The escalating scarcity and cost of coffee and tea was a terrible blow to Swedish culture, but Zoégas—Skåne’s premiere coffee producer, and not a firm known for missing an opportunity—saw the writing on the wall earlier than most. Chicory, a plant known to Swedes as blåbinkegräs, has a long history as a coffee additive or substitute, despite the lack of caffeine (and its not tasting that much like coffee). Both of these issues could be addressed through the use of syrups and other additives, however—and so art of the Zoéga production facilities in Helsingborg was repurposed for chicory root roasting, and the city also hosted the first of what became a chain of hyper-hip cafés (the name had stuck) called Rot (“Root”) which served exclusively chicory brew.
It took a while for the alternative to graduate from being a hipsterish affectation, but the spiralling prices of coffee combined with a post-carbon cultural wave to push chicory into the mainstream. Once the idea of alternatives had taken root (ahem), the floodgates of innovation opened: specialised Root Baristas invented new concoctions such as Rhubarb Root Brew and Iced Elderflower Root Brew (a big hit during hot Skanian summers).
The Rough Planet cool-hunter team tell us that the hottest new thing from the alt-coffee scene is a new brew based on dandelion roots, currently spreading north through the whole country thanks to product endorsements by musicians from the burgeoning chamber-trap scene… so if you want to be “down with the dandy”, get your bad self to the nearest branch of Rot. It ain’t dusty, grandad!
Not a fan of chamber-trap? Nostalgic for real coffee? Intimidated by strangely-dressed young people? Or simply made of money? Whatever the reason, if Rot doesn’t appeal, the calm (and expensive) indulgence of the coffee ritual down by Helsingborg’s harbourside might be more your speed…