Coffee has become both ubiquitous and better in the last few decades. Ubiquitous thanks to the success of the high street chains, better thanks to an artisan culture that is importing, roasting and brewing less quantity, but superior quality, coffee. We talked to three experts making their mark on the international coffee scene.
The 1683 blend by Patrik Rolf Karlsson
In celebration of its foundation year, Gaggenau asked renowned roaster Patrik Rolf Karlsson to develop a coffee that reflected the company’s Black Forest roots. “We decided early on that we wanted to focus on the traditional taste of the area: the iconic cherry cake.“
Formerly of the De Matteo roaster in Gothenburg and Berlin’s Five Elephants, Patrik is able to shape the flavours in the coffee at will. By blending a washed, processed Peaberry Kenyan bean, for the cherry-like fruit acid taste, with chocolaty El Salvadorian Bourbon beans from the Nazareth farm, Patrik created 1683.
The blend will be available exclusively in selected Gaggenau showrooms.
“There is no perfect green coffee. There is no perfect roast. There is no perfect brew. There is only a perfect combination.“ Patrik Rolf Karlsson
The sustainable Perfectionist
As co-founder of the award-winning roaster Square Mile, Anette Moldvaer is responsible for much of the best coffee in London. She supplies independent coffee shops in the capital and beyond. “Too many to mention” she explains.
She began her career at a coffee importer and the journey from plant to cup continues to be one of her biggest concerns. The plight of the growers and the negative effect upon the quality of coffee is being addressed with cold, hard cash. “By paying the right price, we’re helping farmers to make improvements, buy new land and pay for education and health care.”
The issue is that you cannot improve bad beans with roasting and blending trickery: a bad bean is a bad coffee. “On the other hand, you can also take the best coffee and completely ruin it.”
Asked for her favourite bean, Anette replies tactfully: “That would be like choosing your favourite child. I love Kenya, but also Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ethiopia.”
Working in Oslo, Tim Wendelboe’s pursued the Scandinavian obsession with coffee to its natural conclusion. His self-titled espresso bar, school and roastery is for purists: with the loud, huge roaster literally at its heart and little else to distract from the truly wondrous coffee.
He explains the secret of great coffee in his characteristically matter-of-fact manner: “Soft water and good coffee beans. And you don’t need any fancy equipment.” This simple recipe involves a million details as well as personal contacts around the globe. Tim is involved at every stage: including a side-project of planting his own trees, on his own land in Columbia in partnership with local farmer Don Elias. It’s not always gone to plan, but good beans have always been found. The term micromanager springs to mind, but in this instance, it is a compliment.
“The taste for good coffee is here to stay. And the coffee that is available is getting better and better.” Tim Wendelboe