1. Tell us more about yourself. How did you get into the coffee business?

We started in working in the United Nations and by then their environmental branch GRID in Norway situated in the city of Arendal on the south coast. It is safe to say we did not consider being in the world of coffee as 'business'. On our free time upon missions in Kenya, because the headquarters are there, we visited coffee farms. There we learned the producers were paid 0.7 USD/kg of green coffee. This was in early 2000s. Coffee in our part of the world is sold approximately for 10 USD/kg of conventional/supermarket grade. Obviously, something was wrong.

We decided to establish an open trade platform with coffee farmers where customers understand the purchase price of the coffee. We also set out to establish the trade platform under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ and https://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/). Therefore, from an early beginning the price of the coffee was openly declared and we called it “transparency trade” (http://transparencytrade.org) that was established on the local market in Norway.

The work on all this required establishing a company in Kenya for exporting the coffee. We started working on this around 2008. At the same time, we spoke to many of the few by then specialty coffee roasters such as Time Wendelboe in Norway, Da Matteo in Sweden, etc. Few were interested in our open and straight forward approach. Nonetheless, we were frankly neglected.

Some time afterwards, we decided that the only way to make a statement was to do it ourselves. That meant to acquire a roasting device, to have it set in a location and have coffee at hand. A minor roasting device was acquired in early 2009 where samples from our friends in Kenya were roasted. At times we struggled to have a location to make our idea a reality. At one point, in Gothenburg, Sweden, Thore-Andre stated "Let's do this ourselves, let's buy a roaster. The problem is where to place it". My, Ivica, replied: "Let's have it on the Store Torungen island. The lighthouse there will act as a guide with our ambitions regarding the world of coffee just as it guided ships in the past." Thore-Andre's reply was: "I know you were crazy, but not this crazy. Let's do it!".

By the end of 2010 we acquired a full scale production roaster with the coffee waiting for us from our farms in Kenya. Truth told, having it carried over and placed on the inhabited island was very risky. The crane carrying it from the freight ship to the island was very wobbly and it could just as much ended up as a solid anchor on the bottom of the sea. Finally, after the assembling and everything else including a diesel driven backup for electricity - yes there are power surges on an uninhabited island - we had our coffees directly from the source in Kenya from Kiarago and Macho Estate in late 2010. I remember we paid 7.6 USD/kg which was 1,000% more than they were used to receiving.

Today, the word “transparency” is used in other shapes and forms by others but not by us. We still retain our ideology. We declare what we pay for the coffee in full. It is unsatisfactory though to state openness when not knowing margins generated relative to buying and sales price. In our opinion, higher margins in the latter end of the coffee value chain - to use the term fair - when we learned that 0.7 USD/kg is paid to the producers and the "rich" countries pay 10 USD/kg for commodity grade coffee. For example, if a roasting business buys coffee for 10 USD per kilo and sells for 50 USD - is that “fair” when farmers and producers are not receiving at least just as much profit? After all, they produce the coffee in their home land. That is why we state that the coffee is “Made in their respective countries and finished in Scandinavia”.

The reason for us bringing these details into the light is for you to understand the relationship between our purchase price, wholesale price and your suggested retail price. For example, for Ch’ire Ameli where the trade price is 10.82 USD/kg, one 250g bag is set to 7.5 EUR wholesale and recommended end customer price of 15 EUR. We did not create a roasting facility from the beginning. We were working very hard on understanding the coffee value chain and how we could contribute to make more open and “better”. By actually contacting coffee roasters in the Nordic countries and finding out they were not interested in helping or buying coffee directly from our new experience in Kenya gave us an incentive to do all this ourselves. From there, in about 2010, we bought a coffee roaster to be able to buy and sell coffee from Kenya.

The most important thing was the story about how the coffee world works. From start we focused only on the local market in Norway and enabling people to understand what kind of work goes into producing coffee. Maybe this was our mistake not become more present in the international market and tell our stories there. The years passed by and I got more involved in the international market with contacts by being in competitions on national and international level. We started making processing experiments in Colombia, Kenya, Uganda and Panama together with Jamison Savage, Macho, Rubens Gardelli, Dison Kareng to name a few. We have informally been in the coffee business since 1998 through our work in the UN branch and call it formally and professionally in the coffee industry since 2010. Many more years of understanding trading, our environment and impact in respect to social-economic matters. The roasting, well, is the side-effect of our background and efforts. Today, at the time of this writing 2018, we spend the majority of our time investigating, analyzing and elevating what goes on behind the curtains of the coffee industry. I believe the future will tell and show our results.

