Today, September 29, is National Coffee Day, and International Coffee Day is October 1. Those are good grounds to get me back writing after a social media, and real-life, vacation. The coffee from last season sold out (hurrah!), our current season’s crop is still being picked and processed, and my husband and I visited his family in Norway.
Many years ago we brought some Hawaii family to Norway to experience midsummer and the midnight sun, among other things. A Hawaiian Flat Stanley probably is still hiding unseen in the Lofoten Aquarium; he slid down alongside the glass of a tank when posing for a photo. And in the years afterward, various in-laws have come to Hawaii several times. One young couple even married in Hawaii, with all guests happily coming from Norway in January (except four Americans from our family). Yes, the Hawaiians and Vikings have had some fun times together.
You can reflect for yourself just how different Norway and Hawaii seem. I instantly think cold/winter vs. hot/summer. Northern Norway alternates seasons of no-sun and all-sun, if the weather lets you see the sun. Hawaii has about the same number of hours of daylight all year long. Fishing is a big part of culture and life in both places. Coffee is, too (drinking coffee in Norway; growing coffee in Hawaii).
On this recent trip we brought almost 20 pounds of coffee to share with family and friends. Every household we visited had a Moccamaster coffee machine (a handmade Dutch product), and we were offered coffee at all times of day. I think Norwegians must have the genes that detect caffeine’s bitterness and the genes that quickly metabolize caffeine.
Most Norwegians I met shared that Norway is the, or one of the, top per-capita coffee consumers in the world. Of course, I had to research a bit into where that came from. I couldn’t find any one source, but this one from WorldAtlas in 2018 seems to be oft-referenced. It says Norway is second in per-capita coffee consumption at 9.9 kg/person/year.
I’ve been peripherally following a bit of the Nordic coffee scene for a few months. “Oslo is Scandinavia’s New Coffee Mecca.” I have a fantasy of someday selling some of our green coffee to a Norwegian roaster. On our first full day in Oslo, my husband’s brother took us on a crazy urban bike ride to try coffee at Tim Wendelboe’s cafe in the trendy Grünerløkka neighborhood. Delicious, and it was a treat and experience. Tim Wendelboe is one of the writers for the Nordic Coffee Culture blog, where you can find a 5-part series (with more parts originally intended) about a history of coffee in Norway. I can’t imagine too many of you readers who aren’t Norwegian or married to one are interested in that, but now you know.
Check out the Learn section of Tim Wendelboe’s website. I like the Brewing Guide videos. They’re educational, but they also amuse me. This guy takes his coffee very seriously, but there are these little hints in the videos that show he doesn’t take himself completely seriously. He’s targeting an international audience, given that his website and videos are all in English.
I’ll end this more international- vs. Kona-flavored post on that note. Happy National Coffee Day and an early Happy International Coffee Day.