After a long day of back-to back AeroPress competitions here in Portland, a new World AeroPress Champion has been crowned—Charlene De Buysere from Belgium. Charlene’s triumph continues Belgium’s reign after last year’s win by Jeff Verellen.
All of the participants competed with the same washed Ethiopian Sidamo from Heart Coffee Roasters and following a passionate effort by the final two ladies, Charlene’s was decided to be the best. After receiving her trophy, Charlene thanked Alan Adler for inventing such a wonderful coffee machine and told him how excited she was about winning a ticket to the Nordic Barista Cup.
The runner up was Ingri Margrethe Johnsen from Norway who came in second place—followed by Emil Ericsson from Sweden, who came in third.
Congratulations to all the finalists and thanks to the organizers, judges and sponsors who made this the biggest and best WAC yet. Next year we’ll need bleachers as well.
Just over 6 months ago, I wrote about a website called the Colombian Coffee Hub that launched a new space for coffee lovers to share and learn about coffee, specifically about coffee in Colombia. They began by following Tim Wendelboe on a journey to origin as he learned about different processing methods and varieties being grown in Colombia.
When the Hub launched they announced the opportunity for active Hubbers to win a trip to Colombia for a chance to experience origin and share their journey. I’m more than honored to have won the first trip and stoked to share my journey with Hubbers & DCILY readers. I’ll be learning about the process from plant to seaport and meeting some of the growers and researchers continually working to produce better coffee.
There will be videos of my trip posted along the way on CCH, just sign up to follow along—as well as more opportunities to win a trip of your own. See you on the Hub.
There are several coffee events taking place this summer—but the NBC in August is the one I’m most excited about. Aside from the best Nordic baristas under one roof in CPH, everyone on this list above will be dropping knowledge on those in attendance. I toured the venue last week in Copenhagen and it’s going to be a certifiably fantastic event.
Experience the sparkling coffees of Kenya, explore processing experiments to improve quality at origin, unearth the agronomy of Kenyan coffee, get insight into the media’s coverage of coffee, get critical in your perspective of good service, find out the parallels of terroir and blending in wine and coffee, improve your understanding of extraction when grinding and brewing, discover what it means to run the world’s best restaurant and encounter the Nordic’s finest baristas in an invigorating new competition format…
If you haven’t been following the in-depth coverage of the US Barista Champion circuit over on Sprudge—you should be. But if you’re new to this whole thing, take a look at Hybrid Media’s coverage of the Big Central regional (focusing on MadCap baristas).
This is the best video I’ve seen of a barista competition so far. It does a great job capturing the highlights with a nice energetic flair—and is there anything better than a high definition smile from Ryan Knapp (back-to-back North Central Champion)?
There’s a new Nordic coffee roaster to keep your eye on in Ålesund, Norway named Jacu Coffee Roasters. I first met Anne Birte and Gunnar last fall when I attended a coffee and chocolate pairing at their shop, then called Brenneriet.
At the time, Anne Birte told me of their future plans to begin roasting and gave me a sneak peek at their new rebrand, which I loved from first sight. We kept in touch after I left Ålesund and she even used two photos of mine in the re-design of their shop—mounting them like pillars on the sides of their front door.
Jacu’s name refers to the Brazilian Jacu bird, who like the Civet cat in Indonesia, is known to seek out and eat the finest coffee cherries. While Jacu (thankfully) doesn’t sell bird poo coffee, its goal is to be just as discerning when looking for the best coffees to roast and serve to their customers.
The branding, done by Tom Emil Olsen, begins with a beautiful custom wordmark that with a slight modification transforms the letter “J” into a simple icon of a Jacu bird.
The system is very thorough, designed with modular elements and economic methods of branding various pieces of collateral. There are stamps, wax seals, and embosses that all add beautiful hand-touched flare to envelopes, coffee bags and business cards.
The matte black, resealable bags are labeled with printed kraft paper that share taste and aroma notes along with basic origin information. The bags look and feel elegant, while also capturing the warm colors and textures many people associate with coffee and natural foods—a feat that can be difficult to execute well.
The café (and now roastery) has been updated along with the brand, including warm walls of wood, shelves full of coffee and a shiny new roaster. Next time you find yourself in Ålesund, be sure to visit Jacu’s revitalized home for some of the best coffee in town.
