In this series I’m going to feature people helping me on my way to Melbourne for the WBC. It’s not like I’m preparing alone. Barista competitions are a team sport. This is my way of expressing my appreciation for these lovely folks.
Let’s start from where it all begins from – the coffee. In the beginning I had a pretty good idea what kind of coffee I would like to use in the WBC. To start with it had to be in season. Freshness of the green coffee has become pretty important to me lately. I wanted a coffee that’s very sweet, balanced and has a well integrated and interesting acidity. Also, it had to be something slightly unusual.
Without tasting I was almost certain that this Red Bourbon from Sitio Canaa, roasted and sourced by Tim Wendelboe in Oslo, would be exactly the coffee I was looking for – and it was. The coffee is produced by brothers Joao Hamilton and Ivan Dos Santos together with my good friend Felipe Croce from Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza in the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil. These guys produce the some of the very best Brazilian coffees I’ve tried. It’s a coffee that I’m very proud to serve.
Coffee is actually the seed of the coffee plant. When the cherry is picked something has to be done to get the seed, the bean out. The easiest way to do this is to lay the coffee on cement patios for some days to dry in the sun. Just like when producing raisins, the pulp dries and is removed mechanically. However, this way the coffee dries too quickly and unevenly and the sugary pulp can start to ferment. To put it short - often this method doesn’t produce great tasting coffee.
Felipe has done tremendous job experimenting with different processing methods and techniques and this coffee represents the new generation of these Brazilian natural (sun dried) processed coffees. As a result of meticulous processing and slow drying on raised beds (better than patios) it’s definitely one of the the cleanest naturals I’ve tried, with none of those ferment-y flavors. I also believe that this slow, even drying gives the raw, green coffee longer shelf life – this lot was harvested in late August last year yet it’s still tasting very fresh and vibrant. You can read more about the coffee here.
My first encounter with Tim Wendelboe was at the WBC in London in June 2010. After a while he noticed some kid following him around the event and finally stopped and asked what I was after. He had about 40 seconds to chat with me before his next meeting that happened to be with Felipe and his father Marcos Croce – what a coincidence. Later I’ve learnt that Wendelboe is not just a great roaster but also a pioneer in green coffee sourcing and improving coffee quality at the farm. At times, in the night of Nairobi, Tim also pioneers the dance floor with his Norwegian moves that are as clean and light as his roasts. What a true inspiration around the clock.
I’m so excited yet humbled to be able to work with somebody I’ve admired since I started in coffee. Also, his fantastic team at the roastery, including my lovely friend Talor Browne, have done tremendous job handling the logistics (getting coffee from Norway to Finland is so, so much more difficult than one might imagine) and being general support team. Thank you for supplying me with such a beautiful coffee. Let’s hope that Melbourne will enjoy it as much as we do.