2. What kind of roasting machine do you use and what is your roast style?

We think of roasting machines as tools. A roaster should be able to roast on any machine or device, at any time, in any weather, situation, under stress and so on. I use roasting machines on the principle of energy input foremost based on conduction. For me, Ivica, roasting is like music. You have to tune the instrument depending on your audience, atmosphere and ambience. A piano will not sound the same as you might expect if it is a different room. I am enjoying music on my free time with Hi-Fi equipment from 1970s and especially the brand Technics. Speakers of the music system do not sound the same in different rooms. Also, if the carrying signal from the source is of poor quality, the signal out will also be bad. It will move the air in the room differently. I also roast the coffee to the length of music, not towards any specific temperatures and giving specific attention to careful and equal development of the beans from an internal and external view. These parameters can vary with the above stated details such as environment, temperature, moisture - namely all parameters which have what I call inhabiting a delta-flux, namely changing and altering their appearance and behavior based on temporality.

We have various machines for roasting whilst having roasted on many of the common brands that are on the market today such as Giesen, Diedrich, Proaster, Probat, Loring and so on. As a matter of fact, in 2014, we entered the Norwegian Roasting Championships and won the competition. That was the first time I roasted on a Loring 30kg. For the moment, we have a Genio, two Topers and some smaller roasters. My roasting style, or philosophy, is based on making good coffee better. I believe everybody can buy very expensive coffees which usually are very good. Not everybody has money to buy expensive coffees though. My ambition is to find, support and buy coffees that are good, very good, excellent and make or keep them at the level of excellent.

Our ideology of roasting is to highlight the acidity to control the sweetness and avoid bitterness. This could be a very common, usual explanation and we also believe that a lot of coffees are roasted for sweetness - and that is "quite easy" to achieve with thorough caramelization. However, preserving volatile compounds such as fruits, florals highlighting the acidity while still retaining high levels of sweetness could be a more difficult approach. We are always visualizing when eating for example raspberries or other fruits how that generates specific feelings. Therefore, roasting for vibrancy, structure, layers and elegance while looking at what is in the origin of the coffee beans. If you can taste flowers in the coffee cherry at origin, you should also have it in your roasted brew.

3. Can you talk about your help to coffee growers and your green bean choices?

We have always been focused on balancing the coffee value chain. For example, in 2010 we bought a coffee pulping machine to our farm in Kenya enabling them to de-pulp the coffee cherries on the farm and not somewhere else. Previously, the coffee had to be driven to another pulping station and on the way there it could get mold and very bad quickly. Helping can also be achieved through knowledge. By explaining to farmers that they can receive more than 0.7 USD/kg will enable them to respect their product more and know the real value of their work. I believe this is what we call "sharing stories that matter".

Regarding choice of green beans, for example, you can give a barista the "best coffee in the world" and it is not a guarantee that you will get the best coffee cup in the world in return. Therefore, we search for beans that like some baristas have said about the coffees - “no matter how you brew the coffee it turns out good”. Also, as mentioned, I look for beans that can be priced in such a way that many everybody can afford these not just people with a lot of money. Being able to help others that are less fortunate than we are in the world where we live is something we believe in. We have not found the perfect way of helping yet, we are constantly looking for it. I believe our model of “transparency trade” has opened others to think differently and not be secretive about pricing.

4. Many people have done well in coffee competitions with your roasted coffee. Can you give us a general explanation?

An interesting and difficult question. I was thinking about it for a very long time. My parents was always telling me when I was young to be nice to everyone I meet and that if I could help someone, I should. Through that way I would be respected for my approach and actions. I still believe in that and I believe in bringing out the best of people and their goals. I spontaneously joined the Norwegian roasting competition the first time in 2014 as mentioned and was fortunate to go to Italy for the world roasting competition. I remember meeting Rubens Gardelli there and after some time we started to work on processing projects. Together we also coached a few other young coffee people. There are some articles in shape of stories on our web/blog/stories about the competitions by the way that you can learn more about.

A few years ago we developed and presented a coffee (Finca Deborah) that scored 9.5 of 10 on the aroma-category during the world brewers cup. Allegedly by then that was a score unheard of. It would be beneficial and interesting to develop a deeper understanding of your coffee, how it is picked, processed and stored among other details for us to possibly also feature it at world competitions. The second year was more successful with the scoring as mentioned above. However, it took me one whole year of research to understand the coffee. Part of that particular study was to also work with the university on the very coffee and also on in-depth research on cascara.

