Ray: I’m Ray.

Kandace: I’m Kandace.

Ray: Welcome to Unpacking Coffee. This week…

Kandace: Tim Wendelboe from Oslo. Do you remember the first time we saw Tim in action?

Ray: It was at the SCAA at the time, right?

Kandace: Right.

Ray: Yeah.

Kandace: Back in the old days, where it was a double “A.” He was at a booth and there were just crowds of people around and I remember thinking, “Who is this rockstar?”

Ray: He seemed nice. He was making some self-deprecating jokes.

Kandace: Yes. Yeah.

Tim: Hello. I’m Tim Wendelboe and I’m a Norwegian barista. I was a World Barista Champion in 2004. I own a coffee shop in Oslo, Norway where we also roast coffee. We import coffee.

I also have a coffee farm in Colombia, which is called Finca El Suelo, and I’ve also written a couple of books on coffee in the past.

Pictures of coffee barista, Tim Wendelboe, at his coffee roastery in Grüners gate 1 in Oslo, Norway. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward

Ray: Tim Wendelboe is originally known as the World Barista Champion, in-

Kandace: 2004.

Ray: Right. In 2007, he started his own roastery named appropriately, Tim Wendelboe.

Kandace: Mm-hmm

Ray: Zero room for confusion there.

Kandace: No. No confusion. He started this roastery after he had been a barista for nine years.

Ray: Yeah.

Kandace: Yeah.

Tim: After winning the World Barista Championship in 2004, I decided to move on and quit Stockfleths, and then I opened my own store, the roastery, in 2007, so 10 years ago, we’ve been up and running.

Coffee in Norway

Ray: Did you know, Kandace, that Norway is the second largest drinker of coffee per capita in the world?

Kandace: Second only to Finland.

Ray: That’s right.

Tim: Most people drink coffee in the office and also at home. Coffee is free always in the office, and it’s the only drink that you ask people if they come visit you. You always ask if you want a cup of coffee. It’s a very, very social drink for us, but also a drink that we drink a lot, because we’re, I think, second place in the world that drinks the most per capita, so coffee is a big thing in Norway.

On the Farm

Ray: In 2012, Kandace, he bought a farm.

Kandace: What kind of farm, Ray?

Ray: I assume coffee.

Kandace: Finca El Suelo.

Tim: The reason why I started getting interested in owning my own farm is because I’ve been traveling a lot for the last 10 years to visit farmers that I’ve been working with, the same farmers every year, and trying to improve their quality.

It was a natural thing when I started roasting my own coffee. I early understood that it doesn’t really matter how much we do trials and errors and tests and try to improve our roasting technique if the ingredients aren’t good.

If you start off with poor ingredients or old coffee or something, it doesn’t really matter what you do with the roaster. The coffee is never going to taste good.

That’s why I started traveling more to origin to help the farmers improve the quality and also develop the qualities that I want to drink and I want to buy, and that led to me finally purchasing some land in Colombia.

I bought this from a farmer that I’ve been working with since 2012. The reason why I did it was because I’m slowly starting to believe that there has to be a different way of growing coffee in order to improve the quality, without using so much pesticides and fungicides and chemicals, because I don’t believe that’s very sustainable.

After I bought the land, I ended up taking some soil biology classes with Dr. Elaine Ingham, and that’s the kind of techniques that I’m going to test out on the farm and try to prove to the world that we can grow better and more coffee by using no chemicals or mineral fertilizers, so by only using compost, compost teas and extracts and so on.

All in Good Taste

Kandace: He also talked to us about … Not only is he trying to produce better-tasting organic coffee, but he told us a bit about how to improve your own ability to taste coffee.

Tim: Well, it’s not that difficult actually to learn how to taste anything. I would basically recommend that you start by buying two or three different coffees that are very different. Not three different Kenyan coffees, but maybe one Kenyan coffee, a Brazilian coffee, and maybe an Ethiopian coffee, and then you can brew them on a French press or a V60 or whatever side by side and taste them side by side. It’s much easier to taste or be able to describe flavors when you have something to compare to.

It also helps to go to public cuppings on coffee shops or attend any cupping events and tasting coffees with the coffee professionals that are used to tasting coffees and discussing the coffees afterwards.

La Marzocco Home Espresso Subscription FTW

Kandace: Tim Wendelboe, the roastery, is the roaster in residence at La Marzocco right now. And, there’s something else happening that’s pretty exciting. La Marzocco just introduced a home espresso subscription program, and Tim is the first coffee that’s going out. I believe you have two days. How many days are in March? Can we say that we’re pretty excited about this program? Can we go ahead and…?

Ray: Yeah. Actually, we as Needmore Designs built this website in the future for La Marzocco Home.

Kandace: We made the badge/identity.

Ray: Mm-hmm.

Kandace: Took the photos. This is so exciting. This was a really amazing project to be a part of, and it’s really exciting.

Tim: The service we will be doing at the La Marzocco Café in Seattle will be quite similar to what we’re doing in Norway. We don’t do any food or anything in our café, so all the focus will be on the coffee itself.

We will have two different espressos. One, more sweet and less acidic coffee from Colombia, from Finca Tamana, and then we will have Ethiopian washed Sidamo coffee from Hunkute, Incorporated, that’s more floral and quite bright and acidic and very citric.

We will also do only AeroPress coffees for the black coffee serving, and there will be a coffee menu, so you can choose from different coffees. I think we will have four coffees on the menu that has very different tastes.

We will also have AeroPress tasting flight, so you can come with a friend and buy a taste flight, and you will be able to taste four coffees made on the AeroPress, and have a good explanation from the baristas, what to look for when you taste them and so on.

Of course, we’ll do all the lattes and the cappuccino drinks, but we’ll do them in the format that we actually do in Norway, so with whole milk only, organic whole milk, and serve them in small glasses, not in huge buckets that you can find somewhere in the U.S. Eight-ounce is our largest size, actually, and that’s our latte. You might ask, “Why do you do the small sizes?” Well, we want the milk drinks to actually taste coffee. The less milk you have, the more coffee you’re going to taste.

Ray: Tim Wendelboe Coffee of Oslo, Norway.

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