For the month of February we are accompanied by a fellow nordic roaster. FRUKT from Turku in Finland, founded by Samuli Pääkkönen in 2018.
Not only being generally a super nice guy, Samuli is also really driven and quality-focused. Having worked as a roaster at one of the most famous specialty-coffee roasteries Coffee Collective in Denmark, he strives for an authentic experience with his coffees.
Get to know Samuli and the coffees roasted by him. If you just want to get to the brewing recipes - scroll to the end of the article - although this is such a great read that I don't think you'd like to miss out on it!
How did you get into coffee?
- I got into coffee fairly late. Started drinking coffee as a past time thing at my first job at age 22. Year into it I discovered Moccapot and started buying coffee from a local roaster from their coffee shop in town.
I got my first coffee grinder and started looking for filter brews and pour overs at the burgeoning coffee scene in Helsinki and Stockholm that I often visited in 2014. Fast forward to discovering what Specialty Coffee was I was so much into it I quit my job and started an internship at the local roastery called Turun Kahvipaahtimo. I ended up working there for over 3 years as a roaster and the only person employed by the business full time. It was a steep learning curve for all things coffee.
Before starting up your own roastery, you worked at Coffee Collective in Copenhagen, what were some of the lessons you learned there?
- After starting my coffee career at Turun Kahvipaahtimo I wanted to move away from Turku and started to look for opportunities elsewhere. This was on 2017. I knew Mikaela from the Coffee Collective and reached out to her to see if they had any open positions in the bar or anywhere else. Turned out that they were looking for a roaster to jump in on production. And so I had pretty much two weeks to figure out how to be in Copenhagen for the job.
It was a substitute role for a production roaster at the Coffee Collective roastery. And I must say that Coffee Collective was the first International Specialty Coffee roaster I came across and one I have always been looking up for very much in all ways coffee. It was a dream job in many ways for me. I had and still have so much respect for the business and the people involved.
I guess the biggest lesson would be the fact that literally everything related to the job was exactly the same as before in my old job as a roaster. I knew the job. Obviously many details were better but in the end roasting was as I knew it. And we did a lot of that. Working as a part of the team made all the difference however.
How did you take the leap into starting your own coffee-business?
- I was still in Copenhagen when I first heard of a possibility to opening a small roastery in the upcoming Kakola neighbourhood in Turku. Kakola is this old prison estate in the middle of the town overlooking the harbour of Turku. There was a restaurant Pop Up going on and there were news of a craft brewery opening soon. General idea was that what used to be a prison would be turned into luxury apartment neighbourhood with specialty and quality focused small businesses. My now wife who I had just met in 2017 was working on building her sourdough bakery in Kakola. She had already talked with the developer about a suitable space for a coffee roastery too on the side. So in early 2018 it was up to me to come up with the plans and everything to take the idea into reality.
Having worked in small businesses before and having seen first hand how a roasting operation works and so on I had a pretty realistic picture of what we needed in terms of finance and what it was like to run a small business. Also having had a relatively low income for years working in coffee I had no high hopes for the financial status of an entrepreneur being any better. Jokes aside, I think I knew pretty much the essential stuff and also had loads of help from others in the process. And a lot of it was being in the right place at the right time.
You’ve been going on since 2018, how has that journey shaped you?
- I guess the biggest thing I have learned is that you always need to have two things on your mind constantly. This is if you want to be happy with what you have. Two thoughts. One, what we are the goals we want to accomplish. Two, acknowledge and appreciate what we have already accomplished and all the amazing things we have done and do on a regular basis. I think this might be the key to feeling happy and how to not lose sight of your vision for the business while not being overly satisfied with staying where you are at the moment.
How is the coffee scene in Turku?
- The Turku coffee scene is super small. We have a handful of nice coffee shops but Specialty Coffee is really small. There are places that have good filter from a local roaster but are more focused on bread, pastry and other than coffee. Turku is really missing a proper Third Wave Coffee shop.
I have to say that our friends at bageri Å and Cafe Victor at the Turku Art Museum have the best coffee in town.
You also have your own kiosk you run during summer time, can you tell us more about it?
- Yes, absolutely. I knew there was this awesome old kiosk in the Turku Central Railway Station Park. It has had on and off tenants during the summer but not for the past few years. I heard it was owned by the city of Turku so I just hit them up and now we are renting the kiosk for the near future. It is called KIOSK by Frukt. We only operate during the brief Nordic summer. The summer 2021 was our first. It was very very nice!
The kiosk is actually from the 1920’s so it’s quite old. We have La Marzocco Linea Mini and we do espresso based drinks as well as batch brew obviously. Also some popsicles and soft drinks and some sourdough buns and croissants from bageri Å.
Onto the coffees!
MARIO MORENO - HONDURAS
Region: Las Vegas, Santa Barbara
Altitude: 1650 masl
Producer: Mario Moreno
This beautiful example of the Pacas variety was produced by Mario Moreno, a family member of the Moreno family who has played an important role within coffee in the Santa Barbara region in Honduras.
The Moreno family started producing coffee in 1963 following the purchase of El Campo, a plantation that is still in production and now managed by his seven sons: Miguel, Mario, Jesus, Gerardo, Olvin, Mabel and Danny.
In addition to El Campo, the brothers inherited their own farms from their father, who divided his farm, El Filo, into lots for each son. Together the Morenos built a wet mill, raised beds, and solar dryers to process and prepare specialty coffee. This enables the family to be in control of the whole chain of production and processing of the coffee, allowing them to produce truly extraordinary coffees.
CHINGA - KENYA
Altitude: 1795 masl
Producer: Going Factory
Variety: SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, Batian
This exciting coffee is produced by Chinga Factory and the small farmers from the local community near the processing station in Nyeri, Kenya. Chinga Factory is part of the Farmer Cooperative Society named Othaya.
This is a coffee from a new project in Kenya by Long Miles Coffee Project. The original Long Miles Coffee Project has been helping local coffee farming communities in Burundi to improve their coffee production, find access to the Specialty Coffee market and to have a better price paid for the coffee that they produce. The new project in Kenya is following up with the same vision and integrity.
Altitude: 1550-1650 masl
Producer: Ana Mustafá
This lot is semi-washed and what Ana refers to as fed-batch processing. The coffee cherries for this lot are picked every day for three days and left to ferment in a fermentation tank in layers. The first days picking is in the bottom and every day for three days they add another layer of fresh coffee cherries on top. The fermentation is controlled and after the process the coffee is washed. This process yields an interesting and crazy fruity and clean cup. With just enough funk.
What are your go-to brewing recipes for filter and for espresso that can be applied to the featured coffees?
- My go-to recipe for filter is always 60g of coffee to 1 litre of water. Sometimes I might go for 1:16 with the V60 but usually it’s the 1:16,666. For home I always tend to have 25 clicks on the Comandante and rarely go far from it. Always try and keep it simple really.
For espresso I typically enjoy a bit more “traditional” Specialty style espresso. Ratio of 1:2 or 1:25 for the most part. With African coffees I might go 1:3 but I tend to enjoy a bit more mouthfeel rather than slight lack of it and more juicyness and aromatics. Depends a lot on the coffee though. But again, stay in the basics and don’t try too hard. And don’t be too critical. It’s very hard to enjoy the drink if you always concentrate on what you could have done better!