STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International

Volume 4, Number 5

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40 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 5, 2015 (October/November) M By Alf Kramer orten Wennersgaard is a new kind of coffee trader. He may own a tie, but you will never see him wearing it—he does have several pairs of boots. Growing up in rural Norway he didn't know the first thing about the coffee trade. But his profound interest in fine food and beverage, combined with insatiable curiosity and a sense of adventure, has served him well. Wennersgaard's work as a professional chef flowed from a keen interest in fine food and bever- ages. He became very proficient in transforming ordinary raw materials into a rich and memorable meal. He also mastered the bakery craft, where he studied the science of cooking. He advanced his understanding of physics and food chemistry by pursuing a bachelor's degree in food science and technology. This led to yet another detour on his way to coffee. Wennersgaard next worked in re- search, product development, and quality control at an international chocolate manufacturer. Only then did he embark on his current passion for coffee. Wennersgaard takes a holistic view, monitoring the entire coffee community from farmer to consumer. His emphasis on direct trade combines cultural knowledge, empathy, transparency and social skills with his adeptness at social media. He calls his importing company the Nordic Ap- proach, a venture he began in 2011 with famed barista Tim Wendelboe. Structural changes in the coffee trade While Wennersgaard was developing his skills Norway's coffee industry experienced dramatic structural changes. At the time there were only three large roasters in the country, with perhaps 8 to 10 smaller ventures. Norwegian coffee traders were a vanishing breed. Brands had become blasé. It was then that the specialty coffee movement took hold. Beginning in the late 1990s consum- ers began to take an interest in what they were drinking. They wanted to know describe its flavor, the roasting style; to identify its origin, and compare coffees from different parts of the world. The timing was perfect for Wennersgaard to join the coffee movement. He began working at Oslo's Solberg & Hansen, a roaster that for several decades had sold unbranded fresh roast from several origins and single estates. When the new trend hit Solberg & Hansen did not have to reinvent the wheel, but there was room for improvements. A New Approach to Trade Burundi coffee worker carrying dried coffee for bagging Selective picking in Kenya

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