Big news out of little Helsingborg, Sweden—just across the bridge from Copenhagen—where Koppi Coffee Roasters, the venerable pioneers of Scandinavian coffee culture, have announced the impending closure of its one and only cafe. Koppi's shop will stop serving December 20th.
Koppi announced the news via Instagram:
BIG NEWS! . . . The end of an era is the beginning of a new! After long and thorough consideration, we have decided to close our shop and only focus on the roasting. On the 12th of October 2007 we opened the doors to our beloved shop in the heart of Helsingborg. We were young and somewhat naive but passionate and dedicated to create a roastery and café where people could experience specialty coffee the way we wanted it to be experienced. A relaxed and welcoming atmosphere to enjoy our coffee. We learnt by doing – some things we did right, a lot of things we did wrong but eventually we learnt how to master most of it. Koppi has been our home over the last decade, the place we have spent more hours than we can count. We have hosted parties, competitions, book releases, birthday feasts, jazz concerts, pop-up dinners and even a memorial service. We have met so many awesome people, some of them every day, some of them once a year. Some of them have been neighbors from the same building block and some of them have come from the most distant places. And it is all of those incredible people – our guests, regulars, team members, friends and family – who have made this journey possible and made Koppi the company it is today. These past 10 years has been a beautiful, funny, hard, humbling and overall amazing journey where we have learnt more things than we could ever have imagined when we started. But now it is time for us to take our company in a new direction focusing on the roasting only. Our amazing neighbours out by the roastery – Brewski –will take over our location and turn it into what will probably be the best beer joint out there. The ambition is that Koppi will be open to public a few hours a week out at the roastery to keep the relationship with our amazing customers alive. More updates on this will follow over the next couple of months. Our last day being open is the 30th of December. Thank you everyone for your support! Much love! – Anne & Charles
But it's not all doom and gloom. Sprudge spoke with Koppi co-founder Anne Lunell a few weeks before this announcement, and she shared more with us about why the cafe is closing, and what to expect next from Koppi as a wholesale roaster.
Anne—we're sad to learn that Koppi will be closing its cafe. Can you tell us anymore about why you and Charles (Nystrand, Koppi co-founder) made this decision?
Well—it is not a big deal in some ways, but in another way I guess it is. We’ve been one of hte founders of the specialty coffee industry in Scandinavia, but a year ago or so Charles and I started thinking about it as we separated the roastery from the cafe. It proved hard to be as focused as we wanted on our main business, which is roasting, not the cafe.
The reason we’re doing it now, especially for myself, is that I’ve felt detached from the roasting, and I haven’t even been able to do one day a week at the roastery, which is what I feel really passionate about. I do all the green buying. I just want to refocus and move ahead; we're trying to make smart choices without having to get bigger or sell out. We want people to remember Koppi as something really cool and really nice where they had a positive experience, and now it's time for us to just refocus and work closer to the wholesale family now instead, and develop the online business.
It’s hard to explain but — I feel like the coffee shop is holding us back. And when I say that it’s not that we want to grow the company, necessarily, but we just want to be better, and we want to take the roasting as far as we can.
How many wholesale clients do you currently work with?
There are a lot of rotating ones, but it's about a hundred or a hundred and fifty or so, all across Europe and in Asia as well, plus a couple in Canada. I think our goal at the end of the day is to work longterm with likeminded businesses and keep stable relationships. A lot of the accounts we have are good friends as well. We’re trying to create something that is a bit more sustainable in a lot of aspects, and not have to, you know, chase new accounts and without being able to give good customer service. We prefer doing it more organically.
Is this about freeing up more time to focus on this part of the business?
Potentially. I think it will also be be easier to travel to origin, though I’ve been traveling the last couple of years a lot. Time is not really the concern. It’s more that we kind of want to just work differently, in a way that’s going to be better for our clients but also better for us.
Is the need for a cafe model less important these days for coffee brands like Koppi? With global distribution and online shipping and origin travel and so on, maybe the move towards wholesale-only will happen more?
Maybe it’s a terrible concept? Maybe it’s the new trend? The cafe has been essential for us, both financially and also branding wise, because in the start we were relying on the sales in the cafe to kind of back up the roastery and keep the company liquid. But now I think—or at least, I hope—that our brand is strong enough that people think of it when they think of Koppi they think of good quality and it stands on it own.
Helsingborg is a very small city, a very small market. It would be different in Copenhagen or London or New York. Last year was our best year for our business, the best year since we opened. We’re not going out of business. It’s more that the coffee shop doesn’t generate very much compared to the growing roastery, and that's where our head and heart is now.
What will become of the space?
Most likely Brewski, our neighbors at the roastery, will take over and do a beer and natural wine bar. And they’ll serve Koppi at it in one form or the other.
What's the last day for the cafe?
30th of December.
Jordan Michelman is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge.