CreativeMornings with Tim Wendelboe

07.10

Tim Wendelboe, the Oslo-based coffee roaster and former World Barista Champion, was recently the guest for Oslo’s very first CreativeMornings event. CreativeMornings is a monthly lecture series that was founded in New York by the well known designer/blogger Tina Roth Eisenberg aka Swiss-Miss.

CreativeMornings includes a small breakfast, networking and a 20 minute TED-style talk that encompasses inspiring people from a broad range of professions. While it began in New York City, the event now takes place in over 50 city chapters around the world. Oslo just happens to be one of the newest chapters, and it’s really awesome that their first talk was about where great coffee comes from.

Tim spends nearly 20 minutes talking about the journey coffee takes from its origin country to his shop in Oslo before ending briefly with tips for better brewing. He continues to emphasize the point that quality coffee depends on many steps before it even gets into the hands of the person brewing it.

There’s a lot to learn in this video so grab a fresh cup of coffee and enjoy.

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posted by on 07.10.2013, under Coffee 101, Videos

Save The Date: Nordic Barista Cup 2013

03.05

nordic_barista_cup_2013

The season for this year’s coffee events has only just begun, but it’s never too soon to begin planning a trip to one of the last (and one of my favorites)—the Nordic Barista Cup. This intimate gathering of coffee professionals includes lectures, socializing, cupping and both the Nordic barista team competitions and Nordic Roaster Cup.

Space is limited to only 200 participants to foster an environment of inclusiveness and community. The event, which took place in Copenhagen the last two years, is moving to Oslo this fall where it will be hosted at Mathallen, the city’s new culinary epicenter. Mathallen is home to the new Solberg & Hansen concept store and is just a short walk away from Tim Wendelboe’s coffee bar (incase you needed any more incentive).

This year’s focus country is Brazil. Ticket are on sale now and take note that the prices will increase on July 1st. Stay tuned for a full list of speakers.

Learn more and watch videos from past speakers at Nordic Barista Cup

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Last year’s Nordic Barista Cup winners, Team Finland.

 

posted by on 03.05.2013, under Misc.

The Food Studio Field Dinner

10.08

Last weekend I had the pleasure of joining Food Studio for their latest happening in Oslo—the field dinner. I was invited to help brew coffee for dinner guests one evening and be a guest myself the following night. Although coffee is what brought me to the table, it was served as part of a larger dining experience that the coffee industry strives to be a part of as often as possible—treated with the respect of fine wines and served following artful plates of King’s goose, pumpkin gnocchi and hyper local produce.

Food Studio organizes events that share the story of good, honest food and the people who believe in it. Meals are developed and prepared by well known chefs, or passionate individuals you’ve yet to hear about, using ingredients as fresh, wholesome and responsible as possible—sourced from the field we ate in and a few kilometers beyond.

Dinner was prepared all three nights by Magne Ilsaas, a graphic designer by day who spent three months at culinary school in Paris. The entire meal was cooked in the field just steps away and all five courses were paired with a delightful selection of organic or biodynamic wines by a sommelier from Moestue.

After desert, a coffee from Michiti in West Ethiopia (provided by Tim Wendelboe) was prepared using a traditional Nordic method of brewing called kokekaffe. The process is simple and works great for unique and enjoyable coffee outdoors.

We used a ratio of 65 grams of coffee to 1000g of water, ground fairly coarse. After taking the water off boil, the coffee was poured into the kettle and lightly stirred to fully saturate all of the grounds. After letting steep for 5 minutes, the coffee is ready to serve. Finally, the coffee can be poured carefully from the kettle into cups, but to add a bit of clarity, we filtered the brew through a fine metal strainer and served from a Chemex.

As each course was served throughout the night, a story about the food was shared with the table and the coffee was no exception. It was a pleasure to serve and an equally enjoyable experience to dine alongside new friends and experience real food prepared exceptionally well. Most of all, it was an honor to end the meal with an example of just how spectacular coffee can be, when it’s appreciated as it should be.

Learn more at FoodStudio.no

Coffee brewing photos by Christoffer Johannesen. All others by Tim Varney.

posted by on 10.08.2012, under Misc.

Maaemo Goes Michelin

03.14

 

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.

posted by on 03.14.2012, under Misc., Recommended Roasters, Videos

Tim Wendelboe Revisited

09.15

Almost a year ago, to the day, I visited Tim Wendelboe in Oslo for the first time. The Kenya, Mugaga I had on that trip is still one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had. While there was no Mugaga this time, there were two other kenyalicious coffees, Tekangu and Ndumberi, and lots of good company.

