Travelling the coffee globe, I get to hang out in some pretty interesting places and meet plenty of inspiring people. On a recent trip to Korea, I spent a few days exploring Seoul with Swedish Barista Champion, Costas Pliatsikas. Costas was visiting Café Show in Seoul, looking to purchase a 25 kg roaster for his business back in Sweden.
Costas, who was born in Greece, married a Swedish lady and moved over to Sweden in 1998 to start a family and a business. He runs a successful café/restaurant called Café Costas in the city of Umea. This was the first Greek style restaurant/café in this city of 110,000 people. The café also boasts an in house roaster supplying fresh roasted coffee to the caffeine hungry Swedes.
Costas is well known in Scandinavia as a competitive barista. In 2006 he finished third in the World Latte Art Competition, and in 2007 he represented Sweden in Japan at the World Barista Championship and also won the Nordic Cup in that same year. Costas is preparing to make a comeback in 2013, once he stabilises his growing coffee business in Sweden.
Café Costas has around 500 customers a day, and he has been instrumental in changing the coffee drinking habits in his city. His big goal is to convert more northern Swedes to drinking more espresso based beverages instead of the traditional filter coffee. The Swedes are big coffee consumers, drinking around 12 kg per person annually. He believes he lives in the perfect coffee drinking environment, with long, cold and dark winters where caffeine is a friend to all. The City of Umea is a far cry from the Mediterranean lifestyle he left behind in Greece, so his Swedish family enjoy the annual pilgrimage back to Greece to visit the Costas crew and to escape the cold, snowy conditions.
Costas, with his new larger 25 kg Proaster drum roaster, will now be able to concentrate more on this side of the coffee business, with quicker roasting and bigger volumes from the new equipment. He is very keen on training and can see the industry in northern Sweden growing with education and a better supply of fresh roasted coffee, especially using high quality green bean sourced direct from origin. Costas is also witnessing a boom in the home espresso market, supplying equipment into this marketplace and conducting regular home espresso schools.
So for the adventurer who is travelling in northern Sweden, drop in and meet Costas and enjoy his passion and café culture.
The City of Umea is a far cry from the Mediterranean lifestyle he left behind in Greece, so his Swedish family enjoy the annual pilgrimage back to Greece to visit the Costas crew and to escape the cold, snowy conditions.