While running Shrove Tuesday Cafe, I am lucky enough to be approached by my then COO (Now friend and mentor) to help set up Joe & the Juice in both Singapore and Hong Kong. An opportunity that I cannot ignore.
During my tenure as Country Manager, I have opened 4 outlets in Singapore (heard that Wisma closed recently) and 2 outlets in Hong Kong - a total of 6 outlets in less than 1.5 years. This opportunity has given me a chance to flex my brain muscles to it's limits and I have learned so much from the processes involved in opening chain stores. Right now, Joe & the Juice is exploding all over United States and Europe. I am very happy that I have played a major part in its humble beginnings in South East Asia.
I was invited to Copenhagen to learn as much as I can about the brand. During the 10 weeks of stay there, I explored the region in search for good coffee when ever I had the time.
One would expect to find abundance of great coffee in Denmark, since it is geographically so close to Italy and France, I was certain that coffee would be a huge part of Danish culture.
Surprisingly, the coffee culture here is milder than what I have expected. Juice and organic produce proliferated the streets. Maybe that is why the community is made up of stunningly beautiful blond ladies and dashing, well built men.
They have such a healthy eating habit that will put almost all of us in Asia to shame. The streets are filled with bicycles instead of cars and the air is crisp and clear.
People generally starts work early and end work even earlier (around 7am - 4.30pm). They can start drinking (beer) around 10.30 am in the morning. It is one of the most liberal countries that I have come to know.
The pace is slow and relax. There is even an area walled off within the city that has it's own set of rules - a place where weed is legal and beer is abundant.
All the booze, sex and weed. Free education and health care. No wonder the Danes are ranked to be the happiest people on Earth.
Address: Store Kongensgade 32, 1264 København K, Denmark
A little unknown to the world, this is simply one of the best cafe in the whole of Copenhagen.
Run by a single person, this quiet gentleman brews one of most amazing pour overs and espressos that I have ever tasted in my journey.
His inscrutable passion in coffee makes me come back for more almost everyday. He is probably the only man in Copenhagen that had truly mastered the craft.
The shop is humble and small and has a sitting capacity of approximately only 8 people.
I am excited whenever I visit his shop because he knows my interest in coffee and will share what he deems as the best brew for the day with me. Every now and then, he has a small little pack of specialty beans that he will use for pour overs. Over here, he shared with me on his peculiar brewing methods and explained to me the reasons for doing so and why he thinks it will make the coffee taste better.
It is also my first time truly learning on the effects of brew rations, water temperatures, dates of roast and processing methods of a coffee can result in drastic change to the palate.
This place is not to be missed.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab
Address: Strandlodsvej 48, 2300 København S, Denmark
One of the 2 well known brands in Copenhagen to serve specialty coffee.
It took me awhile to locate this place as it's entrance is led by a short flight of steps underground. I probably walked passed the same street a couple of times before finding it with the help of a few people.
The Danes have been the pioneer in the Scandinavian looking cafes popping all around the world. They are amazing interior designers who loves rustic looking wood and clean lines.
When you are in Denmark, you will come to appreciate the attention to details in all their interior designs.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab is another place that serves amazing pour over coffees. They have a team of extremely well trained baristas. It is almost magical as you see them work. I visited this place 4 times during my stay and all times, there is only one person working behind the counter.
It is almost clockwork as the barista is able to extract multiple pour overs from different origins perfectly with consistency all these while collecting cash and new orders from customers.
Few people take espresso or milk based coffee here. I have tried both and I totally understand why. The milk in Denmark is of good quality. However, it has a weak texture that made milk based coffee taste flat on the mouth.
The water on the other hand, is filled with minerals. It is said that Denmark's natural tap water is one of the healthiest in the world. Using such high quality water is able to produce amazing pour overs.
The trip to Denmark made me realize the importance of water in our brew. Most people think of coffee as a single ingredient product. Did you realize that your drink is made up mainly of water?
Such a simple but mind blowing revelation.
The Coffee Collective
Address: Godthåbsvej 34B, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
One of the bigger specialty coffee chain in Denmark that has been able to expand yet maintain its quality in coffee.
This is the only place in Copenhagen that I have managed to find Geisha beans. The brew was excellent but the overall experience has nothing spectacular to shout about. Perhaps growing too big and commercial ebbs away the romance around coffee.
Unfortunately, everybody was too busy and I did not have much opportunity to speak or learn from them. But I will still recommend my friends to pay them a visit because their coffee is indeed one of the better ones in Denmark.
10 Weeks is not enough, The country is too big and I simply have not had the time and opportunity to visit them all. I have made so many friends while learning over there and I have missed them dearly.
If given an opportunity, I will certainly go back to this beautiful place again.