Arvid Nordquist Molto—big & bold!

If you like your coffee dark, big, bold, intense, pungent and full-bodied, ”Molto” from Arvid Nordquist would be a good choice.

Nordquist markets ”Molto” as an espresso in the Italian style. It is made of 100% organic Arabicas from South and Central America, Indonesia and Eastern Africa. The company describes the blend as ”balanced and gentle with notes of cacao.” They also say that it has a ”sweet aroma of almonds that develops into an intense dark flavour with discreet hints of licorice root.” On the bag, you can also find the usual ”Nordquist” categories:

  • Roasting: Espresso (10/10)
  • Acidity: Discrete (4,5/10)
  • Spiciness: Sweet (5/10)
  • Body: Rich (6,5/10)
  • Fruitiness: Berry Like (5,5/10)
  • Nut Chocolate: Roasted Almonds (5,5/10)

OK, what did I think of it?

Was it balanced? In my opinion, yes. Gentle? In a way, yes. There was no harshness whatsoever. Rich? Absolutely. Sweet? Maybe a little. At least it was not as earthy as some ”real” (read: Italian) espresso blends. That would be understanable: there is no Robusta in this. What about the licorice root or the ”Berry Like” quality? At least I didn’t detect them. Also, for me the ”Roasted Almonds” thing was almost nonexistent.

I kept saying to myself: ”Dark, bitter chocolate. That’s all I can think of.”

All things considered, I don’t think ”Molto” is very similar to most Italian espressos—there is no Robusta in it, and it is roasted a lot darker. Actually, in my opinion, the darkness of the roast covers up many of the nuances that the company talks about. This makes ”Molto” a pretty staightforward and ”one note” type of blend. But that’s fine. If that’s what you want in your cup, try it! You might like it!

Arvid Nordquist Amigas—”Starbucks” without the ”Starbucks note”

Since I’ve always enjoyed Swedish coffee, I decided to check out the Arvid Nordquist blends that I hadn’t had yet—or at least the ones that are available at my local supermarket.

The first one was this: Amigas.

The bag description is mostly about the people who produce the coffee. Nordquist tells us, for example, that depending on supply, at least 50% of this coffee is produced by women, who otherwise are often left with limited possibilities in the rural areas of the countries where coffee is produced. That’s all very good.

The company doesn’t provide a lot of information about the ingredients. They only say that Amigas is made of ”100% quality Arabica beans.” On their website they add that the Arabicas are from Peru.

Nordquist calls this blend (my translation) extra dark, powerful and balanced. As for the flavor profile, they say the following:

  • Roasting: Extra Dark (9/10)
  • Acidity: Pleasant (6/10)
  • Spiciness: Chocolate (5/10)
  • Body: Balanced (7,5/10)
  • Fruitiness: Sweet Citrus (8/10)
  • Nut Chocolate: Marzipan (6/10)

OK, that sounds pretty accurate.

The overall feel was classic Nordquist: bold, really bold. This is the one thing I like about their approach. Unlike some Finnish coffee companies, Nordquist has the guts to be what they are. It’s like: ”These are the flavors we want you to taste. Take it or leave it.” Whatever the roast level, there is nothing subdued about their blends.

On the other hand, Amigas was not quite as multifaceted as, say, Reko by the same company. The roasting (really dark!) seemed to cover some of the nuances that probably would have been there otherwise. For instance, the chocolate and marzipan were detectable, but they remained in the back seat, while the dark intensity took the wheel. The same was true of the ”sweet citrus” thing: yes, the overall feel was somewhat acidic, but without reading the bag description, I wouldn’t have thought it actually tasted like citrus.

However, I never got the impression that Amigas was roasted this dark in order to cover up the lesser quality of the beans (which unfortunately seems to be what some coffee companies on this side of the Gulf of Bothnia tend to do). The quality seemed perfectly fine.

All in all, Amigas was just like the other Arvid Nordquist blends: it was not exactly gourmet coffee, but at the same time, it was almost up there with your Espresso House or Starbucks products. Actually, it was a lot like many dark roasted Starbucks blends, only without the ”Starbucks note.” If that’s what you like, try it!

Revisited: Arvid Nordquist Reko—I still like it a lot!

Recently, someone asked me: ”If you had to buy one pack of coffee at the supermarket, what would you get?” I immediately replied: ”Arvid Nordquist Reko.”

This is a blend that has gained massive popularity among Finnish coffee drinkers. I have also enjoyed it many, many times over the years.

As I thought about it, I suddenly realized: While I had gone through several packs of the pre-ground version of this blend, I had never bought it in beans. I just had to go to the supermarket and get it.

So, without further ado:

Revisited: Reko from the big Swedish coffee company Arvid Nordquist.

As the company tells us, Reko is a ”Dark, powerful & spicy” blend (my translation), made from ”100% quality Arabica beans.” On the bag, they also provide the following information: ”A clean, nutty aroma. A full-bodied flavour with a wide acidity. A spicy aftertaste with a hint of liquorice.” They also say:

  • Roasting: Dark (8/10)
  • Acidity: Wide (7/10)
  • Spiciness: Licorice (6/10)
  • Body: Rich (8/10)
  • Fruitiness: Black currant (6/10)
  • Nut chocolate: Dark chocolat (sic) (6/10)

All of this is pretty accurate, I would say.

