Morten Wennersgaard – Founder & Managing Director
Morten has more than a decade of experience sourcing and direct buying from producers in Africa, Central/South America and Asia. Before starting up Nordic Approach in 2011 he worked 9 years as the product manager and buyer at Solberg & Hansen Coffee roasters in Oslo, Norway. He started to cook as a professional chef in 1992 before he took a bachelor in food science in 2000. Thats when the coffee interest started.
Besides managing the company Morten is the main buyer and cupper for Nordic Approach and has a very clear idea of what profiles and quality criteria Nordic Approach should stand for. His experience has taught him how process and growing criterias are linked to cup quality. His mantra would be that any coffee Nordic Approach buys would be something he could stand behind as a buyer in a quality roastery himself. He knows that great coffees comes from projects and longer lasting relations where producers are well paid for quality. He’s also involved in product development and are managing quality at our washing station project in Rwanda, Motherland Farmers. He’s good in building strong relations in producing countries, overall management, creativity in starting up projects, like to work his ass off, but might not always be the most organized guy on earth. So don’t worry if he’s not always quick on responding on emails. Just target one of the people below.
Joanne Berry – Director of Coffee
Although her love for coffee began long before, Joanne formerly entered the coffee industry as a barista at one of London’s early established, fine coffee serving cafés Dose in 2009. Here she learnt her foundational skills. From there she moved to Origin Coffee Roasting in Cape Town, South Africa where she lead the barista team for the company, trained baristas for their wholesale accounts and was involved in espresso blend development. While at Origin Roasters, she was the Western Cape regional barista winner two years running.
Joanne then moved to London where she joined the team at Mercanta and took up the position as the East African green buyer, this is where she has been for the last three years until her recent move to Nordic Approach where she now is the Director of Coffee. Joanne is very relationally driven and enjoys building relationships at both ends of the spectrum of the coffee community.
Marco Barra Castro – General Manager Ethiopia
Marco was the General Manager at Tembo Coffee Company, Tanzania from 2013 to 2018. Before beginning his career in coffee, Marco worked in the garlic export industry in China and Hong Kong for several years. Marco is a long time resident of Tanzania, having lived here for nearly 15 years. Before joining Tembo Coffee, Marco was the Managing Director and co-founder of the Boona Baana Center for Children’s Rights where he perfected his Kiswahili and learned first hand about the challenges and joys of working in East Africa. Marco is a fluent speaker of Spanish, English, Mandarin Chinese and Kiswahili and he likes to say that he speaks French with a Chinese accent. Marco and his wife have eight children plus a continuous flow of others who stay temporarily with them before being adopted out. Marco fervently hopes to one day learn how to play the guitar and dance salsa like a pro.
Semeon Abay – Product and Quality Manager Ethiopia
Semeon worked as head roaster and production manager for 4.5 years at Novo Coffee in Denver, Colorado since 2005 where his first professional lessons in coffee started. This is where he started to understand what kind of raw material is needed by the end customer. That is when the interest of working in coffee from the source was born. He then moved back to Ethiopia and started working with Ninetyplus coffee as a sourcing manager responsible for improvement of coffee picking and all the processing to get a better quality including experiments. He was in charge of quality control on the ground level, and made the final choice and decision of which cherries were the ones headed to the cup and which processing methods to be used, including controlling the final preparation of the coffee, cupping and grading, packaging and transportation.
Marianela Montero – Country Manager Costa Rica
Marianela, also fondly known as Nela, comes from a coffee producing family in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. She graduated from the National University of Costa Rica studying International Business and Trade School in 2014, and have also studied abroad in Germany. She explored coffee markets through research and then decided to travel different markets for almost two years to learn about the coffee consuming side of the industry.
In August of 2015, Marianela came back to Costa Rica to begin a new trade project with producers, buyers and roasters. The entire project’s model is built on transparency and sustainability. The goal is to implement these two core values across every member in the coffee supply chain. Marianela’s main role in this project is to act as the facilitator between producers and buyers. Along the way, she aims to go educate local micro-mill producers on how they can band together to improve their coffee quality, negotiating skills, learn their coffee’s value in the market, and become better managers in their mills. Marianela is also aiding her family business in improving their coffee operations to be more competitive in the market.
Today Marianela works for us in Central America looking for unique green coffee, where she is able among many things to do one of her favorite things: cupping and tasting coffees.
Tim Wendelboe – Co-founder
Tim’s career in coffee began in 1998 at age 19 when he started working as a barista for Stockfleth’s, a small chain with 3 stores in Oslo at that time. He teamed up together with his friends and colleagues Alexander Jensen and Andreas Hertzberg to change all the Stockfleth’s stores and open new branches.
After winning the World Barista Championships in 2004 and World Cup Tasting Championships in 2005 Tim left Stockfleth’s in early 2006 to work as a freelance coffee consultant and barista trainer. In July 2007, he started his own espresso bar, training centre, and micro roastery at Grünerløkka, in Oslo, called Tim Wendelboe, where he imports, roasts and sells high quality coffee. Tim Wendelboe won the Nordic roaster competition in 2008, 2009 and in 2010 and was awarded the Allegra European Coffee Shop Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the European Coffee Industry’ in 2011 and the Allegra European Coffee Shop Award for “Best Coffee Roaster – Europe 2013” Tim has also written and published the book «Coffee with Tim Wendelboe» which is translated in to 5 languages.
Tim has very close relations with all the coffee producers he buys coffee from. He spends a lot of time working hands on in origin in order to help the coffee producers develop their coffee quality. On his journeys he also helps out with sourcing for Nordic Approach and he assists with cuppings and selecting coffees together with Morten from Colombia, Brazil, El Salvador, Kenya and Honduras.