We’ve made it to December 2020! Not ones to dwell on the past, and certainly this year I am not sure there is much merit in that!
Looking to our roaster selection for this month, we are in Norway, where else would make such a fitting close to the year and also bring us that holiday feeling through the excellence of the product and also…that packaging!
We hope you enjoy the holiday season, we wish you all the best for 2021, thank you so much for your support and we look forward to bringing you more great coffee next year!
It was a great pleasure talking with Krisitan at Langora, enjoy the interview whilst you try out some fantastic coffee.
Tell us a bit about Langora…
Langøra was established in 2015 by Renate Aune and Kristian Helgesen. We had both then moved back to our hometown Stjørdal with our families and small kids and wanted to set up a roastery. We both came from completely different backgrounds - Renate had been working as a glassblower in Sweden, and I had been living in the UK studying and working as a photographer for 4 years, before spending 7 years in Oslo as a photojournalist for Norway’s largest newspaper VG. Returning back to Stjørdal and the Trøndelag region, we both wanted to set up something new and exciting in our local community, and then Langøra was born.
We were lucky to be invited in to Hjelseng Farm which was just setting up a concept of local producers, with a brewery and an amazing restaurant. Here we had our first 2 years in a tiny wooded ’stabbur’ a traditional storage building from the 1850s. It was a very charming place to roast coffee and it quickly defined who we were, but it was very impractical as we grew. In 2017 our new roastery was finished here at the same farm.
Your branding and packaging is so cheerful and distinctive – is this something that is important to you?
We have been working with the talented London-based illustrator Sam Brewster since the very beginning. I feel that his playful and amazing artworks resonate with Langøra’s spirit, and has become a part of our story now. Being a photographer, I love the visual side of everything, and I still do most of the photography for Langøra now.
Coffee in Norway, there is no shortage of amazing options! What are some of the advantages and disadvantages for running this kind of business in a country of coffee & food excellence!
The coffee scene in Norway is great. There are so many dedicated people, and over the last few years we have seen many new and small talented roasters popping up. I think we only have seen the beginning of something. Norwegians are huge coffee drinkers, but specialty coffee is still such a small percentage of it.
We feel so lucky to be here in Trøndelag at this time, Norway’s culinary region number one - which really has been booming over the last few years. So many amazing producers of food and drink, and incredible restaurants.
Are you sourcing through established suppliers or any direct relationships with origin?
We do a bit of both. Some of our coffees come from established specialty suppliers and importers in Europe, but the last year we have been purchasing more and more directly from producers, as our volumes are increasing. We had hoped to travel to some origins this year to establish more relationships with producers, but let’s see what happens next year.
How do you profile for roasting – are there particular concepts you feel are specific to what you want to achieve, or put in the cup?
We want all of our coffees to be as clean, sweet, fruity and juicy as possible - and that they highlight the character of that specific bean, processing and terroir. But the most important thing is to have great coffee to work with. We spend a lot of time tasting and deciding on which coffees to purchase.
How do you run cupping at the roastery – is this a part of the process you enjoy?
Yes certainly. We have weekly cuppings at the roastery, where we quality check and go through the last week’s production. Our cuppings are a place for interesting discussions, and I think it is something that everyone in the team enjoys very much. This is where we decide to change a roast slightly or test different approaches.
We are also regularly cupping samples that are sent to us from importers and producers, to plan ahead for our future coffee purchases.
Great selection for this month, tell us a bit about them
La Libertad from Guatemala is a great all round coffee from the Huehuetenango region. Sweet and juicy, with notes of chocolate and ripe red fruits.
Gedeb Worka is a natural processed coffee from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Light, crisp and floral, with hints of strawberries, peach and jasmin.
Marisela Esperón, Mexico.
This one really stood out on the cupping table when we cupped several Mexican coffees earlier this year. Mexico is an interesting origin, and we have never roasted any Mexican coffees before. It's a natural processed coffee as well - intense and bold with a silky mouthfeel. And it’s in a can!
Coffee beans in a can! What was the thinking behind this.
Because we can. :-) As we are neighbours with the excellent Stolt Brewery here at Hjelseng Farm, we decided to pack one of our xmas coffees in 0,4 l beer cans with circular lids. It was brewmaster Mikael’s idea one day, as he always comes over to the roastery to have his morning coffee.
Whilst now isn’t the time to compete, what is your view on competition and are there any that interest you particularly either as an individual or company?
We participated in the qualifications for the Norwegian Roasting Championships for the first time this year, and made it to the top 6 roasters that get to the finals. The finals were supposed to be held in Oslo mid-April, but is now postponed until next year. So we are very excited and really looking forward to that!
Langøra has also been arranging Trøndelag Coffee Festival the last 4 years here at the farm, and we have been hosts for the Norwegian Roasting Championships in 2017 and 2019.
During the festival we have our own competition - the World Kokekaffe Championship.
Do you have any significant plans for 2021?
We always have lots of plans and ideas. But the first thing we will start working on in the next year is a new bag design. We will also improve our online store, as we have experienced an overwhelming increase in online sales this year. Much could be linked to the number of people working from home this year who are in need of good coffee, but we are hoping to keep many of them as customers when they get back to work eventually.
Any words of wisdom or hope to share with our subscribers at this time
Stay safe, and have a great Christmas, and may 2021 be a more social and fun year than this one - and we invite you all to come visit us here in Stjørdal, Norway whenever you can!