Lehmus Roastery – The spunky Finnish roastery searching for its place

Lehmus Roastery is a Finnish coffee roastery based in Lappeenranta. They arrived with a storm, taking the title of The Coffee Roastery of the Year 2017 by a popular vote, and established themselves as a solid roastery. How far have they come in a few years, and what should we expect from them?

Lehmus Roastery enters the stage

They arrived into the Finnish market a few years ago (Finnish article), making a lot of publicity with their fresh ideas and their small coffee roastery in the city of Lappeenranta.

The young entrepreneurs brought forward the world of coffee, with freshly roasted beans and specialty coffee, to the common people. They succeeded. Their outward energy, their product packaging and their enthusiasm shows, and many have turned to Lehmus Roastery coffee for a special morning joe.

They have named their basic range of coffees after local locations, which pulled in local love, linking memories to the coffee they offer. Their general roast profile seems to favour mid-dark to dark roasts, with a selected few lighter ones.

Kettu (fox) coffee, mid dark roast
Kettu (fox) coffee, mid dark roast

Lehmus Roastery also provides limited editions, including whisky aged beans (“Oligarkki”), seasonal city fox coffee, and Rocko Mountain Yirgacheffe beans. They also have a selection of apparel and coffee soap, which is a fresh addition to their selection. Their brand around coffee appreciation is verified with awards and customer satisfaction.

It’s tough being a coffee roaster

We have sampled their coffee beans from day zero, one of the first to try their selection at launch. We have also tried their special editions, more notably the city fox coffees and the whisky cask coffee (obviously). I loved how, in the beginning, they posted the individual coffee bags as is in the mail, using the packaging as a marketing trick as the packet made its way in the postal system.

The quality of the beans is good, but not exceptional. It felt that the beans and the roasts work as filter, but they are unmemorable, they don’t quite stick. Where are the exploding specialty coffee flavours that the other roasteries work with? If I had to choose one, it would be the Myllysaari Light Roast – It held the flavour of the original coffee beans best without an overpowering roast flavour.

Lehmus Roastery Myllysaari Light Roast coffee beans
Lehmus Roastery Myllysaari Light Roast

When you sell a special whisky cask aged coffee, the focus is on balance. We have tried plenty of whisky coffees of varying quality, and balance between coffee and the whisky is always a top discussion:

  • Is it too smokey?
  • Is the whisky flavour overpowering the coffee?
  • How does the flavour develop in different brew methods?

The “Oligarkki” whisky cask beans from Lehmus Roastery struggled with balance and the overwhelming bourbon taste, and I’m afraid the 19,90€ / 200g price tag was not justified for this experiment. It looks great and is marketed well, and it will definitely be an experience for the common coffee consumer, but the flavour doesn’t quite deliver for the more demanding coffee consumer. Not yet.

Lehmus Roastery Oligark Bourbon Bourbon - Whisky coffee
Lehmus Roastery Oligark Bourbon Bourbon – Whisky coffee

Keep it up!

It’s true, we are picky when it comes to specialty coffee. However – The roastery is almost there. Their enthusiasm is off the charts, and we are really looking forward to their future experiments and flavour profiles, as the journey in coffee roasting and educating the common coffee lover holds a long learning curve.

More coffee roasteries only make the Finnish scene better, as they learn and develop together with our ever-evolving consumer space.

We are looking forward to more from these Lappeenranta fellows. Keep it “leso”, fellas.

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