The first question to the people in competitions was always “Why are you doing this?” If they provide a genuine answer with a genuine goals there is ambition and will to achieve certain goals. That means that they are respecting the ambition, goal and what they believe in. The reason and explanation of why people have done well in competitions I believe is the level of knowledge, capacity and discipline. If that would be a mathematical function, you can say it is energy, creativity and time that works in harmony. Another explanation would be that when humans come together they can achieve great things. Most importantly, they are based on science and that approach based on bringing out feelings in people. We have always tried to do things differently and let people expect the unexpected. These days, I have not focused on competitions due to some unfortunate events with previous people I coached. In the English language is called “Ethos”. I take time to invest in people. I think that summarizes the answer.

5. Which coffee region do you personally like best?

Kenya, Ethiopia and Panama are favorites if one has to choose. We have a vast history with these regions. With favorites I would say that it has to do with vibrancy and complexity, a level of how refreshed you feel when you can have a clean and multiplex sensation of acidity, sweetness that transform into berries and fruits in coffee. When it also changes over time with temperature makes it more enjoyable. I believe that the future of processing hold interesting keys and aspects of how one can slightly alter, change and highlight properties in coffee to bring some aspects of flavors out from unheard of regions.

6. What do you think of the new ways of processing more and more green coffee beans?

Processing for us is very close at heart. We spent many years on this and also with partners in the industry primarily with Jamison Savage in Panama and Rubens Gardelli in Uganda by working on projects in different countries. We have ongoing projects in Kenya as well. The intention was always to was to bring knowledge in non-widespread and what is considered low-quality coffee producing regions to bring them to a competition grade. We do not take credit for anything that we have done in collaboration with others. With key alliances one can achieve great things.

Bringing new processing techniques so that others can take part of it and therefore increase finances in poor regions. I believe in processing for projects like these where it brings value back to farmers. Value can be knowledge, better health, living conditions and finances. However, I believe less in processing just because "doing processing and because everyone is doing it". I mean, processing can hide the trace of origin and the flavor that the cherry has provided to the coffee bean. What I am trying to say is that a processing protocol can make a coffee from Colombia taste like Ethiopia. This is interesting, however, if you want to have a coffee tasting like Ethiopia - just get coffee from Ethiopia. I believe in preserving what is unique to a region. On the other hand, a successful process such as what Sasa Sestic has been doing - I have spoken to Sasa about this and also Jamison Savage of Finca Deborah - it is interesting and encouraging to potentially make something better by for example the Carbonic Maceration protocol in order to increase various details such as sugars in the coffee among other things. But for the sake of staying original and letting people know about origin and terroir, processing could hide parameters in the coffee. In other words, it works two ways - it can help properties in coffee become better and it could hide parameters. Ultimately, the customers chose what they want and if it will be successful.

Processing is also a conduit for experimenting with something that has been very traditional in the coffee world. Therefore, renewing old techniques is important for the coffee industry and also to keep the interest in coffee going. Also, many experiments and technical advancements in our modern age has brought us important discoveries such as penicillin. Understanding the coffee through research will enable us to possibly also highlight positive notes and also improve less positive notes in coffee, make more consistent processing and also introduce more cost-efficient processing methods on larger quantities.

7. Why isn't all the Ethiopian coffee on your bean list washed?This is really rare for a Scandinavian roaster.

The first contact with coffee on a farm was a very long time ago. We were working with environmental questions and projects in United Nations/GRID, I was very concerned when I saw how much water was used when wet processing coffee on the coffee farms. I understood that many, many liters (hundreds) of water is wasted. Most importantly, water is used in areas that actually do not have access to much water meaning that farmers are prioritizing coffee production and shipping to other countries, wasting water, instead of caring for themselves.

However, that was the life that they needed to have because producing coffee would bring money back to their families. Natural processed coffees as you know do not use any specific water. The procedure dries the coffee cherry and infuses the beans with the natural flavors that the cherry has to offer with respect to its growing conditions, soil, climate and attention to farming. This, in my belief, is optimizing the flavor components in the coffee bean and “making the coffee taste as it was intended”. In other words, the wet process actually removes the natural protective layer that the coffee tree has given to the coffee beans - and we actively chose to remove it. Of course, wet processing can bring other interesting effects to the coffee bean, however, I believe the “cost” is high what has to be paid - damaging nature, removing the ability to have fresh water supply in areas that maybe don’t have access to water. The natural process - if done efficient and correct - is more environmentally friendly as we know so far. Many farmers do not unfortunately know what to do with the removed coffee cherry after wet fermentation. It stays on the coffee farm, it generates polluted water carrying a hazardous pH, walking near a large amount of fermented coffee cherry feels very alcoholic, it carries poisonous substances for the freshwater in the ground when the water is drained from the water tanks after the wet fermentation. In addition, the coffee waste water releases methane into the atmosphere when it evaporates which contributes to climate change. These are just some examples.

