Look on their website and their mission statement is quite clear: “Vi bakar bröd.” They do indeed bake bread… and bullar, croissants, and pastries, all top quality, all gourmet. They also like to get a bit creative, this month paying homage to that most Swedish of spring fika goodies with a croissant semla. Fridays are a special day at Bageri Petrus, with a weekly special on offer from 12pm every Friday.
In terms of coffee, there is no coffee machine (a brave move in this part of town) – instead, customers can help themselves to a pot of freshly brewed coffee. And whilst the stairs at the entrance aren’t too buggy friendly, the main seating area is a bench next to a large window overlooking the street with prime buggy parking space (and people-watching potential).
Cost of a cup of brewed coffee: 24 kronor
Perfect for: enjoying a pastry for the road and buying some artisan-baked bread to go
Avoid if: you’re a coffee aficionado and prefer your coffee to be barista-made
Musical equivalent: I Love the Dough by Biggie Smalls featuring Jay-Z and Angela Winbush
Address: Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 10, 118 50 Stockholm. Tel No: 08-410 23 363
Something about this area seems to attract award winning coffee houses and my next stop is the critically acclaimed purveyors of freshly brewed coffee, Drop Coffee. I’m served by the very friendly, recent Brewers Cup 2013 winner, Nico Castagno, who will be jetting off to Melbourne in May to represent Sweden in the World Brewers Cup. A man who knows his beans then.
Nico gives me a rundown of the origins and flavours behind each of the drop coffees on offer, sourced from countries across Africa and Central America, as though they were fine wines. I opt for the Kenyan coffee on Nico’s recommendation. At 49 kronor, it’s the most expensive cup of coffee I’ve had outside of a Norwegian airport, but being able to watch the coffee made in front of me helps justify the price.
A serving of beans are poured out from a test tube like jar on a rack behind the counter and ground in front of me, then poured into one of the drip stations on the counter. Hot water is poured on top of the coffee and the resulting brew is allowed to drip down into the coffee pot below, resulting in a large pot of fresh coffee for me to pour into my coffee cup. I show I’m a drip coffee novice by asking for a side of milk – I’m assured I won’t need it and he’s right. The coffee is smooth and full of flavour which packs a subtle punch; whereas a double espresso can deliver a caffeine hit somewhat akin to be smacked around the head, this little rascal sneaks up on you and keeps you buzzing all day. Perfect for the sleep deprived of us out there.
Speaking of which: with no stairs to climb and two large rooms leading away from the coffee bar, there’s plenty of room for buggies. In terms of food there is a selection of bullar, croissants, chokladboller, chocolate brownies, sourdough toasted sandwiches and soups.
As well as running the coffee bar, Drop Coffee roast their own coffee (available for sale in the café), and run courses such as coffee brewing, coffee tasting, coffee roasting and the art of espresso making.
Cost of a latte: 37 / 42 kronor (depending on size)
Cost of a drip coffee: 39 – 52 kronor (depending on beans used)
Perfect for: viewing a coffee-making experience verging on the theatrical and savouring the results.
Avoid if: you want a double espresso to go – that’s kind of missing the point.
Musical equivalent: Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa