Meet Caroline, the Racoon in a Trench Coat…
25 Questions with Caroline…
1. Who are you and what do you do at Tim Wendelboe?
According to my beloved partner I’m three racoons in a trench coat. In reality I’m just your average millennial barista making coffee at Tim’s shop.
2. How long have you worked here?
I started in 2013 so that’s… oh my gosh, 6 years.
3. Where do you come from?
I grew up in Oslo. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, but I actually went to the kindergarten that’s just down the street from the shop.
4. What did you study / where did you work before coming here?
I dropped out of university and fell into coffee when I started working at United Bakeries back in 2008. I also spent a few formative years at Stockfleths, where I worked with some great people – including Tim’s awesome wife Cecilie. I brag about that every chance I get.
5. Do you remember what your first meeting / interview with Tim was like?
My first meeting with Tim was not so much a meeting as it was me admiring his skills on the dance floor at a big Christmas party hosted by coffee roaster Solberg and Hansen. I vaguely remember him forming a conga line later that evening… My interview was the first time I had an actual conversation with him though. I was very nervous, had a bad cold and a very runny nose at the time and flubbed every question. Thanks for still giving me the job, Tim!
6. What is the best thing you love about the job?
The first best thing is that working here is like having a second family. As a team we have a ton of fun together and our bonds as both colleagues and friends are very strong. None of us are perfect but we’ve managed to create an affectionate and inclusive workplace together. The second best thing is that everything here is extremely well organized with an extraordinary attention to every little detail. It means that I can come in any given day and know exactly where every piece of equipment is, exactly how we must manage our stations and how to efficiently direct the work flow on busy days. This relaxes me.
7. What is the most challenging?
Honestly calibrating coffees (testing grind sizes, measuring TDS, tasting and assessing) still is and will always be challenging. I understand the theory and the methodology is simple enough, but I’m inherently just not that great at it. It takes practice! And any hospitality worker will also say guest service is a challenge every day. I can feel very upset with myself if I feel like I didn’t take as good care of my guests as I possibly could have.
8. How would you describe Tim Wendelboe (the company) in one word?
9. How would you describe Tim Wendelboe (the person) in one word?
10. What is your favourite type of coffee to drink?
My favourite ever coffee beverage is our own anisetta, because espresso and star anise is the most supremely yummy flavour combination. My second favourite? I’m never going to turn down an Ethiopian natural. Give me that funky fruit.
11. What is your next favourite beverage to drink?
Elderflower juice in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter.
12. Coffee is best with…?
A pastry, because I know how to treat myself.
13. What is the funniest / most embarrassing moment you’ve had at work?
Every new barista at the shop has to go through two days mandatory training with Don Tim himself. It involves tasting a LOT of coffee so you just have to spit, like when you do a wine tasting. Well, we were tasting espresso which is a bit viscous and it’s difficult to spit it out without… well… accidentally drooling a bit. So I took a more forceful approach, tilted my head back slightly and… spat espresso all over the white wall opposite us instead, completely missing the bucket. Right in front of Tim who was watching me. On my first day training with him. Bless him, all he did was grab a cloth and wipe it away without further comment. I, however, sometimes still think about it at two in the morning.
14. What has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had at work?
Whenever I have been told that I have had a positive impact or made a difference for someone – whether it’s a guest or a colleague or my boss – that is rewarding to me, each and every time. I want to help out and make people smile. It’s rewarding to manage that.
15. What do you do in your spare time, when you’re not working at Tim Wendelboe? Any special interests, hobbies, skills?
I used to love to draw. I mean, I still do but it’s not something I pursue as actively as when I was younger. Working at Tim’s has also inspired me to start weight lifting since it’s a physically demanding job, and that’s become a bit of a passion of mine. I watch youtube tutorials on deadlift cues and make gross protein concoctions in my blender at home. I also like to eat! I can tuck away obscene amounts of food in one sitting. That’s a verifiable skill in my book.
16. If you weren’t working at Tim Wendelboe, what other career would you want to have?
Something cute like interior design or illustration.
17. What was your first ever impression of coffee?
My Mom would bake chocolate cake for my birthday and put instant coffee in the frosting. No cake will ever taste better than Mammas birthday cake.
18. What does an average day look like for you at Tim Wendelboe?
No matter how fresh I am when I arrive, I’m always sticky feeling and kind of hot and sweaty when I leave. Gross but true. An average weekday for me is coming to work in the bar and splitting my time evenly between helping guests, making coffee and cleaning. So much cleaning, everything from laundry to the restrooms to the ventilation pipes. Weekends, however, tend to be all bar action from beginning to end. Those days we’re four people on and it’s extremely important to keep focused throughout in order to ensure speed, efficiency and quality.
19. What does coffee mean to you?
To be honest, coffee helped me get over a difficult time. When I started working my first job my grandma had recently passed away, I had dropped out of university and I had just broken up with my boyfriend. I wasn’t feeling great about myself, but working with coffee helped me establish a sense of purpose and accomplishment that ultimately brought me here to Tim’s shop. Working with coffee also enabled me to go to Toronto for a year, where I met Dio, the love of my life. Coffee to me is my whole life, all the people I’ve met and the connections I’ve made. Also it tastes pretty good.
20. If you could travel to any one of our origin countries, which one would you pick?
Ethiopia. Great food, great coffee, the true origin country, the place where it all started.
21. Filter or Espresso?
22. Fruity or Chocolaty?
Fruity any day of the week, m’am!
23. Do you have any guilty pleasures when it comes to drinking coffee outside of Tim Wendelboe, or are you a diehard Tim Wendelboe coffee drinker only?
I’m very nonjudgmental when I drink coffee in other places. I like to see how different places approach their craft. I want to stay openminded, because I want our guests to be open minded when they come to us, too. I don’t think there’s anything I’m embarrassed to order at any shop. And there’s lots of great places to explore. But I don’t really have any guilty pleasures either. Anything with a lot of sugar and milk just doesn’t appeal to me much.
24. There is a Japanese word called “ikigai” which means, “the reason you get out of bed in the morning”, i.e. what inspires you in life. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
According to my boyfriend, cheese.
15. If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Some of our one-star reviewers. If they didn’t have a great experience in the shop, I’d love another chance to make them happy. I’ll bring some snacks. We’ll have a blast.
That’s it’s and that’s all for now! We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Caroline. If you wish to get to know more of the people behind the scenes here at Tim Wendelboe, stay tuned by following us on Instagram (@timwendelboe) and Facebook. We will notify you when the next team story is ready for you to enjoy with your cup of coffee…