The natural process could perhaps be a little more labor intensive because in order to generate proper fermentation the cherries have to be moved very frequently to avoid too high bacterial activity (eventually such as mold or alcoholic sensation). Of course, it all depends on the processing protocol. If I could chose or encourage people, it would be to chose natural processed coffees. You are correct that all the Ethiopian coffees are not washed on our list. This is done intentionally. I have one coffee that is and it is because we chose to support the plantation with coffee farming. However, since a few years back, we are also making sure to build knowledge for the farmers to start processing the coffee naturally. For them means sun-drying the cherries. One small step forward.

You might be right that it is rare for a Scandinavian roaster. I do not follow what others are doing so I take your experience with other Scandinavian roasters as guide. It is in Coffea Circulor’s DNA to inspire and set new standards based on research and respect for our nature. I also believe that many might chose a wet processed coffee because statistically it is in a way “easier” to roast. Preserving floral and fruits/berries with attention to acidity in natural processed coffees is my goal. I started to work with coffee primarily because my attention to nature, care for the bi-product (coffee cherry) / Cascara. I have done specific research in laboratory on cascara many years back because when I saw how it was treated it was like throwing natural products away without respect. That is mainly because there does not exist any knowledge about it. There is information about that on our website. Without the nature, coffee would not exist and for sure not human beings.

Your first contact with “Coffea Circulor” was maybe through KaffeBox. This year I decided to do something that likely no one else has done: Offer 2 of 2 coffees that are naturally processed and show and prove to people who are favoring wet processed coffees that it can be done in such a way for them to actually enjoy, understand and respect natural processed coffees. (Ch’ire and Rushashi). These are “regular” natural processed coffees, no “special" or “complicated" processing protocols. Some extra bags were roasted to showcase the wet / natural process to customers at our local coffee bar in Gothenburg, Sweden and we included a bag for customers when visiting to buy a washed coffee. Here is a link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxT75bNpRKb/

8. What does Coffea Circulor mean?

This is a multi-faceted question. Some know us by working on environmental issues related to coffee, the coffee fruit and some know us as a coffee roaster.

When we understood we had to establish a formal instance for conducting import, finances, gathering minds of people, collaborating to achieve solidarity and romanticizing about how the coffee value chain should optimally work. Our wish was to first and foremost create a solid foundation built on integrity, solidarity and friendship. There was an visual idea of the tale of King Arthur, Camelot and the knights of the round table - an arena to unite people who share common goals not only about coffee as a product but also the coffee cherry, sustainability, trade, finances and much more. Most importantly, to work with people from all the corners of the world.

At an early stage, there was truly a means of mockery, mispronunciation and general "difficulties" expressed by others regarding the name "Coffea Circulor". We selected this name due to our background, our mission and the will to change with the environment in mind since early 2008. Now, at the time of this writing in 2019, words like "sustainability", "environment", "mindfulness" seem to be on many's minds and even more in terms of marketing. It is fair to say that being an early purveyor of concepts is not in one's advantage. Only for one's own content. 

Coffea, latin for Coffee and Circulor, latin for Circle was one of the first suggestions which simply happened to remain. The letter C is prominent in many things we do such as coffee fruit (cascara), coffee, collection of coffees: championship (gold), connoisseur (silver), cognoscente (bronze).

In Norway, our origin, we became known as "Torungen Kaffe" which spans from the lighthouse island where we first positioned our roasting facility. 

9. Can you please introduce your roasting facility in few short sentences?

Coffee roasting is a side effect of our past work in the UN. We are primarily not a coffee roaster. Initially we wished to help coffee farmers bring their coffee to Norway and our efforts were rejected. Therefore, to showcase the coffee from our friends, we bought a machine in 2010 and started roasting. Coffee for us is innovation, respect, biology, cultivation, payment for ecosystem services, production, processing, roasting, storing and brewing. Additionally serving, presenting and most importantly research.

10. What is the story behind your name and logo?

Our wish was to establish a collection of people working towards the same goals. We used the legend of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table, creating Coffea (coffee) and Circulor (circle), all Latin words. Each “knight” would bring knowledge and experience from various sections in the coffee industry to build a strong team of international coffee professionals.

Every logo has a set of variables that make up an identity. Our variables shaped our identity which is born from nature, carved by the coffee grower to be sculpted by the roaster and relished by you. Our logo comprises of an angelic female symbolizing mother nature, embraced by divine wings made up of beautiful coffee branches and leaves. Only through her can coffee be created, as she presents by holding coffee cherries.

Our mantra is “Sharing stories that matter” which we have done since 1998 and formally since 2010 while pertaining to “Made by their respective countries. Finished in Scandinavia”, relating to the fact that coffee belongs to the producers and coffee producing countries. We should be happy to be able to have their products.

11. What is the hardest part about being a roastery?

Roasting is not difficult because it is only 5% of the total work that really has to be done. The remaining 95% are the difficult ones.

Roasting is not difficult because it is only 5% of the total work that really has to be done. The remaining 95% are the difficult ones. Today, anyone can be a coffee roaster. The recipe for this: buy a machine, by green coffee from large traders, sell coffee. If you want to contribute to a better global society, health and research, then you learn where to invest the remaining 95%.

If not, you are “just a coffee roaster”. If you don’t know what the remaining 95% really is, you have a lot to learn. 

12. What is the one thing people still don’t get about coffee?

The paradox of coffee as commodity being sustainable and simultaneously being a finite natural resource.

Using “Transparency” and additionally “Sustainability” as instruments for marketing.

It is more than just 3 flavor notes.

13. Which one thing do you wish you’d done differently since starting a roasting business?

Protect intellectual properties.

14. Is there a person in the industry people should know about?

Storm Lunde, molecular biologist and world champion trainer and coach.

15. What’s been your biggest failure?

Helping others achieving goals while putting yourself last.

16. What are you most proud of?

Our background in natural science to be applied in coffee. Processing, roasting, storing, brewing and additionally working from the “other end” of the coffee value chain - namely starting our work on farm-level and not on “final-product-level”/“roasting”. Only then you can understand the coffee value chain, causes and effects.

17. How will the specialty coffee market look like in the future?

At the time of this writing (2020), there are more "specialty coffee" projects starting than 10 years ago. There is more knowledge available today than 10 years ago. However, the concept is more or less the same. The major population of actors are buying coffee and selling coffee. When the majority is copying and doing the same thing, “special” will not be “special”. It will be “just coffee” - which of course can be a good thing - if “specialty coffee” becomes the “new standard”. Additionally, due to coffee being a finite resource, availability can change based on climate anomalies which certainly must be addressed, now more than ever. 

18. Tell us little bit about “The Cup” - best cup of coffee you’ve ever tasted?

There is no such thing as “the perfect cup”. Don’t let yourself grow old to believe there will be. However, there are moments to remember anchored in memory because of the atmosphere and excitement which as a consequence renders “the perfect cup”.

Notable moments are just being on location in Kenya walking under the trees of coffee, catching the rays of the sun, the aroma of the trees and feeling the volcanic soil under your feet.

World Brewers Cup 2015, calibrating with Odd-Steinar Tøllefsen backstage which produced the winning cup together with Storm Lunde.

Additionally, backstage during World Brewers Cup 2017 while Sasa Sestic cupping our roast of Jamison’s Finca Deborah and saying “You crushed the roast” when the roast produced an aromatic score of 9.5 of 10.0.

First impressions of our own processed coffee arriving from countries such as Uganda, Kenya, Panama.

19. If you could make a wish about the coffee sector what will it be?

Be and act original, please. 

20. Coffea Circulor didn’t start with roasting coffee. How did Coffea Circulor start and evolve to the organization it is today?

Our origin dates back to past work in the United Nations and the environmental branch GRID in Norway situated in the city of Arendal. On our free time during missions to Kenya, the headquarters are located there, we visited coffee farms. We understood producers were paid approximately 0.7 USD/kg for green coffee. This was in late 1990s and early 2000s. Coffee in our part of the world is sold approximately for 10 USD/kg of conventional/supermarket grade. Obviously, something was wrong, it just didn’t add up.

