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Archive for February, 2012

Mammut book sales

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Kaffe med Tim Wendelboe


The Norwegian version of my book “Kaffe med Tim Wendelboe” is now available at the yearly Mammut sales in book stores across Norway for Kr.149,- per book.

The book was nominated for the 2009 Gourmand world cookbook awards and has been reviewed by Mr. Oliver Strand in the New York Times coffee blog and the coffee wizard himself, Mr. James hoffmann on his famous coffee blog.

So, if you are interested in coffee and know how to read Norwegian, get your hands on a copy before it is too late.


Radio Nova

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

We had a visit from Ms. Emily Williams from Radio Nova who did a great radio piece on our store.
Go here to listen.

Last Nacimiento lot. Pacas

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Picking out unripes and opened fruit

We have now started selling the very best lot from Nacimiento 2011.

It is from the Pacas variety that was picked in April 2011.

This coffee, because of its variety, growing conditions and especially late harvest time has a very consentrated flavor of cherries and black currants. A very juicy coffee with firm winey acidity.

By far the best lot we bought in Honduras last year.

For more information about the farmer and the coffee go here.




Coffee Prices 2011

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Like last year we want to push the coffee industry to be more transparent and therefore let you know what kind of prices we payed for coffee during 2011. Most of you know that the coffee prices has been rising for the last two years, and as we speak the commodity prices for coffee is about USD 2,20 per lb. (450g) of green coffee. Although we are buying coffees that are valued a lot higher than the commodity coffees and where the value is based more on quality rather than supply & demand, the quality coffee prices are for sure affected by the commodity market as well.

Unlike in 2010 where we did buy a lot of expensive Cup of Excellence coffee and some other auction coffees that lifted the average price a lot,  in 2011 we only sourced coffees direct from the farmers. The reason for this is to be able to buy fresher coffees and we also had better opportunity to do so as we have developed good relations to the producers we buy from. Instead of buying from many countries, we decided to focus on a few ones and rather get better coffees from these origins. We believe this has given us better value for our money. The average price for our coffees F.O.B (Free on board) in 2010 was USD 5,06 per lb. In 2011 the average price we payed per lb was 5,45, ranging from USD 4 to USD 7,55.

In 2012 we aim to get even better quality from the same producers as well as we will get to know some new origins that we have started working with through our sister company Nordic Approach. Ethiopia is one of the origins we will be getting coffees from this year and that is very exciting for all of us.


Before we list the prices we payed for coffee in 2011 please take a note that these are prices FOB, which means for unroasted coffee delivered to the boat that ships it to Norway. We still need to cover shipping cost that varies from where it is shipped from, storage, handling, roasting, packing, labour, rent, gas, electricity, etc, etc. I did a blog post  last year that explains why quality coffee costs more and if you are interested I recommend reading it to get a better understanding of how these mechanisms work.

So, for those who are curious here are the prices we payed for coffee last year:


TW coffee prices payed in 2011

TW coffee prices payed in 2011

Kenya Update

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

I just wanted to give a short update on my recent travel to Kenya. A lot of people have written to me with concerns on my tweets about the coffee quality  in Kenya not being as high as last year. I might have tweeted about it a little early as we are hearing now that better coffees are coming in to the mills. But, I will still state that there was very few lots that could match the high quality we saw last year. We even brought our one year old coffees from Tekangu and Ndumberi to cup side by side the new crop coffees and to be honest they cupped better than most of the lots on that particular table.

Still, we did find some fantastic coffees on our trip, especially one lot from Tekangu and one lot from the western part of Kenya which up until now has been a neglected area for coffee connoisseurs. I went on a trip to Eldoret and Mt. Elgon, which is on the boarder of Uganda, together with Kennedy Keya from Dormans and Paul Geshos from Mecca in Sydney and we did see a lot of potential in the area. CMS has already set up a mill in Eldoret to get more of these coffees into the market and to separate the better lots for customers like ourselves. We did cup 2 spectacular lots from Mt. Elgon and decided to buy one of them. I can’t wait to start selling it in 3 months time. More info on that later.

Huge Cherries

Now, back to the topic. We did see very little coffee coming out of Kenya in the 2010/11 crop. This was due to the bad weather resulting in very little flowers on the coffee trees, hence less coffee on the trees. However it did rain a lot during the expansion stage of the coffee cherries, so the little coffee that was on the trees got a lot of water and nutrients. That is probably why the quality of the coffee that was available last year was very good. I remember coming back with over 15 samples that were all spectacular last year, whereas this year we came home with around 5.

Drying tables funded by TW

This year the crop was almost 3 times bigger. Which in itself did create some problems during harvest as the harvest was short and drying capacity in many co-operatives was too small due to lack of drying tables.

Morten, from our new sister company Nordic Approach, was in Kenya during the harvest and could report that there was a lot of rain during harvest that also created problems with drying capacity. We did taste a lot of baggy and mouldy coffees this year, which has been rare for my last 4 years visiting. Ernest, the cupper at Central Kenya Coffee Mills suspected the bagginess to come from packing coffee in bags when the moisture content in the beans was still too high. We know that coffee easily gets mouldy if it is not dried efficiently, so it makes sense when you hear the weather has not been on our side.

Another problem Morten reported was that there was a lot of Coffee Berry Disease during the 2011/12 crop. The cherries that were delivered to a lot of Co-operatives were of mixed quality, hence compromising the cup quality. There was also a bumper crop which resulted in more green and unripe cherries being delivered together with the ripe coffee.

Severe damage by coffee berry disease

So, there are several reasons why the majority of the coffees we tasted in Kenya is not as good as last year. The 2010/11 crop was an exceptional year for quality in Kenya, but the crop was small and that is not great for the income of the farmers. It does not mean there is not great coffees to be  found in Kenya this year. We did find some spectacular coffees during our visit, it was just a bit harder to find them.