Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fantastic Facts: Swedish coffee is great!

As an expat Swede, I can actually live without most things from back home, there are some things that I like and buy if I get the chance, but very few things that I have trouble to live without. Two things actually.

The first is “knackebrod”, the Swedish crisp bread. I know that it's pretty widely available now in the US at least, but it still is extremely unusual to find here in Japan . I know an international supermarket here in Tokyo that carries one type of it at pretty outrageous prices. I've mostly resorted to mail order from a supermarket back home (hey, any of my fellow Swedish ex-pat readers, check them out here, it’s an ICA store doing overseas sales! Wait?! Did I just become a Swedish ex-pat resource and can I take it back?!) and the first shipment managed to crush most of the bread, but for the last shipment they did put “fragile” stickers on it and it arrived unharmed. It is a bit annoying that shipment end up costing more than the content, but can't be helped until I learn to bake the bread myself!

The second one might be more surprising for non-Swedes, but Swedish coffee happens to be the best in the world. Normally I make sure that I have a respectable amount of coffee stocked up in the apartment so that I do not have to resort to drinking the local version. After a visit to the old country, it is not unusual that most of my luggage consists of Swedish coffee... However, due to a miscalculation in the management of the stock, I recently discovered that we had run out. With no visit to Sweden and no visitors expected, the situation does not have a quick fix and I have been drinking the Japanese version now for a few weeks. Japanese coffee is not outrageously bad, it's just that it pales in comparison with the Swedish coffee.

But “Sweden doesn’t grow coffee beans” you might whine in protest, and “yes, you are correct” is my answer. However, because Sweden drinks such huge amounts of coffee calculated per capita (look it up if you don’t believe me, it's us and the Finns!) and are paying big bucks for it, the quality of the beans shipped to Sweden is really good and the end product is superior. Ok, it’s not coffee for small girls and boys, it’s coffee for real men. Damn it, I need to order it, but they're slow and it takes a month or so I have to put up with the Japanese versions...

9 comments:

ThePenguin said...

That picture reminds me of something.

RMilner said...

Can you get Swedish coffee at the Ikea in Yokohama?

I get Swedish coffee from the Ikea in Wembley.

Or is Ikea coffee in fact pish, but I don't know it being an ignorant Brit?

ThePenguin said...

IKEA coffee, so I hear, is made primarily from the wood shavings which fall off IVAR shelving packs.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Penguin - Are you insinuating that I have an unhealthy fixation with enemas? I strongly disagree and I think it's very healthy indeed.

RMilner - Well, yes and yes, but even though Penguin again is right in terms of the material, the fact is that it's still better than most of the Japanese stuff...

Anonymous said...

import it per internet. i did it with our best coffee in the world from germany.

ThePenguin said...

It is reassuring to hear you have healthy fixations (or should that be an interest in not having unhealthy fixations in your lower intestinal tract?).

So, when you let your coffee "take you from behind", does the nationality matter? Or does anything go as long as it's strong and black? And with or without cream?

Danielle said...

I'm starting to come to the (very reasonable and not at all amusing, apologies) conclusion that when it comes to coffee you just like what you are brought up with.

I am from Melbourne, a known "foodie" city (Denny's tried to open there several yrs ago and closed in a matter of months lol) with a rich coffee heritage from the Italian, Greek, Turkish and Arabic immigrants and so always felt justified in considering myself a good judge of coffee but I'm starting to think it is purely subjective. It's probably mostly because of the Americans, I guess, I simply cannot believe that what I drank in the States (but for one cafe called the Euro Cafe just off Rodeo which was like being home in Lygon St. RAI on the TV and all lol) was considered anything but battery acid - and yet so many miss their coffee when here.

I have met so many expats here from various countries and, while most agree - as I do - that Japanese coffee is not bad all believe theirs to be "the best" and hanker for the coffee they love. *Note Starbucks is not coffee in any country - it's hot and cold milkshakes/softdrinks, there is no arguing there, kthx.

Would love to try Swedish coffee one day :D

jlpt2kyu said...

Starbucks do good coffee, maybe not the best but you can't fault their cappuccino.

You can get decent coffee almost any modern country, just find a specialist coffee bean shop and get the bean/roast you need, then grind it yourself and prepare it yourself.

I used to be all about machine-made espresso but recently I've got back into the old fashioned Italian "Espresso Pot" - really smooth and deep. Easier to make too.

Your SIL said...

Ah, I see that you refer to your former homeland as "the old country". I do that too, whenever possible. It confuses people since I come from the New World!

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