With our friends in Kenya, Coffea Circulor established an open trade platform where everyone could better understand concepts such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES). We ensured everyone can better understand the value of the work that goes into producing coffee. We contributed with tools and machinery for enhancing the coffee production. This approach had to seamlessly work where customers - at the other far end of the coffee value chain - could better understand the green bean purchase price relative the roasted/finished product price of the coffee. The trade platform was anchored in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ and https://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/). Therefore, from an early start the price of the coffee was openly declared and we called it “transparency trade” (http://transparencytrade.org). The first harvest we brought to Norway was acquired for about 7 USD/kg, paid to the farmers at Kiarago Estate in Kenya including milling. This approach was widely accepted on the local market in Norway. This initiative was noticed by the Green Economy-moment within the UN which is also part of what today carries the notation “Circular Economy”.

Throughout the years, Coffea Circulor evolved into a team of coffee professionals who aim to identify emerging issues and respond rapidly in even more countries. Our “comme il faut”-approach, ambition and determination is to analyze the coffee value chain - majorly comprising of cultivation-processing-production-consumption - by using a divide-and-conquer approach (looking closer at all components and actors) rather than brute-force (visualized as “just roasting coffee”). By dissecting and comprehending each phase in each major component, Coffea Circulor can assemble near complete knowledge in order to perfect our craft, increase knowledge and not grow tired of what we do. We believe this is a very potent combination and only then are we able to shape our present and future existence. In opposition, a brute-force approach, to act in “only one phase” is not optimal - at least not for us. If we did - for example “only roasting coffee”, we would likely not exist today simply because “just doing one thing is not enough” - it sustains the status-quo and does not influence any evolution.

Our existence is a crossing of our academic, professional and scientific backgrounds. The response to the word evolution is the result of a commitment to continue to be curious, not accepting the status quo and the determination to constantly advance. To lead and not follow. In consequence, coffee roasting is merely a side effect of our efforts utilizing only 5% of the time spent in total. To successfully start and maintain projects with focus on cultivation, processing and roasting, preparation, feedback etc. constitutes a greater portion of the percentage. Coffea Circulor spends time roasting coffee and we have multiple high-level achievements on national and international level to certify that what we do belongs on a world-class level.

“Specialty coffee” has established frameworks, however they are not complete. What we are doing is filling in the gaps. Coffea Circulor therefore feels “detached” from certain “specialty coffee” branches. This provides a level of freedom and autonomy to develop projects in our own pace based on practical knowledge, funding and relevance. Focus is where we see issues are emerging on an environmental basis, where it is meaningful for us, where it serves a purpose and we feel content. We spent many successful years at national and international coffee events by participating in competitions, coaching and judging. It has a purpose, like a puzzle, where the grand total contributes to updating ones knowledge of the coffee value chain. This combination has led us the following ultimate understanding: Sharing stories that matter by understanding the coffee value chain at an atomic level to build present world class products and services.

21. With an international team active in Kenya, Norway and Sweden, what’s your focus in each country?

These countries are our core hubs for operations. Some tasks are naturally more convenient to start, execute and maintain depending on location while others are the organic evolution of life situations.

In Kenya, Coffea Circulor Africa Ltd. conducts research (theoretical and practical), processing, knowledge dissemination and exporting.

In Norway, where we have the grand part of the workforce settled, is maintaining ongoing projects related to the local market. This mainly consists of supplying local businesses with selected coffees, addressing environmental issues and spreading knowledge about coffee.

In Sweden, in a new and evolving facility, we are emphasizing on establishing new cultivation, processing projects and developing our ambitions with coffee cherry/cascara we started studying in 2010. Here Coffea Circulor also finishes collections of high performing and high scoring coffees.

On a “world level”, tasks are constantly carried out such as constantly evaluating coffees. Our uncompromising approach singlehandedly sets the bar for re-defining the respect and evaluation of coffee. The process is very labor intensive and time consuming, yet the experience is surpassing the set standards - and a receipt for you as a customer to expect nothing else than the best. In order for something to be “special”, it better be original, unique and memorable. The taste notes are recorded in all categories (Aroma, Flavor, Aftertaste, Acidity, Body and Balance) according to the SCA WBrC scoring sheet. The 3 most common and identified taste notes from each member in the summation of each category are those found on our packaging. Therefore, we do not copy any potential flavor notes provided by importers/exporters/“cuppers”. They are insufficient and irrelevant when roasting for production. We aspire to visualize the spectrum for a dedicated coffee at our level of ambition and expectation anchored in a solid piece of framework.

Coffea Circulor is ensuring the coffees can be well received in all parts of the world depending on the level of expectation, access to water and cultural aspects. For example: with an international team in place, we can for example better cope with water quality in certain areas to optimize the coffee experience. Needless to say, we have conducted an extensive data collection over the last year with almost all private customers where we have provided advice on a personal level and taking this accumulated data to evolve some portions of our brewing and water recommendations.

