If you are serious about Espresso quality, you know you must buy from a specialty roaster – not from the super market. You will pay more premium price, at least 300kr per kg, and easily up to 500kr per kilo or more, compare to around 100-150kr per kg from super market. In return, you get:
- The obvious better coffee quality. Most if not all decent roasters only roast specialty coffee, meaning they not only taste good, they have minimal defects, especially small rocks. A bad bean will only ruins one cup, at most. But a pebble can destroy your precious coffee grinder. Your grinder will thank you for the uniformity of specialty coffee beans you buy from roasters.
- Much better freshness. Most, if not all coffees from super market only have “expired date”, not “roast date”. You can probably guess the roast date by subtracting expired date by 24 months and the most fresh one I could find, was two months old. At this point the coffee already started degrading in quality. In contrast, when I buy from roaster, it is always less than 1 week from roast date, which is clearly printed on the bag. As a rule of thumb, you should finish your coffee in less than 8 weeks from roast date.
- Much better roasted. Most coffee from super market is roasted with super hot air (800*c) in very short amount of time. This allows the roaster to roast ton after ton, but with the cost of coffee flavor. Specialty coffees are often roasted in much smaller batches, an a longer time, for the flavor can develop properly.
- Traceability. You only know coffee from super market by their country origin, and that’s it. But for specialty coffee, you will know the region which produced the coffee, and in many cases, even the farm that produced it.
- Last but not least, support for local businesses. Specialty roasters are small businesses in your city, or even area. Buying from them means you support your local economy. Many roasters also have direct trade with the coffee farms, which means you give more directly support those famers. Most farms that grow specialty coffee also follow practices regarding sustainability (and due to high price of specialty coffee, they can sustain their business with considerable smaller farms). If you care about sustainability and people likelihood, buying from roasters is a better way to support that.
What to look for from Coffee roasters
A coffee bean bag with one way valve is a must (In case you didn’t know, newly roasted coffee bean will release CO2, and that valve is important to let the CO2 out – but not let the air in) . Best if it is resealable. otherwise you would have to move the bean to an airtight container to keep them fresh for longer. Also, buy coffee beans if you can. Ground coffee starts losing their aroma and flavor just 30 minutes after grinding. Airtight container can only slow that down a little bit.
All of the roasters below have good coffees – the beans have consistent color, size and shape. My machines, techniques and taste are not at the level I can distinct each flavor, so I will focus on the services instead.
StockholmRoast (Stockholm Roast – The House of Roasting)
They offers good prices, but no subscription. They ship through DHL to the service point, with free shipping, which is nice, but not the best (compared to other options below)
The bags are well packaged, so you get proper protection of your precious coffee beans. But they also glue a plastic bag on the package (for the shipping information and the receipt), which is quite tiresome to remove for proper recycling.
They also offer better price for 1kg bag, compared to 4 bags of 250. While this is somewhat understandable from a commercial perspective, it means it’s harder to keep your coffee fresh, if you want to save some money. They probably should offer 500gr bag.
Another minus, I don’t recall their bag is resealable. Also the ink on the bag could easily get into you hands, especially if they are a little wet. They are, however, not very easy to wash off.
None of those things are critical, but they would be very nice to be fixed!
LYKKE KAFFEGÅRDAR Nyrostat kaffe | Direkt från gården hem till dig | Lykke Kaffegårdar (lykkegardar.se)
Lykke offers subscriptions, with 10% discount, which is good. Importantly, they ship directly to your mailbox. Order, and in one day or two, you find your favorite coffee bags in your mailbox. Convenient, huh?
You can easily manage subscriptions, including changing it, skip one delivery, or cancel it, which is a huge plus.
Their bag design is beautiful, and I absolutely like it. To make things better, they even included 2 bags of tea in my first shipment – a very good way to advertise.
Their espresso range, however, is quite limited. There is only one Bam! that is dedicated for espresso. Wish they offer more choices.
UPDATE: I bought 2 bags of BAM! from them due to their Black Friday sales, and were sent ones which were roasted on October 28th, which means more than 1 month when they arrived. I was disappointed, and sent them a letter. They apologized and offered a 30% coupon for my next order. While receiving one month old coffee bags is no fun, I think the way they handled it was nice. I took the offer.
Kafferosterietkoppar Upptäck vårt nyrostade kaffe | Kafferosteriet Koppar
They offer subscriptions as well, and with 20 SEK discount per bag, which is very nice. However, to change the subscription, you need to email them directly. It’s OK-ish, but I would definitely prefer the Lykke approach.
They also ship directly to mailbox, and their shipping was very fast. I ordered on Wednesday, and two of the bags appeared in my mail box on Thursday. I don’t know if they forgot, or intentionally did not send a notification email, but that was a nice surprise.
One incident with my first purchase: Out of two bags is almost empty (there were like, 30 coffee beans inside them). I mailed them to let they know, and they were happy to ship a replacement to me. In the end, everything is resolved quick and easy, but I’d hope they did have a bit more of quality control for their coffee bag.
Standout coffee https://www.standoutcoffee.com/
Their subscription is 25e (yes, euro, equivalent to about 260kr) for 100gr of coffee, or 2600kr per kilo. The reason for such high price is because it’s “Gesha village”, the most expensive coffee in the world, and they offer worldwide free shipping.
2600kr per kilo is unfortunately way too high for what I can pay for coffee, and with 100gr you might get 1-2 cup of good espresso out of it (considering you have to dial in), so thanks, but no thanks.
Apparently they are the most popular in Sweden, so I should try them out soon. They are transparent about their FOB price, which is nice. I was hesitant about their Google reviews (“only” 4.3 on 5.0, so quite lower than other roasters in this list), but it turned out it has to do with their coffee shops (which should be affected by many other things) than their actual roasting business.
This is my favorite now. They offer coffees at very good price – especially if you buy in batch (5 or 10 bags of 500gr), and they usually have 10 or 15% off coupon. I buy with a few friends, and we split the bag – and I end up with around 250kr/kg (2x500gr bag), and sometimes even only 220kr. They do ship free to service point for order more than 499kr.
I can’t notice a difference between their coffee and other roasters, so I’m happy with that setup, for now.