24 July 2009

Oh coffee, my coffee

I miss Swedish coffee. I miss Swedish coffee a whole lot.

I brought home two "bricks" of Zoegas (brand name) Skåneroast (roast "flavor") and I shipped a couple of bricks of Gevalia (another brand). I say bricks because that is what the 500 gram packages look like; bricks.

I kept one of the Zoegas, gave one to my mother, and I am still waiting patiently for a package to arrive that I mailed from Ängleholm on May 19th. Sigh.

I used the last of my brick of Zoegas this week. Not to worry, though, I have found an online supplier; two, in fact.

One is an importer that operates out of Fort Bragg, NC, and it appears that all they do is import Zoegas. Their website is clunky, but it appears that they have every single roast that Zoegas makes, from the very light roast to the darkest and oiliest roasted beans available. Whole bean, or in the brick format. Unfortunately, when I tried to order the whole beans, their website took the order form and turned it into a bunch of gibberish, opened Microsoft Word as an e-mail editor (GAH!) and did nothing else. I've sent a normal, regular e-mail to them asking what was up, but I'm guessing that they're going to tell me "no dice" for the whole bean.

The other online supplier intrigues me more, as it is based in Sweden, and appears to be a mom-and-pop enterprise dedicated to bringing Swedish expatriates a taste of home. A translated name of their website would be "The Homesickness Boutique". That makes me laugh right there. Their website is less clunky, although still not like the smoothly navigable e-commerce sites that I think we all expect these days. It forces you to look at page after page of groceries, all under the heading of "food", (no further categorization) but on the upside, they have a few other things that were in my lost box, like the orange marmalade.

They carry Digestiv crackers/cookies, too. Digestivs are kind of like graham crackers, but they have a more mild taste than graham crackers. They're good with cool whip on them, but they're also really good with a mild cheese, lending themselves to both sweet and savory alternatives. I brought only one package of them home with me in May (transporting them is a pain, they're VERY fragile) and of course, they're gone. Want. More.

Then there are the books. They have a wide assortment of trashy novels, both books that are by Swedish authors written in Swedish, and books that are by American and Brit authors that have been translated into Swedish.

I spent a merry hour or so cruising around The Homesickness Boutique, adding everything that caught my eye at will to my shopping cart. The grand total for this? SEK 1,044, not including any possible duties, tarrifs, or customs fees. Just $135, for 4 paperback books, a jar of marmalade, two packages of crackers, and one brick of coffee. Ouch. I did not click the "order now" button after seeing the total. Oh, but I want to.

The proprietors of Butik Hemlängtan are also willing to search out anything else you'd like from the grocery store or the chemists' in Sweden. I'm fighting the urge to e-mail them and ask them to ship me the Bliw Björk & Äng soap, whole bean coffee, and to ask them to run to Apotek, the state-run pharmacies/chemists' to fetch some lip balm that I fell in love with. The soap and the lip balm, as best as I can determine from extensive research (read: wasting huge chunks of time surfing teh interweb) can't be purchased in America.

Well, that's not exactly true. The soap, at least, is a no-go. So far, every online store that I've come across that sells Bliw in the US does not have my prefered scent. And all the Swedish websites that do sell it, well, they won't ship it to the US.

The lip balm, however, is of a skin-care brand carried widely here in the US, Eucerin. Unfortunately, the lip balm isn't part of the US line of products Eucerin sells. Bugger! I even called Eucerin's customer relations; first they told me that there is no such thing as Eucerin Lip Balm in the US. I asked the clerk to look at the web site I was looking at;


and whaddya know, they did have it once upon a time, but that's an "old product line and shouldn't be on the web at all".

eBay has the lip balm (but not the soap) at the completely outrageous price of $11.39 for a 4 gram tube. $11.39! For lip balm! WHAT? From a seller located in Thailand. I knew the dollar is rather weak right now, but I wouldn't think the exchange rate was so out of whack that it would turn from 23 SEK ($2.50) to $11.39. Yeesh.

So if we added the lip balm, the soap, and the whole bean coffee to the novels, marmalade and cookies/crackers, we're looking at about $150 worth of stuff from Sweden. Worth it? Le sigh. I think so, but money talks, and I'm not spending that money on those things at this time. Oh, coffee. I miss you.

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