Meet the owners of Drop Coffee

For those who don’t know us, allow us to introduce ourselves. We’re Joanna Alm Leighton and Stephen Leighton and together we own and operate Drop Coffee Roasters in Stockholm, Sweden. With help from our small but mighty team of skilled roasters, baristas and management personnel, we carefully source, roast, and serve high-quality specialty coffee to people from all over the world. We’re forward-thinking, fully independent, and tirelessly committed to the meticulous standards we set for ourselves in sustainability, flavour, and craftsmanship. Simply put, for us every drop counts.

Back in 2010, the coffee scene in Sweden was far more limited than it is today. Filter coffee was seen as a cheap, refillable option, and no one talked about specialty coffee. It was around this time that Joanna, who had already gained years of invaluable experience as a barista in Oslo, was competing and travelling to coffee-producing countries. Upon her return to Sweden, she was unsuccessful in finding a supplier of the high-quality coffees she’d come to love, and decided to start roasting for herself. 

Today, Joanna is a three-time Swedish Coffee Roasting Champion who has repeatedly ranked among the top three roasters in the world. She remains committed to exclusively roasting single-origins, without differentiating roast profiles between espresso and drip, and always including the producer’s name on packaging. As an advocate for equitability in the coffee industry, Joanna helped found the Coffee Roasters Guild of Europe, where she served as Chair of Sustainability. She’s currently on the board directors of the SCA and frequently lends her expertise as a judge at coffee competitions throughout the world. Joanna has also written her own book, Manifest För Bättre Kaffe.

Stephen’s interest in coffee first began as a child in the UK, when his mother would take him to a local shop that had a roaster in the basement and sold coffees from a handful of origins. He started experimenting with brewing at home and quickly noticed the friends and community it fostered around him. He went on to found the European coffee icon, HasBean, which 20 years later he sold. Along the way he developed his popular coffee podcast “Tamper Tantrum” and helped establish the Irish specialty coffee powerhouse 3FE, in which he also has a stake. A tireless entrepreneur with a deep knowledge of all things coffee, Steve has recently even ventured into coffee farming, founding Finca Sunderland in Nicaragua, which will soon be yielding its first harvest.

We first met at the World Barista Championships in Seattle, where Drop Coffee was representing Sweden and Stephen was emceeing the competition. Later, Joanna got invited to talk about her roasting philosophy on Tamper Tantrum. Joanna had recently made the decision to buy exclusively from producers whom Drop Coffee had personally visited, which reduced Drop’s origin portfolio by over half. With 15 years of prior experience in sourcing, Steve understood and agreed with her vision, and in 2015 we decided to become business partners.

Our joint mission is to work closely and genuinely with producers for the long run, buying green coffees scoring over 87 points in cupping, and carefully roasting them with the bright, clear and sweet profile for which Drop Coffee has become known. Together we regularly travel to all of the origins of our coffees and also host many of our producers here at home in Sweden. We’re now married and live together in Stockholm, where we’re soon expecting our second child. As our family grows, we also look forward to continuing to grow our Drop family by finding and highlighting incredible coffee from amazing people throughout the world, and roasting them fresh before delivering directly to your door or favourite coffee shop.

Find out more

Our roastery is located in Rosersbergs Industrial Area, a five-minute drive from Rosersberg train station. We have been roasting all our coffee on our turquoise 25 kilos Diedrich, since 2013.