Kaffebrenneriet (‘The Coffee Roastery’) is Oslo’s longest-running chain of coffee shops. Since opening their first shop in 1994, a stripped space in Oslo’s Bislett area, Thomas Pulpan and Steinar Paulsrud have built a thriving business that is now the single largest purchaser of Cup of Excellence coffee for the consumer market—globally. Today, KB has 27 locations, the vast majority of which are located in the Oslo area.
Much like Oslo’s Java and Mocca coffee shops, Kaffebrenneriet was started by entrepreneurs inspired by stays in San Francisco in the mid-90s, lamenting the lack of good espresso-based coffee on their return.
With their own training and cupping space, the so-called KaffeAkademiet (‘The Coffee Academy’), KB offers their baristas several courses in most aspects of modern specialty coffee, and fields competitors to the various barista competitions every year. 2013 was a particularly good year, with KB taking Coffee Shop of the Year, as well as the top spots in the latte art, coffee in good spirits (coffee and alcohol) and Ibrik competitions.
Kaffebrenneriet always offers between 16 and 20 different types of retail coffee at their locations, a range that is only occasionally matched by other coffee shops. They are deeply involved with Direct Trade and, as mentioned before, the Cup of Excellence auction system. In fact, among their employees are 12 internationally accredited Cup of Excellence judges, and last year they bought 17 lots—25 tons—of CoE coffee.
While most of the coffee is being roasted by one of the best roasteries in Norway, Solberg & Hansen, KB has also started roasting smaller lots in the old fire station—their new Grønland location.
KB’s longest Direct Trade relationship is with Maria and Javier Botto of El Salvador, dating back to 2007. In addition, they have made it somewhat of a Christmas tradition to purchase their Julekaffe (‘Christmas Coffee’) from Juan Luis Barrios Ortega and the La Merced farm in Guatemala. The Julekaffe—in the spirit of Christmas—also raises money for La Merced, and since 2007 KB has helped finance running water, toilets, roofing, and even a a computer lab!
Black coffee at KB is offered as a daily selection of two different batch brewed coffees in all locations. Pour over brew bars are being rolled out where possible, and are available in 6 locations so far.