I finally met “the Tim” briefly as he was leaving for the Nordic Barista Cup and spent the following morning with “the other Tim” while he was roasting some fresh coffee. Chris Owens from Handsome Coffee was also in town, who I hadn’t seen since the USBC in Houston, so I caught up on Handsome progress while sampling the menu with him.

If you find yourself in Oslo, Tim Wendelboe should be number one on your list of coffee shops to visit. Until then, brew another cup and enjoy some more photos.

posted by on 09.15.2011, under Coffee Touring, Misc., Recommended Roasters

OSLOVE

07.24

I’m sure by now, most of you have heard about the horrific news coming out of Oslo and are just as saddened or disgusted by it as most people. Even if you’ve never been, the thought of something like this happening anywhere is heart breaking. I just wanted to send my condolences to the people of Norway. Though I know that little can be said to change the reality of things.

When I visited Norway for my first time last fall, I immediately fell in love with it. Of all the cities I’ve been to in Scandinavia, Oslo was the one I was looking forward to visiting again the most. I admire so much about the culture, the architecture, and the natural landscapes—not to mention the pockets of exceptional coffee. One reason I was so eager to move to Gothenburg, is how close it is to Norway. I’ll be back in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to visiting a country that won’t let terrorism define who it is.

Stay strong Norway. We love you.

 

posted by on 07.24.2011, under Design, Misc.

Best Coffee in Oslo, Norway

10.02

Two weeks ago Tim Wendelboe won the Nordic Roaster Competition for the third year in a row. A few days earlier, I stood in his shop drinking two of the very best cups of coffee I’ve ever had.

I began with a double shot of Tim’s signature espresso. It was smooth, sweet and pleasantly bright. More wine, less citrus and the sweetness lingered quite a bit. I followed the shot with a cup of Mugaga Kenya, recommended by Chris who was working the bar. Mugaga is a large cooperative in Nyeri, Kenya that I’d never heard of until now, and Chris described the roast as being much lighter than anything American roasters sell. I’m not sure if he was referring to mainstream coffee like Starbucks, or including the micro roasters as well, but it was interesting to know.

The simplest way to describe Mugaga is a buttered bowl of juicy berries. So smooth and sweet, I’d never had a cup of coffee remotely close to it. My girlfriend, who admittedly hates coffee, was adamant in consuming more than her share. Rightfully so. It’s a fantastic coffee—the coffee that won the Nordic Roaster Competition.

Before we left, I had one more item I needed to try. The famed Hacienda La Esmeralda—which claimed the record breaking price of $170/lb at this years Best of Panama auction—was calling my name. Chris brewed it up with a Chemex as a few guests in town for the upcoming Nordic Barista Cup wandered in.

The space was cozy, tucked away on a corner of a residential block, not far from a bustling park surrounded by restaurants and cafes. The roaster sat front and center of the shop, while a door tucked away behind it led to a sterile, but high-tech looking lab where classes and cuppings take place. As the Hacienda was served, I took my time to absorb the aroma. It was very tea-like, most likely because of the floral array of jasmine and honey floating from the cup. I took my first sip of what had once been called “god in a cup” and thought, “man, that Mugaga was really good.”

Not to down play a deliciously sweet and lively cup of coffee, it was very good—one of the best—and better than the following two cups of Hacienda I had at Stockfleth’s and in Copenhagen. But I guess I expected more for the price it demands and the hype it’s claimed. It could be that I was so overwhelmed by the Mugaga, which was a tough act to follow, that I didn’t give it the attention I should have. Either way, it was still fantastic.

Tim’s was definitely the highlight of my time in Oslo. However, I had a pleasant cup that morning at Fuglen (The Bird), but found the evironment a little too much like a stranger’s living room that I wasn’t really supposed to be in. Their espresso machine was also down, which left me with what they already had brewed.

On my last morning, I stopped by Stockfleth’s which has a few locations around Oslo. I had my second cup of Hacienda La Esmeralda here, brewed with an AeroPress, which seems to be the preferred single-cup brewing method in Scandinavia. Though it was good, it must have been roasted darker than Tim’s and lost some of the liveliness and transparency in the body that I experienced previously. I should have taken the opportunity to try one of their offerings from Solberg & Hansen.

Oslo was great and had exceptional coffee in far more places than other cities I visited. I would have loved to stay a couple more days if it weren’t so expensive! Next time.

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posted by on 10.02.2010, under Coffee Touring, Recommended Roasters