From Norway to Estonia: Interview with Dyre Vaa

The EstoniaCoffee team brings you an interview with Dyre Vaa. As he is Norwegian, he didn’t talk that much, until we started talking about the amounts of coffee we drink. In the end, he gave me answers to 15 questions. 

EstoniaCoffee – Interview with Dyre Vaa

Interviewer: Jozo Salmanic, writer for EstoniaCoffee

Interviewee: Dyre Vaa, freelance graphic designer

Date: December 2022.

Meeting place: Paper Mill cafe (Viru), Tallinn.

EC: Who is Dyre Vaa? What does he do?

Dyre: I am a Norwegian that ended up in Estonia, working freelance as a motion graphic designer, and everything else.

EC: When did you move to Estonia, and was it much different than now? 

Dyre: I moved here in 2013, and yes, definitely, 2013 and now are different in many ways. First, a huge difference is in the offer, in stuff you can order in coffee shops and bars. And the coffee community is much larger now.

EC: What was the main difference between 10 years ago and now?

Dyre: I spent most of my time at university. Back then, the Old Town was the center, and Telliskivi Creative City was at the beginning, with just a couple of premises opened. Now you have four different mini-centers. That makes a difference. 

Norwegians love their dried fish – private gallery

EC: Where do you usually drink your coffee?

Dyre: At home.

EC: That’s the most common answer I hear these days. Is it because of the price or something else?

Dyre: No, it’s because I work from home. I usually drink coffee before dinner. Most of the coffee I had outside home was after dinner in a restaurant.

EC: The usual espresso after dinner?

Dyre: No. It can be espresso, or a normal black coffee, with or without cognac. I rarely drink espresso after dinner. Well, unless I am in Italy. When I am there, I just order coffee, and the barista gives me what is appropriate for that part of the day. For instance, espresso after dinner.

EC: What kind of coffee did you drink in Norway?

Dyre: Well, 10 years ago, I wasn’t going to cafes in Norway. I was in high school, and it was too expensive for me. But my grandmother, for instance, made coffee using a method we call kokekaffe. 

You bring water to a boil and remove it from the heat. Then you put coarsely ground coffee, mix, and let it steep for 4-5 minutes. Apparently, it is one of the most unhealthy ways to drink coffee, as oils remain unfiltered.

EC: What kind of coffee equipment do you have at home? 

Dyre: I use the French press every day. My girlfriend’s got the Moka pot, and we mainly make it on the weekend, when we have more time to make less coffee. And I have a cezve.

EC: How did your love for Turkish coffee happen? 

Dyre: You know, I don’t know. It was during my trip to Turkey or Greece. I mean, it’s the same coffee, but the Greeks call it Greek coffee. It is called Cypriot coffee in Cyprus. It looks great and tastes quite well. 

EC: Do you have a grinder or do you buy pre-ground coffee? 

Dyre: I have a grinder, but it’s one of these small ones. You can’t grind a lot of coffee with it. 

My everyday coffee is a mainstream Swedish brand, Lofbergs, and I use it for the French press. For Turkish coffee, I use Mehmet Efendi

I sometimes buy it from Turkish shops, but I mostly get it as a present from my Turkish friends. I also bring it from my travels, and I used to order it from Amazon. For Moka pot, we mainly use Lavazza.

cezve, French press, Moka pot, and blade grinder
Coffee gear – private gallery

EC: Do you think the coffee in Estonian coffee shops is too expensive?

Dyre: Definitely. The coffee industry has massive margins, and in my opinion, prices are too high.  

EC: How are you satisfied with the service quality in Estonia? 

Dyre: It depends on where you go. In most modern places, the service is quite good. But that is something that has changed over the years. 

Ten years back, modern premises were rare. A lot more of the canteen-like places existed. And the service there was usually accordingly as well. If you order something and get the wrong thing, you have to live with that. 

EC: Where did you try the best coffee ever?

Dyre: That’s a good question, comparable to beer or wine. People consume it a lot in life, and at one point, they start thinking about what they consume. 

It happened with beer here in the last decade. Craft culture is blooming, and if you still want to drink just regular beer, you have that option, too. Yeah, but I still haven’t reached that stage of my coffee drinking. For me, the occasion matters more.

EC: Are you happy with industrial coffee, or do you want to explore more?

Dyre: A bit of both, I guess. I am a consumer, but I never had the desire to learn more. Am I a coffee nerd? No. Am I a massive consumer? Yes. If you launch a consumer product, you should target me. 

I drink it the Scandinavian way – a lot of it. Just like Finns. It might not be the best coffee ever, but there is always a lot of it. When you want to consume a quantity, you go back to the basics. That’s why I drink coffee as I do – a grand quantity of French press on the weekdays, and then something nice on the weekend, when I can put some time and effort into it.

EC: Thank you for your time, Dyre

Dyre: Thank you.