It is now twenty years since Matts Johansson opened his first café in Vasastaden. But coffee itself was not his prime motivation. It was the desire to create a place for people to meet and talk.
– In the early nineties it suddenly became apparent that there were no places for people to meet in the urban environment, other than restaurants and pubs, which were still rather under-developed. Young people were living at home for longer, but they still needed some place to meet, says Matts.
His interest in people and the way they get together was sparked at a young age in Norrköping when he went to cafés with his dad, and later on when he spent countless hours in cafés in the USA, Australia and Italy.
– I was a café romantic and took the pulse of a city's cultural life by spending time in its cafés, he recalls.
In the process he acquired a passion for coffee, and in the mid-nineties he opened Caffe Espresso, which was one of the first in Gothenburg to serve espresso and latte. However it was another few years before he began focusing on speciality coffee, largely because the coffee roasters were unwilling to share their knowledge.
I was a café romantic and took the pulse of a city's cultural life by spending time in its cafés.
–They would just tell you it was grandfather's special recipe or a trade secret, says Matts, explaining that it was only when be became a judge in the World Barista Championship in the early 2000s and met colleagues from the trade in the USA and New Zealand that this new dimension opened up to him.
– The type of product I tasted in cafés there just wasn't available in Sweden.
Matts' new café – da Matteo – opened in 2003 in his own house on the island of Marstrand, north of Gothenburg.
–Da Matteo means Matts' house, of course, and that's still what makes this place special. It's my place. That was when I decided to open it up; to make it more public and accessible, and to work really hard on the coffee.
Four years later they began roasting their own coffee, and with help from knowledgeable agents among the coffee growers they focus on sustainability and quality. Here in Gothenburg they now have a café, sour dough bakery and coffee roasting shop on Magasinsgatan. This is where green beans from Africa, Central and South America are roasted to perfection in their eco-roasting process, while the day's bread is baked just metres away and the barista carefully adds the finishing touch to your coffee.
2013-06-18, updated 2015-01-18.
Da Matteo is located at the street Magasinsgatan 17A, but they also have cafés in Victoriapassagen, at the streets Vallgatan 5 and Sprängkullsgatan 10A.