News broke via the Sprudge.com Rumor Wire earlier this week, and we can report it now as confirmed fact: Tim Varney, noted Australian and longtime lieutenant at Oslo's revered Tim Wendelboe, is moving on to a diverse set of greener pastures. In his time in Oslo, Mr. Varney has helped TW cement is position as an internationally respected brand, home to some of the best in green coffee sourcing and roasting the world has to offer. Seriously, set down a bag of Wendelboe in front of a bunch of American baristas, and watch what happens. People flip out.
We sat down with Tim Varney not to flip out, but to play a simple game of five questions on the eve of his departure from Tim Wendelboe.
Won't Tim Wendelboe, The Person be devastated that you're leaving Tim Wendelboe, The Company?
I'm pretty certain Tim Wendelboe, the man and business, will be absolutely dandy without me. I'd like to think I've contributed something to the way we've worked as a business in terms of service, atmosphere and approach, but without question Tim has obviously driven and shaped the way we've developed. To be honest, I think I've mostly added sparkles. Working with him has been super rewarding and I've been spoiled to have worked with such fantastic coffees and people.
Your next stop is The Barn, Ralf Rüller's highly regarded Berlin specialty coffee landmark. We've heard them called one of the best cafes in the world, but what does Tim Varney think? And are they still on about not allowing prams?
The Barn is a really interesting one. While on a Bromance with Tim Styles in Berlin, we stumbled upon The Barn by accident, got talking to Ralf and was really impressed with his drive and willingness to improve his coffee service. Tim & I returned to help with brewing and some training, and Ralf told us about his plans for the roastery. To his credit, he's now opened the roastery to mixed bag of press and I'm keen to get back to work with him some more.
The source who clued us in about your impending departure mentioned you'll be spending some upcoming time steering the coffee service at Noma. As I'm sure you're aware, Noma's coffee service has been a catalyst for a great deal of blogatorial thought in the last few weeks – some trenchant insight, some exhaustively detailed portraiture, and some blithering drivel. What will your time at Noma entail?
Ever since Rene Redzepi announced at the NBC that he'd strive to have the best restaurant coffee in the World, they've done nothing short of making that happen. They've approached the coffee service with the same amount of care and consideration they would offer to anything else they do – every detail has been attended to. Water filtration, staff training, hand-blown glassware, a better grinder and most importantly selecting coffees that match their food and wine which has ensured top notch coffee is now part of the Noma experience. I'm really excited to be able to spend some more time with sommeliers Mads and John who've been the key to making it happen.
Tim, you are an Australian. The 2013 World Barista Championship is being held in Melbourne, in just 5 short weeks. Tell us a couple of places we just can't miss in Melbs.
Melbourne. What a cracking city for the WBC. I think Melbourne will do a bloody great job of hosting. For coffee, you'd be mad not to visit Bowen (mega hunk and uber nice guy) at Patricia in the City. A stupidly beautiful space, gorgeous detail and coffee from Melbourne's best roasters : Seven Seeds, Market Lane & Small Batch. Try the drink “Clouds Mountains“. For food, you're spoilt for choice, but Jenni Bryant recently took me out for a hot date at Cumulous Inc.. You'll get a great display of Australian wines and yummy Aussie fare to boot. Plus, they've just opened a wine bar upstairs, so you'll be able to pop some delish Aussie rieslings in the gob.
So after Noma, and after WBC Melbourne, where will you be headed next? Where shall the seas of wind, sand and time whip you asunder?
Fuglen Tokyo. This is immensely exciting for me. Fuglen Oslo have done a wonderful job in offering the best of Oslo's roasters in the one location; they've become quite the institution in Oslo, and have successfully brought their unique mix of Norwegian coffee, vintage furniture and cocktails to Tokyo. The space in Tokyo is true to the Oslo location and has had a huge amount of interest from the coffee community in Japan. I'll be there to head up their roastery and to bring the Oslo roast profile – whatever the hell that means – to Tokyo. I'll be working with a great team of talented and excitable people and will endeavor to find Tokyo's best ramen and umeshu. Plus, Japanese babes.