This month we catch up with Jonas, Head of Green Coffee Buying at Johan & Nyström in Stockholm.
Tell us about your career coffee and your current role at Johan & Nyström.
I currently work as Head of Green Coffee Buying at Johan & Nyström. I’ve been in the company for seven years, but in my current capacity for about four.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, it starts with a cup of coffee, obviously. Then I work through the inbox. Usually, there is a cupping before lunch; either green samples or, together with our Head Roaster, going through our current coffees. Maybe I’ll have a meeting also before lunch. Depending on the season, there might be another cupping session in the afternoon. After picking up my kids from kindergarten, there is usually a phone call or some e-mails with producers or exporters at origin.
If I’m at origin, no day is typical!
How did you come to work in coffee?
As for many, it started out as a hobby. Slowly getting more and more into coffee at home, whilst bar crawling through Stockholm, I managed to get an internship at Johan & Nyström while studying. Later I started working as a barista in Johan & Nyström’s flagship store in Stockholm. I started my own business with a small café/coffee bar in Stockholm, and a few years later, I went back to J&N!
What would you be doing if you weren’t in coffee?
Very good question. I have a degree in Sommelier and Meal science, so probably something with wine or food. I also find the sustainability part of my job to be very interesting and important, so maybe something on that.
What’s your favourite thing about living where you do or where you come from?
Oh, so many things! First, I think Stockholm is a beautiful city. The proximity to water, all the bridges and lots of green areas.
Where would you head when you have time / a day off if we weren’t in a pandemic?
Now, I think I would take the kids to this big, outside museum and zoo called Skansen, which has Nordic animals such as moose, wolves, pigs, wolverine etc. There are many small playgrounds and stuff for the kids, as well as ponies for the kids to ride on. Also, the view from the highest peak is one of the best in the city.
Do you have any local tips? Maybe there’s a hidden gem you’d like to share?
Well, besides that one, I’d hop on one of the boats going out to the archipelago. Depending on where you’re going, it’s about 40 minutes to 1 hour or so and you’ll be well out of the city and out among all the small islands. One other tip is La Vecchia Signora, a small, Piedmontese restaurant with great food and a fantastic wine list. And I can’t talk about Stockholm without mentioning Sturehof – a real institution on the restaurant scene in Stockholm. Open all day, always crowded from lunch until late, it has great brasserie-style food with many Swedish classical dishes and an epic wine cellar. Loud, vibrant and tasty.
What have been the biggest learnings that you’ll be taking into 2021?
Wow, many. On a professional note, probably how much I miss travelling to visit the producers. But more seriously, I think one big learning is how fragile the specialty market is. When people stay home, they tend to go back to the coffee they always drink at home, usually the one available at their local grocery store (i.e. not specialty). There are a lot of uncertainties for producers that have really highlighted the need for long term contracts and commitments, as well as flexibility.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Some sort of normal. That people get to move around more freely. And also, more people to realize all the good that comes with drinking high-quality coffee, regardless of where they’re drinking it.
What’s been keeping you grounded?
Mainly that I have my entire family close to where we live, so we’ve been able to meet somewhat frequently. I’ve had time to cook and eat a lot of food. Also planning forward, to make sure that we are there for the producers both during as well as after the pandemic ends.
Are you reading anything you’d like to recommend?
A lot of cookbooks! Everyone interested in coffee should read God in a Cup by Michaele Weissman. For non-swedes, I’d recommend 438 Days by Martin Persson and Johan Schibbye – a true story of two Swedish journalists captured and imprisoned in Ethiopia.
Do you have a mantra you live by?
If any, it would be “if it’s bad, it’s too expensive”. It translates better to Swedish!
How do you take your coffee?
Filter, black. My go-to is usually V60 or Aeropress.
What’s your favourite origin and why?
The million-dollar question. Extremely difficult, but I think I’ll have to say Colombia. So many different regions with so many different taste profiles, but always clean, juicy, fruity coffees. And, of course, the huge add-on of several harvest periods throughout the country.