Additionally, we have team members helping in various countries and keeping us up-to-date with domestic matters regarding the state of coffee, production, logistics, early warning signs, etc.

22. Coffea Circulor is focused on making an impact. Where do you see Coffea Circulor in 10 years (in 2030)?

We spent 10 years learning and understanding, additional 10 years actively implementing and inspiring. We are now in 2020, conveniently after 20 years in the industry, we have a pre-set roadmap and goals for the upcoming 10 years. These consist of exciting ongoing projects in our pipeline and ardent collaborations to announce.

Throughout this voyage, Coffea Circulor respects suggested frameworks within the “specialty coffee” community where it is fit for purpose. However, we are autonomous and are not following any “waves” or “trends”. We never did follow “waves” and we respected them by learning and understanding their motivation. We set our own standards based on innovation, righteousness and environmental care. We can not exist and act in a “specialty coffee” world that, at the time of this writing in June 2020, is popularized by 3 flavor notes, generating redundant and cross-copied coffee origin-information as standard with the main difference being the coffee packaging.

Our background, ambition, past and present achievements we can justify choices, statements and decisions by being original. Goals chosen are deeply rooted in our own genetics and an idea of “how can Coffea Circulor help” instead of “how can we benefit”. In respect to impact, ambitions and results are not always recognized. In this industry it is easier to be copied rather than promote originality. We believe the people who utterly know what we do, how we do, with who we chose to do, value our choices and results. Additionally, a future that is open for us to roam freely outside of “specialty coffee” and set our own goals - that is very exciting and original.

23. Many coffees har a 90+ grading. Do you think coffee of such quality will be available to the broad mass of people in the future? How can the availability of such coffee grow without negatively impacting the environment?

This is an excellent question and the reply is built in to our DNA. The short answer would be yes - it is fully possible. It is our professional opinion that superior quality can be made available at a broader scale. There is a misconception surrounding this thematic. It is not in the domain if it can be made a reality - it is about commitment. Consumers are equally responsible to understand the underlying mechanics of what it entails to craft quality products. There is an important relation to understand here for consumers: to comprehend the coffee value chain just as much Coffea Circulor aspires to implement it.

When conscious people invest in Coffea Circulor related products, they also invest in the work that has gone into crafting it and especially for our own proprietary developed intellectual property, products and services. For example, if the consumer knows the cost connected to developing a region and scale up to a certain volume with constant quality, that requires substantial amount of R&D, practically translating to time, energy and monetary investment. Unfortunately, the grand population cancel their interest at this point, demanding excellent coffee, extraordinary experiences without understanding the background and their equal responsibility. When this particular observation reaches a tipping point, perhaps judgment and respect will change and ultimately higher scoring coffees can be understood to be appreciated. We also take into account the longevity of the coffee, the R&D-factor and an experience-factor. Developing something new - regardless if it is a new processing protocol, a roasting algorithm, discovering new areas of growing or alike that is possibly unique requires dedicated resources. Coffea Circulor is not settling for cross-copied supplier provided data sheets about the coffee origin - providing 3 flavor notes and calling it “specialty coffee” - made for volume. Quantity is contra-productive in regards to quality, meaning conveniently preferring financial earnings before quality: the “3 flavor defined”-coffees can not compete with proprietary developed, described and produced coffees.

Per definition, coffee scoring above 80 points is considered “specialty coffee” (how good it tastes) and by origin (traceability). Coffea Circulor has added a third criteria - the actual quality and experience when served in the cup as the taste can be reduced during storage, roast, brewing, etc. As green coffee inherently holds unlocked potential, classified at a generic cupping and scoring for example 88, it can be production roasted beyond 90. Subsequently, a 90+ coffee can be degraded to less than 90. Buying an expensive coffee beyond 90 does not mean it will automatically hold 90 when it has left the roasting device or when being prepared. We have created and implemented routines to guarantee quality is sustained by taking rigorous measures to evaluate coffee guided by our international team. We also have coffees that don’t leave our lab before they are mature for release. There is also a reason for why Coffea Circulor does not introduce constantly “new” coffees throughout the seasons: it can take one whole year (one harvest) to understand the cultivation, the process and to optimize the roast, storage, etc. Most of our offerings are based on long term relationships where we implement a closed feedback-loop with producers to ensure it is up to certain standards.

