The many different lives of Audun Sørbotten: biochemist, eight years at Solberg & Hansen (the oldest roastery in Norway), the move to Bydgoszcz (Poland) and the coronation as World Coffee Roasting Champion 2015. All of this is Audun Coffee.
It's not so often that the story of a specialty coffee roaster is so connected to the man behind all of it, so personal. But Audun Coffee and its founder Audun Sørbotten are clearly the exception, and it all started in Norway, Sørbotten’s homeland, back in 2006.
Audun came to specialty coffee late, when, surprisingly, he decided to swap his background as a biochemist for a career as a coffee roaster. He was on a four-year research program, but when the research money ran out, he decided to apply for a coffee job instead: an opening at Solberg & Hansen for a coffee roaster position seemed like the perfect job to apply for, no matter the scepticism of his future employer. Could a scientist be suitable for manual work? Will he be humble enough, willing to forgo his whole education “just” to work in coffee?
The answer was obviously affirmative, the scientific background taught Audun how to be systematic, how to approach the entire roasting process with a more serious and controlled approach than many other roasters out there. Suddenly, Audun became a coffee geek, in love with coffee and its difficulties, complexities and challenges.
The eight years at Solberg & Hansen gave him all the knowledge he needed to win the Nordic Roaster Competition in both 2011 and 2012, as well as the dream to open his own roastery. At that point, the only big decision left was where to open it, but it quickly became clear that it was not a difficult choice: hearing that the Polish community was the most eager in the world for better coffee, Audun decided that he wanted to be amongst the first roasteries here.
2014 was the year when finally Audun opened his own roastery in Bydgoszcz – a small town in northern Poland – and it took him just one year to become the winner of the World Coffee Roasting Championship. But what’s so special about Audun Coffee?
First of all, the philosophy behind the roastery, where Audun buys only one or two bags of each coffee at a time. That means that all the coffees (from the high end of the market, where small coffee lots are chosen just for their outstanding taste) change every two to four weeks, with new coffees being released every single week. But what is also different is the way the coffees are sold in the café: in a country where specialty coffee is still so expensive, Audun Coffee started to introduce the idea of batch brew to let ordinary people have access to good coffee in a cheaper way, to share not only good coffee but also knowledge and a more “popular” version of brewing specialty.
Jana i Jędrzeja Śniadeckich 30