Tim Wendelboe is a Norwegian barista and winner of both the World Barista Championship and World Cup Tasters Championship. He now runs a revered espresso bar, training centre and micro roastery in Oslo, as well as a series of farms in Colombia. His company supplies espresso to Trondheim’s Scandic Nidelven Hotel, winner of Norway’s best breakfast for nine consecutive years.
Hotelier International: What’s good in coffee right now?
Tim Wendelboe: Although espresso, latte and cappuccino remain popular, black filter coffee is enjoying a renaissance. We welcome a lot of coffee tourists to Oslo from all around the world
because of the reputation of our filters. There has been a huge industry focus on improving quality for over 10 years, so access to quality beans has increased dramatically. Also, more experienced baristas mean a black
coffee is tastier than ever before.
HI: What should hoteliers know about coffee?
TW: Any two coffees can be wildly different. Take time to learn about the basics of coffee growing and brewing. There are many different varieties and origins that make every coffee taste unique. The style of roasting and the freshness of the beans will determine a lot of the final taste.
HI: So what’s the secret?
TW: You can never make good coffee
with bad ingredients, but it is very easy to ruin good ingredients with improper brewing. The basics are really simple. You need quality coffee beans, clean soft water, clean brewing equipment and a grinder. Consistency in measurements and brewing methods is important, so use 65 grams of coffee per litre of water, and adjust the grinder until the coffee is not too bitter yet not watery and sour.
HI: What’s the optimum workflow for a busy kitchen.
TW: Espresso will always be fresh but can be a nightmare logistically, so I recommend filter coffee. The worst coffee is one that has been standing for hours on a hotplate, so treat your brewed coffee as a fresh product that should be consumed within an hour of brewing. Implement daily routines to clean the brewer’s filter holder and all flasks and carafes, as dirty equipment gives a harsh taste to any coffee.
HI: Any specific recommendations?
TW: I would love to see a hotel serve a refreshing cup of Kenyan coffee in the morning and a more full bodied Colombian coffee after dinner. The focus should be on the actual coffee ingredients and not so much whether it is an espresso or filter.
HI: Can coffee be matched with food?
TW: You can pair coffee with various cakes and liquors. I prefer drinking a quality rum with my coffee and for chocolate cake I really like a fruity coffee from Kenya or Honduras on the side. You would be surprised how well some cheeses go with coffee too. It can be an excellent pairing.
HI: How about in-room facilities?
TW: The dream scenario would be to have a small coffee grinder, portioned out bags with coffee beans, and a manual brewing method such as a Hario V60, French press or similar.
Author bio: David Nikel is a British freelance journalist living in Trondheim, Norway, since 2011. He writes about technology and travel around Northern Europe, and runs a popular blog (lifeinnorway.net) about his experience among Norwegians.