With that in mind, it is embedded in our roadmap for this decade to actively continue to verify non-negative impact on the environment. Additionally, this will also be added as a criteria to our definition for the coffee world that Coffea Circulor is creating - it proves our commitment to set new standards.

24. I am a coffee roaster. Can I buy your coffee, whether being green beans or roasted?

We primarily cater to end-customers. If you are a roaster yourself, it would be interesting to first learn what and why you are looking for as you have capacity to work with coffee yourself. We reserve the rights to acknowledge or decline requests and orders based on the target market and/or customer, availability of certain products and services, the actual utilization of these products and services, etc. to avoid any re-utilization of Coffea Circulor's products (i.e. "re-packing"), usage in any events without Coffea Circulor's explicit approval, etc.

25. We ordered fantastic coffees from you, Ethiopian Jigesa Weysi, Kenyan Githiga BP and Ugandan Kwoti. What makes these coffees special to you?

Coffees at this level have to be prepared with at least a certain amount of precision, tools and above all water within specific ranges. However, we should not let everything go oversteer and become difficult. By the end of the day, just looking at coffee, it should add to a relaxing moment in an ever faster revolving world. Therefore, these coffees are prepared/roasted in such as way like others have expressed: “regardless how you brew the coffee, it turns out good”. If you would like to optimize the experience, tailor them towards your preferences whether you are a hobby brewer, a master barista or preparing for a championship, of course you might use specific tools, time and energy to prepare them to suit your liking.

Coffea Circulor doesn’t utilize adjectives such as “fantastic”, “amazing”, etc. to describe coffees. Coffee is expressive, subjective and it has to be treated according to set protocols at this level where auxiliary words to highlight intensity are more relevant. Yet, “fantastic” is an appreciative expression, however due to subjectivity it can be considered superficial.

Ethiopia Jigesa is a testament to annual improvement and endorsing long term relationships with sorting stations at origin. Coffea Circulor has used coffee from the region for 5-6 years and with a closed feedback loop we can communicate to enhance the experience. It is a time consuming process to understand a coffee from one farm/station/region and be able to have an expressful result. Jigesa is highly appreciated, full of flowers, fruits, berries, roasted with attention for its natural sweetness, playful and integrated acidity. For this, we strongly suggest to select water with low mineral content - as we do for all our coffees - where TDS is ranging between 10-50. Our preference is a TDS reading of 10.

Kenya Githiga PB and the experience is the result of our research in respect to how particular varieties and the trees is impacting the roasting phase. In 2014, Coffea Circulor found that the SL trees are grafted with Ruiru 11 in various regions in Kenya. This is quite common and adds to a salvaging response for the aging SL-trees. That certainly would have an effect on the future yield. As the trees grow, the cherries will develop differently and therefore one can not apply established roasting and storing techniques for hybrid coffees. This particular coffee could be considered a “regular off the shelf”-coffee, however seeing and knowing how and where it is grown with alike trees, the effect it has on the beans - it be turned to something exceptional. Keywords here are therefore mitigation and adaptation with environmental focus. Coffea Circulor suggests to brew with a low mineral water, medium grind size and extraction time targeted to 3 minutes sharp. For more brewing and water recommendations, kindly see our supplied coffee cards or web.

Uganda Kwoti is the result with support from the Research Council of Norway. Some years ago, the consisting team members then, started looking at areas where coffee was not considered of high quality. Coffea Circulor set a goal to produce excellent quality by utilizing new and minimal processing methodologies. A natural processing protocol was developed and implemented targeted for Kwoti. Looking in a long term perspective, we believe people are becoming more interested in coffee from Uganda as time passes. If we would tell you that the price for developing this coffee, calculated per kilo, it would be approximately 2,500 EUR. The cost for development is not in parity with the particular lot size. On the bag, expressed is the purchase price for the coffee, not the price that goes into developing it. In perspective, 2,500 EUR/kg should have been the number, not 7.5 USD/kg. We strongly believe the major population in the coffee community, regardless consumer or “specialty”, does not understand this fact (the development-factor) and it has to be thoroughly addressed. With this coffee, there is absolutely no financial win, especially not if the major funding is from a governmental organization. Coffea Circulor believes people who truly appreciate something else will also appreciate the effort. Therefore, as stated above, our contribution here is developing a region, mitigating and accommodating for better understanding to produce superior quality. This coffee, and many others alike, have a background, history, heritage, investment in terms of administration and finances that go beyond “only 3 flavor notes on a package”.