I opened Google Maps on my iPhone and searched for “coffee.” A familiar name popped up: Jacu Coffee Roastery. We had just landed at Vigra airport outside Ålesund, with six hours to kill in the city. I figured a place to work, which also served good coffee, would be the best choice. Jacu was well-known to me as an excellent coffee roaster, but to find they had a coffee shop too was a pleasant surprise. A taxi was available outside – “Parkgata 18, please.”
A friendly welcome and Excellent service
Alas! The store didn’t open until 10 AM. There we stood on the streets outside Jacu, with a big suitcase in the cold, humid, and foggy Sunnmøre weather. I spotted some people inside, though, and figured it was worth a shot to ask. “Excuse me, but we’re only here for a few hours and need a place to sit. Is there any chance we could come inside before you open?” It would have been so easy for them to point at the door, and ask us to come back in one hour. But they didn’t, and that tells a lot about the level of service at this place. The good people at Jacu didn’t just let us in, they even offered us coffee once the equipment was cleaned and set up.
Once the coffee shop was actually open for business, we asked if they had any food. “Right over there,” the female barista said, and pointed towards a basket which she had just filled with freshly baked goods – both sweet and savory. “Please, help yourself, and just tell us what you had when we settle the bill.” You know you’re in a small city when you meet this kind of trust-based self-service. I love it! We bought two cinnamon buns and a sandwich with butter and Norwegian brown cheese (you make the sandwiches yourself, of course).
Two guys, a girl, and a coffee place
I just called Ålesund a small city, but it is actually Norway’s 10th largest urban area with more than 50.000 inhabitants – and the largest urban area located on islands. In this seaport in Sunnmøre, two guys and a girl decided to open a coffee roastery. Anne Birte and Oliver Hanken is the couple, who started Jacu in September 2011 together with Gunnar Lillevold. The name is taken from the Brazilian Jacu bird who loves coffee berries and only picks the best ones. Talking about coffeeberries, I first learned about Jacu Coffee Roastery because they actually roast all the coffee for the Sandnes- and Stavanger-based coffee shops Coffeeberry! Mmmm … that Scandinavian, light-roasted deliciousness.
Similar to the bird, Jacu Coffee Roastery is also extremely selective in their choice of high-quality suppliers of coffee beans. They only do direct trade with coffee farmers and work mostly with organically produced coffee. Around 11 AM we realized that Jacu was an extremely popular place for coffee lovers in this region. The old electrical substation – now roastery – was packed! Later on, I learned that the coffee shop is in fact only open between 10 AM and 1 PM on Fridays! What are the odds that we were here at that exact time?! A strike of luck … Thanks for taking so good care of us, Jacu!
What’s your favorite coffee shop across Norway? Please share in a comment below.