It occurred to me last night what it is exactly that’s holding back progress in the Gothenburg coffee scene.

On the one hand, there seems to be a lack of entrepreneurial drive from within the scene itself. Meaning people aren’t leaving DaMatteo, Bar Italia, Espresso House, Marmelad etc. and going to open their own cafés. The new shops popping up seem to be coming from the peripherals of the scene but not necessarily WITHIN. Given Sweden’s strong support of those with entrepreneurial aspirations this is sort of hard to fathom.

I think this is only a small portion of the problem though, the biggest drag on the system also stems from the entrepreneurial side.

When I was in Stockholm to compete in Brewers Cup I visited a couple of the more renowned coffee shops in a city that has more than a handful of renowned coffee shops. I only got to check out one of Drop Coffee‘s locations, Kafë Esaias (which hosted a latte art throwdown that Saturday night) and Johan & Nyström’s Concept Store but those were enough to open my eyes. Several of the baristas I met at these cafés were competing on Sunday and/or Monday. These coffee shops focus on quality and are staffed by talented and passionate baristas and benefit by being in such proximity to one another.

The real source of strength comes from the fact that even though Stockholm is occupied by Sweden’s largest specialty roaster (J&N) right around the corner from the Concept Store is where Drop Coffee is located. Drop Coffee is not just  a coffee shop, they are a micro-roastery too. There’s also the fairly newish Stockholm Roast as well as David Haugaard. All of them based in and around dear old Stockholm.

Malmö’s coffee scene is quite strong as well. And even though I’ve never visited Malmö I’m aware of the depth of talent located there as well. Malmö benefits from its proximity to Copenhagen which itself has quite a strong coffee scene. Solde and Den Lilla Kafferosteriet are based in Malmö proper with Love Coffee in nearby Lund and Koppi about 45 minutes away in Helsingborg. All of these roasteries within such a close proximity create a strong foundation of coffee-talent and sort of a coffee culture profile.

Then there’s Göteborg, which houses exactly ONE great roastery: daMatteo. That’s it. There’s daMatteo and there’s nothing but a sea of Italian-influenced coffee bars, many of whom are quite cool and hip and are staffed by talented baristas but quite frankly aren’t of the same “genre” and therefore don’t contribute to the scene in the same manner. That’s not to say they are a detriment, they just do their thing and serve more of a social role insofar as being a place to hang out and down a strong espresso.

What Göteborg needs is a Drop Coffee. A Koppi or a Love. ANYTHING to help establish a stronger presence of specialty coffee here in the GBG. DaMatteo, as I’ve said here many times before, can’t do it by themselves. Somebody needs to set up shop here in the heart of the city and establish themselves as not simply an alternative to daMatteo but as a destination of quality coffee. There are plenty of places that serve Johan & Nyström and at least one venue that features coffee from Love but that’s not enough.

Göteborg needs another micro-roastery. Who’s gonna step up?  Who’s gonna help push things forward?