Java Java and Ikea Coffee

Java Java, originally uploaded by andai.

I like going to Ikea to buy cheap ‘competitively priced’ stuff and checking out Swedish ‘cuisine’ at their cafe. After check-out, I would head out the the little cafeteria stand right by the exit for a 12 oz latte for the road. This latte costs $1.00, a real bargain… I mean at $1.00 who can resist? The only other place that I know that sells $1.00 lattes is Costco. However, over that past couple of years, though I do go to Ikea to buy stuff, I find that I am actually able to resist their lattes. Why? Well it is sort of a good news, bad news explanation.

The good news is that at $1.00, this is a darn pretty good deal. The bad news is, the lattes are really not that great. The good news is that I don’t go to Ikea that often to really miss out. The bad news is that even when I do go to Ikea, even at the $1.00 price point, I am not eager to buy the latte and when I break down and do so, I feel like I wasted the $1.00. The good news though is that there are lots of folks at Ikea who do get the coffee so who really cares what I think?

So yesterday, I happen once again to find myself at Ikea and I finally decided to ask them where they got their coffee from. The lady behind the counter told me that the coffee was from a Java Java Coffee Company, a Seattle area coffee roaster. They are actually based in Maple Valley. Now to be fair, the folks who make the espresso drinks at Ikea are not baristas in the true sense of the word. And I haven’t actually consciously drank Java Java coffee anywhere else so I wouldn’t want to use Ikea as the standard for fine espresso. I will however look to find if there are any other coffee shops in the Seattle area that do serve Java Java beans and try out the place instead. That way I can get a better sense of how good their beans are.

But as I was talking to the ladies behind the counter, they pointed out that Ikea did also sell bagged Ikea branded, ground coffee beans both for espresso and for drip coffee. In the cafeteria, they used the Ikea Food brand for the drip. But people could buy the coffee for home/personal use.

At first I was thinking that maybe I should try the drip instead, at $0.75, that was a pretty decent deal. But then I decided to really make the trip worthwhile I would get a bag instead. So I ended up getting the organic medium roast grind called Bryggkaffe Mellanrost. I think ‘Bryggkaffe Mellanrost’ probably means ‘Medium Roast Coffee’ in the Dutch language. Now I don’t know even how to start pronouncing the name so I think I will follow this guys lead and just call it Ikea Coffee.

Well I took the coffee home and busted out my Primula Express stove-top espresso maker. Funny enough, though I usually rag on Starbucks and their lattes and espresso drinks, I have to admit that I have been enjoying my bag of the Starbucks’ House Blend. This is a medium roast that is a blend of the Latin American coffees and I have to admit I have been finding it pretty tasty actually. SO now I wanted to try the ‘Ikea Coffee’ with my stove-top espresso maker and see what I would get. So I made a nice strong espresso, about 3 oz and added some sweetened condensed milk to it… this is how I make my stove-top espresso drinks, a habit I picked up when I visited Vietnam a couple of years ago.

But despite all this, I found that I really didn’t like the taste nor flavor of the espresso drink. I don’t know how I can describe it, but it just wasn’t to my taste nor liking. This is not to say it was bad coffee, not at all. This is simply to say that for me, it wasn’t that memorable at all. I actually contemplated throwing away the bag but I think what I’ll do instead is I will make another drink in the morning and see if a second time round makes a difference. I will also grind this coffee a little finer and then make a latte, and possibly an americano and see if any of those makes a difference. I will then figure out my final conclusion on the coffee served or sold at Ikea.

Updated: 2009-05-10 05:50 PM PST

You can read also the followup post here

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