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.

Mainokset

Drop Coffee Roasters Samaichacha—fresh fruits and milk chocolate

Our friends moved back from Stockholm, Sweden, and brought us this: Samaichacha from Drop Coffee Roasters. Thank you so much!

Samaichacha is all about washed Caturra from Bolivia. On the label, the roastery provides the following information: ”A medium bodied cup, notes of crunchy pink apple and milk chocolate, with a floral hint. A lasting aftertaste and mouthfeel reminding of mature red wine.” The roast is medium-light at around 2/5.

As I ground the beans, I got a mouthwatering aroma of milk chocolate and fresh fruits, which made me think of some of the fantastic products from Turun Kahvipaahtimo.

I tried brewing the coffee in both my AeroPress (inverted, steel filter) and moka pot. Either way, I got a beautiful combination of juicy fruitiness (not as in the chewing gum, but in real fresh cut fruits) and milk chocolate. The fruitiness was always there, but the chocolate thing balanced it out nicely, and brought some nice higher midrange body to the flavor. Honestly, I didn’t detect any actual wine-like flavor, but the long finish did remind me of the way a good Merlot feels in the mouth.

Samaichacha is definitely a high quality product, no doubt about it. I really enjoyed it, especially in the morning. I guess I’ll have to crash at my brother’s place in Stockholm, and get some more!

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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Espresso House Organic Brew

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Something from the Western neighbor: Organic Brew from @espressohouse, the Swedish coffee shop chain. The second you insert your nostrils into the bag, you go "Medium roasted Colombian!“—which this is. But here, the familiar sweet nuttiness is accompanied, if not overpowered by a certain piquancy. Citrus? No, wait… marzipan! The aroma is sweet and delicious, but also makes you anticipate a healthy dose of acidity in the actual taste. They say (in my translation): "A well-balanced and sweet coffee with tones of stone fruit, caramel, and sweet citrus." I don't know what stone fruit tastes like, but otherwise the description sounds pretty accurate. Organic Brew may not knock my socks off, but it is definitely a fine product in its own right. If you like a good, well-balanced, basic straight Colombian, with some citrusy acidity, this might be a blend to check out. #espressohouse #organicbrew #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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Löfbergs Cumbia