January 18, 2016
Over the years, we’ve seen quite a few different styles of speaker
presentations: those that share a particular experience or paradigm; those that
ask provoking questions (some with potential solutions, some without); the
presentation of finished research; those that offer a glimpse of new work,
still in progress. Whilst each is valuable in their own right, there is
something undeniably special about seeing new ideas put into practice without
any certainty as to the outcome: these presentations offer us the opportunity
to not only become a part of the speakers’ journey, but also—once the work has
been completed—as a later snapshot of the learning that has taken place.
This week’s release, “Soil Biology” by Tim Wendelboe, falls into this
latter category of presentations: Tim shares with us his journey to understand
and apply Dr. Elaine Ingham’s concepts of soil biology, biological farming, and
thermal composting to his farm
project, Finca El Suelo in Colombia. Regardless of how these concepts
positively or negatively impact Finca El Suelo’s production in the coming
years, it is inspiring to see a barista accepting responsibility in creating a
plausible future for quality coffee: “I have a lot of crazy ideas that might or
might not improve the coffee quality, but I am not willing to ask the farmers I buy
from to risk their income and coffee in order to test and experiment for me” (Tim
Wendelboe to Leif Haven, Eater.com).
During his eight years
with Stockfleth’s in Oslo, Norway, Tim Wendelboe went from shop barista to
manager, growing sales as well as the staff’s coffee knowledge at one of
Stockfleth’s three shops, to their head of quality and training, running 6
stores together with his friend and colleague Alexander Scheen Jensen. It was
during his time at Stockfleth’s that Tim, in 2004, after placing second in the
World Barista Championship in both 2001 and 2002, was crowned World Barista
Champion. He is also the 2005 World Cup Tasters Champion.
In July 2007, Tim started
his own espresso bar, training centre, and micro-roastery at Grünerløkka, in
Oslo, called Tim Wendelboe, where he imports, roasts, and sells high quality
coffee. The company aims to be among the best roasteries in the world. Although
this is not measurable, Tim Wendelboe won the Nordic roaster competition in
2008, 2009 and in 2010. The company currently sells coffee to around 50 cafes
and restaurants in Norway and also around the world.
In 2009, Tim wrote and
published a book in Norwegian based on his direct trade experience; “Coffee
with Tim Wendelboe”, which gives the reader an introduction into how quality
coffee is produced, roasted, and brewed, has since been translated into Korean,
English, Mandarin and will be available in Japanese shortly.
Tim also published the
book ”Finca Tamana” in 2013 about his ongoing work and relationship with the
coffee producer Elias Roa and his farm Finca Tamana.
Want to see more? Click the links to keep up with Tim Wendelboe’s shop
and roastery (Web, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) or Finca El Suelo (Instagram, Twitter). We also recommend “Why Did
World Barista Champ Tim Wendelboe Buy a Coffee Farm in Colombia?” by Leif Haven
Want to hear more? Other talks that present new work include David
Walsh’s “My Unholy Comminution” (wet grinding; Dublin 2011) and Christopher
H. Hendon’s “A Taste of Physics” (CoLab: Prague 2015).
Want to learn more about soil biology? Tim recommends checking out the work of Dr. Elaine Ingham, Jeff Lowenfels, “Symphony of the Soil”, and information provided by the USDA/NRCS.