We've got word that starting tomorrow, May 1st, public international shipping will be offered for the first time by Tim Wendelboe. The venerated Oslo roaster will feature a fully integrated worldwide shipping option available via their webshop.
International shipping is still a rarity in the specialty coffee world, owing to the vagaries of different national customs systems and a lot of bureaucratic red tape, not to mention cost. After years of struggling with Norway's own postal system, Tim Wendelboe has developed a relationship with FedEx, who've been able to offer them easy shipping around the world, tax conversion services, and favorable shipping rates. This means that tomorrow, we could conceivable get some Wendelboe sent to us in Portland, no problem, which is kind of unbelievable but also definitely very cool. It also means that, so long as they're willing to pay for it, well-heeled polyroasters across North America can begin considering coffees from Tim Wendelboe for their menus. This arrangement with FedEx has already allowed TW to develop wholesale relationships with accounts in Copenhagen (Noma), Berlin (The Barn), and London (Kaffeine & others).
For more details on the international shipping program, we were lucky enough to grab Tim Wendelboe for a quick interview.
Sprudge: Why now?
TW: The biggest thing was programming our web shop to be able to handle several different tax and shipping rates. I guess the reason why we can do it now is because we have really good rates from FedEx. Norwegian shipping has been at 60% rate of loss or return – with Fedex we've done experiments in New York and Germany, and it takes around 2-5 days for it to arrive. It's actually faster to ship to New York than it is to ship to Denmark.
I think that mainly for the web shop, it will be home users. We have had a few FedEx international wholesale accounts, but it is so much easier and cheaper now. We're shipping to Noma every other week now with Fedex – so there is no problem, and we're hoping for more.
Sprudge: This new program goes live tomorrow. Which coffees are you most excited about offering right now?
TW: During the next week we will be putting our new Kenyan on the web shop – it is from Tekangu, a cooperative that we have been buying from in the past that we are very excited about. We just did our first test roast today – it's quite floral to be a Kenyan, light rose hips and a floral style, with intense acidity and a tea-like mouth-feel. We're also offering a new coffee from Colombia, where I have just came back from yesterday. We'll be selling the November harvest from Colombia soon, and it's much better than the June harvest. This coffee is called Finca Tamana, and ‘juicy‘ would be the first word that comes to mind, but it has much more intensity in acidity and flavor, like a pomelo, if you've ever had that.
International shipping begins May 1st at the Tim Wendelboe webshop.