I'm more than happy to admit that I was rash and even wrong.
I just had two espresso drinks that were quite good. Different from what I'm used to, but very enjoyable none the less. A cappuccino (the proportions of milk to espresso were not as I'm used to) and an espresso ristretto (less concentrated than what I make). Both quite drinkable.
I think that I'd heard so much about the incredible skills of the Nordic baristas that I had built up these expectations in my mind. I really thought that I'd come here and have nothing but mind-blowing espresso drinks. Instead, I have found that it's like it is anywhere else. Being a barista is hard and there are good barista and bad barista. The majority, however, lie somewhere in between the two extremes.
But as a result of the expectations, I assumed that a couple poorly prepared drinks meant that espresso here was bad. If it were not for the expectations, I would not have made this assumption - I would have been prepared instead for the majority of espresso drinks being mediocre at best.
So I leave here knowing that the top Nordic baristas have incredible skill.
And knowing that they represent a minority of baristas here - just as they do elsewhere.
Espresso still has a long way to go.