Scandinavia has the highest levels of coffee consumption in the world, and has also fielded far more World Barista Champions than any other region. Third wave Scandinavian coffee is highly esteemed abroad, but there is still work to be done proselytizing the fancy coffee message to a wide audience of Scandinavians raised on endless cups of low quality, mass market beans (Gevalia, et al.) The goalpost may be getting closer though–first there was WBC champ Tim Wendelboe’s 12-part coffee education video series for AftenPosten (Norway’s largest newspaper), and now SAS Airlines have teamed up with six-time Danish Barista Champion Søren Stiller Markussen for a bold, and at times frankly odd, experiment in mile high coffee brewing.
Markussen is the owner of Great Coffee in Aarhus, Denmark, a coffee roastery and training school. Along for the ride from Copenhagen to London is a Scandinavian blogger named Nick Rasmussen, whom we swear we did not make up (Greggory Hullzenblogger style). Mr. Markussen brought their endeavor to our attention via email, at which time he shared his specific goals behind the mid-air Chemex-ery: “The purpose of the test was to see if it was possible to make the same quality of coffee on the ground as in the air and if it was manageable to serve all 170 passengers within 25 min.”
To document the endeavor along with their blogger, SAS hired a film crew who produced a thoroughly charming and incredibly Scandinavian video. Sadly, the video was only uploaded in 360p resolution, but we just had to share some of our favorite moments from it with you, blurry baristas be damned.
Being an excellent barista, Markussen starts by making a test batch for calibration.
In fact, the whole situation seems really quite calibrated.
Markussen explains the finer folds of Chemex technique to the air crew, who may have not yet fully warmed to the idea.
Markussen gets into a brewing routine, calmly filling 4 large breakable glass objects with hot water at 35,000 feet.
The quite accommodating crew gets into the rhythm, running fresh cups up and down the plane.
Sidebar: this guy’s many bracelets.
The film crew is allowed into the cockpit, capturing some SAS Airlines pilot coffee consumption satisfaction. This seems ill-advised and surely against some sort of NATO ordinance, but look at this guy: he’s stoked!
For even more Scandinavian fun, watch the whole extravaganza for yourself below.
As Rasmussen says to finish his blog, “For me, Søren, the crew and I think for many of the passengers this is a flight to remember.” We can include ourselves on that list now, all of us sharing this moment.