So far, the coffees I’ve tried from Jacu have been quite enjoyable (especially the Honduras, Montana Verde). Although none of them were very unique or exciting, for a new roastery, they’re off to a great start. In a country known for its high quality specialty coffee and high coffee consumption, Jacu will have no trouble finding themselves in good company. I look forward to seeing what coffees are sourced and how their offerings develop in the future—maybe something from Nordic Approach.
The Lovewright Co. is a southern California-based lifestyle brand that’s teamed up with Jyumoku, another California based designer, who specializes in bags made from repurposed material to develop “The Roasters Collection.” The matching duffel and tote bag are made from salvaged military tents and contrasting burlap giving a refined quality to the idea of repurposed coffee sack bags.
I don’t know if the burlap used actually comes from repurposed coffee bags, but the aesthetic seems to have inspired the name. If you’re a roaster or green coffee buyer who travels to origin, this may be the perfect luggage to load up on your way to the farm.
A new café opened last week in Shibuya, Japan that offers a service you aren’t likely to find in many other coffee shops—laser cutting. The concept of Fab Café (meaning both fabulous and fabrication) is one of the more unique combinations of “coffee and” that I’ve seen, but makes total sense when you consider the creative clientele, like designers and architects, who want access to a laser cutter are highly likely to drink coffee.
You can reserve the VLS660 for $60 per 30 minutes, upload your vector files and start slicing your designs in wood, acrylic, and felt like a Jedi wielding a light saber. While waiting you can try their signature “Marshmallow Latte” and enjoy the bright and open space designed by Naruse-Inokuma.
The café is owned by a digital media production studio called LoftWork, who wanted to create a hub for designers who they could collaborate with in the future. By offering ample power outlets, free wifi and a laser cutter, the café slash co-working space is sure to be a popular place no matter what the coffee tastes like.
Maaemo is a restaurant in Oslo, Norway that’s been open little more than a year, and today is celebrating its addition to the Michelin guide with not one, but two stars. The restaurant celebrates local, organic and seasonal ingredients through a collaboration between chef Esben Holmboe Bang and sommelier Pontus Dahlstrøm.
Though I haven’t eaten here myself, several friends have to much praise. The reason I’m writing about their success in food is that they take their coffee just as seriously, which is far too rare among world class restaurants. From early on, they’ve been working with Tim Wendelboe to develop a coffee program that supports their Nordic menu while maintaining the quality of fine specialty coffee.
Early this year they approached me to see if they could improve their coffee service even more in their restaurant. Since the focus of Maaemo is Nordic food they were dreaming of serving traditional steeped coffee in their restaurant, just like they make coffee when hiking in the forest, etc, but did not know how to implement this technique in the restaurant.
After a brief meeting and some demonstration they came up with what I think is the most exciting coffee service I have experienced in a very long time. It is not very often you come across such a well thought out coffee concept and it is even more enjoyable that it is in a restaurant. -Tim Wendelboe
As specialty coffee continues to elevate the quality of whats available, it makes sense that the experience moves solely from cafés and coffee bars to the post-meal menu of the world’s best restaurants. All to often, a 9-course menu with every detail considered is followed by undrinkable coffee—it’s a terrible shame. With restaurants like Maaemo and Eleven Madison Park elevating coffee to the same level as their other menu items, we may soon be able to indulge in that after-dinner coffee more often.
Congratulations to Maaemo. I hope to experience you soon.
Why settle for a cup of Joe, when you can have a cup of Johan? That’s the latest pitch from Kraft-owned Gevalia Coffee. Gevalia, founded in 1853 in the northeastern city of Gävle, Sweden, was bought by Kraft Foods in 1971 and is now a grocery aisle mainstay next to brands like Nescafé. I can’t attest to Gevalia’s historical quality, but what’s available now is barely drinkable. That said, it was recently chosen by the Göteborg newspaper as the “best taste for the value” compared with 8 other commodity coffees.
However, large companies like Kraft can produce engaging ads that may or may not have anything to do with the actual quality of their product. A new campaign for Gevalia is harnessing its Swedish heritage to differentiate itself from all other bad grocery store coffee. In doing so, they’re taking the Swedish concept of Fika to a global audience.
While the video above is an entertaining, but vague introduction to Fika (not to mention annoyingly stereotypical), I recently wrote about this wonderful tradition in a bit more detail. So if Johan has piqued your interest in the art of Fika, you can read more about it—along with much better coffee—over on Nordic Coffee Culture.
During my first visit to Sweden, long before deciding to move here, I knew that I could adjust quite well to Nordic culture due to its lovely traditions like fika—the Swedish coffee break.