Tim Wendelboe is one of the best Baristas in Norway, and this year in Oslo, he represented his home country well in the 2002 World Barista Championship event, which was held on June 14-16. Tim finished an excellent second place behind the World Champ Fritz Storm, carrying on his second place finish in the 2001 Championships, and proving he is one of the absolute best in the world. WendelbÝe is contrary to his mere 23 years no rookie, and at various competitions he impresses people with his professionalism and easy going nature. It is interesting to note that in his home, he owns and uses a Rancilio Silvia. Wendelboe was interviewed by Thomas Gauperaa for CoffeeGeek.
Interview with Tim Wendelboe
As I walk into the door Tim Wendelboe is just finishing two perfect rosettas. He agrees to a short interview and I feel lucky considering his busy schedule. Tim is the daily manager of Stockfleths, two very good coffee bars in the heart of Oslo.
Q: How did you get involved with espresso?
A: Well, I saw a vacancy note in a window and applied for the job.
Q: What keeps you in this business? Is it the challenge of the competitions?
A: I like the competitions and I really like to work to perfect my technique Ė I have to admit Iím kind of a perfectionist, but the social aspect of the job and being part of the coffee culture is just as important. And of course, I think the job is fun.
Q: Why do you think the Scandinavians have been doing so well in the previous championships?
A: I guess weíre perfectionists in general when it comes to food and beverages. Maybe we have a bit low esteem about our own food culture and feel the need to show the world that we can do their food just as well. Personally, I donít think we should feel bad about our own food.
Q: What qualities do you think a barista should have?
A: Aside from the obvious cleanliness and technique, I think service mindedness is very important. A barista should have a strong interest in coffee too
Q: Whatís your relationship to the home espresso scene?
A: I have just bought a Rancilio Silvia after borrowing one for a while. I think itís a really good machine that has produced perfect espresso several times. Even old beans will produce nice espresso. Iím a bit more laid back at home though and donít worry too much if a shot comes out a bit too short or long.
Q: Do you temperature surf the Silvia? (true CoffeeGeeks will know what temp-surfing means!)
A: No, I donít but I have learned some ways to get her warmer faster. On the professional machines temperature surfing is more about working swiftly, letting out water before inserting the portafilter and so on.
Q: Do you have any favourite blends or origins?
A: (Instead of answering right away, Tim handed me a sample of "La Perla, Guatemala Cup of Excellence 2001", and gets me to try it before answering.)
This one, itís a really nice coffee. I drink just as much drip as espresso, and this is my favourite cup at the moment. I don't any all-time favourites when it comes to espresso beans. Stockfleth bars have different machines (Faema and La Marzocco) and I'm surprised to discover that they produce quite different espresso with the same beans. Because of this, we are using lighter beans on the La Marzocco.
Q: How do you feel when youíre competing? Do you have a lot of nerves?
A: Iím very focused on what I do Ė I feel the seriousness of the moment so to say. I donít get nervous before after Iím done. Iím lucky in that respect. But really, I wonít be that disappointed if I loose this year. After all, Iím only 23 years old!
CoffeeGeek would like to thank both Thomas and Tim for their participation in making this article happen. Also thanks to Sherri Johns for making the NABC and WBC events the success they have been.