James Perry is passionate about Nordic-style coffee.
He had previously worked at Canberra coffee roasters Red Brick, and further developed his love for Nordic coffee with a pop-up with Swedish-style bakery Under in Mawson. He transitioned to an online shop during COVID-19, selling bags of coffee beans from some of his favourite international and Australian roasters.
When travel was once again a possibility, he and partner Laura Doherty took off on a trip to visit some of the people who are roasting, brewing and serving the kind of coffee they love. They’ve now taken the leap and opened up Bedst coffee shop in Canberra to showcase their passion.
So what exactly is Nordic coffee? James explained:
“The main thing with Nordic coffee is they tend to roast their coffee beans a lot lighter to preserve more of the natural characteristics of where the coffee is from,” he said.
While many coffee roasters tend to aim for a fairly dark roast that brings out chocolate, caramel, and nutty flavour profiles, the Nordic coffee style errs towards a roast that is several shades lighter. This results in a coffee that allows more subtle, fruity flavours to shine.
“Roasting the beans lightly brings out those floral qualities. Usually in Australia you get an 11- or 12-minute roast. [But Nordic-style roasters are] finishing at nine and a half minutes which is just way faster and you just get to preserve all those kinds of interesting flavours,” said James.
He also tells me that, per capita, Finland has the highest coffee consumption in the world with Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden also at the top end of the list. So it’s not surprising that these coffee loving countries have developed their own tastes and styles.
Most Australian businesses print a ‘roasted on’ date on their bags because the beans lose quality over time. But lighter Nordic-style roasts keep longer and actually develop in flavour. James says he gets the best results between three and 12 weeks after roasting. Instead of a ‘roasted on’ date, Nordic coffees print a bedst før (best before) date which is where James has taken the name for his business.
The Bedst coffee shop is a small space on Allara Street, opposite the casino. They have a small selection of pastries from either Under Bakery or Knead Patisserie (depending on the day). Milk coffees are made using the Sweet Tooth blend from Sample Coffee – Sydney based roasters who are also inspired by the Nordic style.
But those looking to really get the most out of the experience should ask James to showcase one of the specialty blends with a pour over coffee.
“We can showcase the fruity qualities. We can showcase the notes of where it’s come from and how it’s being processed. And for me, it also makes for a little bit more of an approachable coffee as well.
“If you’re used to really dark roast coffee and then you taste something like this, it’s gonna be kind of a complete opposite.”
For this coffee he is currently using beans called Pineapple Express which is a light and fruity coffee with notes of pineapple and lychee.
James also demonstrates how these beans change the experience of a simple espresso, which they make with slightly more water than a regular short black. The result is still a strong taste with slight acidity but no bitterness or lingering toasted flavours.
If you’re just looking for your daily caffeine boost and not fussed about the intricacies of international roasting styles, don’t panic, Bedst makes a killer flat white with no fuss.
Bedst stocks bags of beans from their favourite Nordic-style roasters as well as brewing equipment. James has a wealth of knowledge about how to get the best out of your coffee at home, and also has compiled a comprehensive brew guide on the website.