Filter coffee is the coffee of the North.
Make no mistake, the rest of Europe is incredibly espresso driven due to a heavy Italian influence from "fine" coffee's earliest days. But head North and you will find a special emphasis on filter coffee.
Enter Tim Wendelboe.
Who is Tim Wendelboe? Well, those among the coffee realm know him to be a World Barista champion. Well, for two different championships - the 2004 World Barista Champion and the 2005 World Cup Tasting Champion. After nearly a decade in the coffee game, he opened his own self-titled cafe & microroastery and, lucky for him, his name has a nice ring to it.
Some may have picked up his book, Coffee with Tim Wendelboe, or perhaps have heard of the Norwegian coffee brewer via him (ps. check it out - we have it at the office here in Oslo and it completely changes the office coffee game.)
The roastery + cafe is small and perhaps even underwhelming if all you hear about is Tim Wendelboe and his cafe. Most surprisingly is that his roster lies in the middle of the floor, for all the world to see him roast and to come up to him with 1,000 questions with the most popular one likely being, "What's the wifi password?" - even if they don't offer wifi.
But the bar itself is promising, with a very minimal menu across the wall that addresses their filter coffee of the day and two espressos to select from for your drink of choice. On a separate loose paper menu lies a wide selection of filter coffees.
It's hard to go wrong at a place like Tim's (I hope he's okay with us being on a first name basis), so I go for their "Black Coffee of the Day" - a washed Kenyan coffee. The baristas behind the bar are all incredibly nice and don't exude a sliver of arrogance. I went back another time and split the Aeropress Flight - an assortment of four different coffees all brewed via (duh) and Aeropress. The coffees were not only amazing, but it's the whole experience that makes it so; a barista walks up to you and brings you your first round (two coffees) and explains their characteristics and what tasting notes to expect. (And since I can't explain it better than that, I will show you via a video that is currently in the works, but will be up soon!)
And they even have ceramic ware for different coffee taste profiles to "enhance the drinking experience."
They served each coffee in a specific shaped ceramic ware. One had a bubble bottom to "capture the aromas better" and a wide lip at the top to "bring the acidity to the back of the sides of your mouth." The other was more simple and helped cool the coffee temperature down quicker.
And yes, those little shapes did make a difference.
It's kind of like how fine wines can have different types of glasses as well as craft beers. It's another great indicator of how the specialty coffee industry is developing.
But what really sets Tim apart from many specialty coffee roasteries and cafes is that he is very intentional with his march for transparency. It's one thing to stamp Direct Trade or Fair Trade on a coffee bag, and it's another to print out exactly what you paid for what you're selling.
Now, I am still fairly new to cupping coffees properly, but my experience was a lovely one. Among the many coffees tasted, I'll share three that I tasted.
The first was an Ethiopian. It was lemony, (really? that's a word? neat) citrusy (that one too? fantastic) and a very light, delicate mouthfeel.
The second flight included two Honduran coffees who held very different characteristics. The first one was a Geisha, that many may have heard of before. But the particular farm it was from lent itself earthiness notes to it as well as an amazing floral aroma. The second was from a more classical bean that showcased notes one might expect form a Central American coffee; nutty and chocolatey tasting notes. But it also offered a sweetness that was very berry forward. And it was insanely juicy.
Now at this point many of you may be wondering, how much coffee is too much? Well, don't worry I hit that limit about a week ago when my stomach got sick. But I just wanted to let you guys know that I do it all for you. I know, it's pretty selfless of me - but someone has to do the dirty work.
Seeing that I will be here until March, I guess there is definite caffeine overdose headed my way.
Wish me luck.
The Coffee Nomad
Tim Wendelboe is a leader in the specialty coffee realm for brewing, cupping and championing transparency in coffee. You can read more about him here and check out one of the books he has written here.
Espresso: Of course.
Dogs: Not Allowed :(