Flavorwise, Reko is not the easiest blend to describe. On the one hand, it’s quite simple and ”one note.” On the other hand, though, it’s pretty complex. There’s a lot going on. I can detect the following flavors:

  • dark chocolate
  • vanilla
  • nuttiness
  • (baking?) spices
  • rootiness
  • licorice
  • creosote
  • leather
  • smokiness

On the whole, Reko is not particularly sweet. There are no dried fruit flavors (figs or raisins) to speak of. (If that’s what you are looking for, check out Pascucci Guatemala!) But Reko is not particularly dry, either. It never feels as if something is missing. It’s a very solid and full flavored blend.

One of the great things about Reko is that it’s really predictable, in a good way. It does exactly what you expect. Even different brewing methods do not alter the flavor profile significantly. They do alter the strength, obviously, but even then you can always tell that it’s your trusty old Reko. And by the way—surprisingly, perhaps—, it really doesn’t matter whether you get it in beans so that you can change the grind size, or just go with the pre-ground version. It doesn’t make a big difference, if you ask me.

If you really want to find out what this blend is about, brew it in a moka pot. Beware, you will feel it. I just love it that way. I have to say, though, that since Reko is pretty bold and big, after your third cup you might want to have something lighter for a change. But then you can try it in the regular coffee maker. It just works every time. Also, it’s great with the AeroPress. Very enjoyable.

Granted, Reko is not gourmet coffee, but then that’s not what it was created for. In my opinion, it is one of the very best grocery store coffees out there. I just won’t let you down. No wonder everyone likes it so much.

Arvid Nordquist Gran Dia—the breakfast blend

Lately, many of my international readers have been interested in what I have to say about cheaper coffees that are widely available in supermarkets. OK then, I’ll give you more grocery store coffee reviews!

Actually, just last week I had to find a basic coffee blend for our guests who prefer the familiar Scandinavian flavor profile to my Italian coffees. I decided to get this: Gran Dia from Arvid Nordquist, the big Swedish coffee company.

According to Nordquist, Gran Dia is 100% Arabica from Brazil, East Africa, Central America and Columbia. They also provide the following information (my translation):

Roast: medium dark 6/10

Acidity: citrusy 6/10

Spiciness: caramelly 4/10

Body: round 7/10

Fruitiness: rosehip 4/10

Nuttiness/chocolate: hazel nuts 6/10

I would say the description is pretty accurate. Gran Dia is acidic enough to satisfy the Finnish coffee drinker, but well-rounded and smooth enough to make it stand out from the Finnish competition. The body is medium full.

In my opinion, the main thing about this blend is the nuttiness. It is a rather bitter and dry nuttiness, however, and not the kind of sweet and round nuttiness you get in some other blends. There is a very small hint of caramel, but not enough to make the overall flavor particularly sweet. When I say the blend tastes bitter and dry, I don’t mean that it’s acrid or harsh in any way. I actually found the bitterness to be quite pleasant.

Honestly, I couldn’t detect the rosehip flavor at all, but there was a small amount of some kind of fruitiness in the background to balance out the dryness.

Obviously, this is not a gourmet coffee blend. It’s pretty simple and straightforward, but multifaceted enough to make it interesting. I think Nordquist is right in suggesting that it would be a good blend to have first thing in the morning, before your palate wakes up.

I don’t think Grand Dia will make it into my rotation, but it certainly is a good morning blend. In my opinion, it’s one of the better Scandinavian coffees you can find in your local supermarket.

Arvid Nordquist Giusto

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After consuming all the gourmet coffees I had in my cabinet (most of which were presented to me by friends), I decided to spend the rest of this year by checking out more affordable blends you can find in any supermarket. The first one is Giusto from @arvidnordquistkaffe, the big Swedish coffee company. A blend of 100% Arabicas from Indonesia, Central America, and Eastern Africa, Giusto is a very dark roasted, full bodied, powerful espresso style blend, with a delicious taste of dark, bitter chocolate. Maybe there's even a hint of liquorice, which makes you think of Reko from the same company. Overall, the taste is not very complex, but rather simple, almost monochromatic. However, this is by no means a negative thing. On the contrary, you have the feeling you get exactly what you expect. If you need a delicious, dark, no-nonsense espresso with a good price, Giusto is your choice. #giusto #arvidnordquist #bialettimoka #coffeereviews

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Arvid Nordquist Reko

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A friend brought me a pack of Reko, the popular dark roasted Arabica blend from Arvid Nordquist, the big Swedish coffee company. I've had it many times over the years, and liked it every time. This time I decided to try it in both my French press, and my trusty Bialetti Moka. The FP does bring out some of the characteristics of this blend – the nuttiness, the liquorice. However, as expected, the end product is a bit bland. It is in the Bialetti that Reko really shines: it's all about dark, nutty, spicy goodness, with a delicious hint of liquorice, not unlike the one in Moak Gusto Bar. Very tasty! Next time I'll have to get this in beans. #arvidnordquistreko #arvidnordquist #bialettimoka #Frenchpress #coffeereviews

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