Owned and operated by 2000 WBC champion Robert W. Thoresen and supplied by his roastery Kaffa, the two coffee shops, Java and Mocca, are among the finest in Oslo.
While working as an architect in San Francisco, Robert saw how the modern café culture was establishing itself there, and was inspired to create something similar in Norway.
At the time, there were very few informal cafés in Oslo, and fewer still that emphasised its role as part of a neighbourhood. With Java, opened 1997 in Sankthanshaugen, Robert wanted to create a so-called third place – an informal social arena outside of the two primary places: home and work. Since Java opened, it has become an integral part of the identity of many people who live in the area, in many ways becoming synonymous with Sankthanshaugen itself.
Robert and Java immediately took a leading role in the Norwegian specialty coffee industry, joining his understanding of urbanity, experiences from San Francisco and understanding of the Nordic coffee sensibility. Three years later, in 2000, Mocca opened its doors in Briskeby, an affluent part of the city, located near the palace. It featured a roaster and for a long time remained the only active coffee shop and roastery combination in Norway.
Java, the busiest of the two places, offers their black coffee batch brewed, or brewed to order using a variety of different methods – normally a syphon or Hario V60 pour over. The exterior has no signage, but it’s hard to miss, with its enormous windows and tiled interior.
Mocca, by contrast, is a quiet oasis, and an excellent place to relax and unwind. Black coffee is all brewed to order using the methods on the blackboard. While you’re visiting, stop by the Kaffa store next door, a showroom for the various products and wares Kaffa offers.
Be sure to ask your barista for a coffee recommendation. The staff are all both willing and able to guide you!
In 2005, the roasting part of the business was split off into a separate company, Kaffa. As business expanded, Robert began spending more and more of his time travelling, sourcing coffee from all over the world, amassing a wealth of knowledge, introducing new origins and exciting varietals.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the role Java, Mocca and Kaffa have played with regard to Nordic coffee culture. They helped create what grew organically into and came to define what is now considered the Nordic style of specialty roasting: high quality and transparent coffee with a definitive sense of place.