Interview with Talor & Jørgen
We talk with Talor&Jørgen about their delightfully fun branding and the importance of bringing yourself to work.
Talor: Hi guys, I’m Talor. Talor Browne. I am one half of Talor&Jørgen. We are a tiny little roastery just two people operating out of Oslo, Norway. I’m Australian, he’s Norwegian. I’ve been living here for about five years now.
Jørgen: I’ve been living here for about 30.
Talor: Little bit more than 30. He’s 30.
Jørgen: My name is Jørgen. Jørgen Hansrud.
Talor: We launched our roastery in December of 2016. We’re based just online right now, but we’re in the process of opening our first shop in central Oslo. It’s going to be right on the main square in Oslo and we’re hoping to open the first week of November.
We’re going to roast delicious coffee there, we’re going to brew delicious coffee there, and we’re also going to make hand made doughnuts.
So what we do I guess in the company, I roast the coffee, but not forever. I want everybody to be able to roast their coffee. I do a lot of the writing. Jørgen does all of the YouTube, all of the finances, all of the things that actually make the business work, that’s Jørgen.
Jørgen: A lot of the time, I think starting something new like what we’re doing now is about doing what needs to be done. So every week is like … You have a couple tasks that you know that you’re comfortable with. Then you have 10 that you’re like, okay someone has to do it, so I guess I’ll learn how to do this now.
Talor: I’m just going to try it, see if it works.
Jørgen: For me, a lot of the finances and stuff is a lot of that. A lot of someone has to do it, so I just got to suck it up and teach myself. It’s been going okay so far I think.
Talor: Nailing it.
Jørgen: I didn’t …
Q: Tell us about your path in coffee.
Jørgen: This is going to sound a little bit sinister maybe but I think my-
Talor: Sinister whoa.
Jørgen: Yeah, but my path in coffee is not about coffee it’s about people. I think coffee has been the product that people have been surrounding. I’m into learning a lot about a subject when I get in to it. Som I know a lot about coffee now and especially the machines, grinders, and tech around it. But, the path in coffee has for me like the choices I’ve made has been a lot about people.
Talor: Yeah, I think the question is maybe more specific into like, “Where did you start and how did you end up where you are now?” I know that you say it a lot but it’s not boring people who haven’t heard it before.
Jørgen: The thing I think is boring is the answer to what you’ve done. It’s like answering the question with not the answer. You know what I mean? Like how did you end up where you are now? And if you just tell people what you did you don’t really answer how you got there.
Talor: I think you do yeah.
Jørgen: Coffee path. I started at the university in 2007, 2008 I think. I applied for a part-time job as a barista, worked there for a while. That was at Steam Coffee Bar and I stayed with Steam Coffee Bar throughout my studies and then for a lot of years after that. I went from doing part-time barista work to training baristas to helping them opening coffee bars and building bars and training all those stuff.
Talor: Steam is kind of understood in Oslo to be one of the highest quality coffee franchises in the city. They have the best equipment and they have the best equipment and they use really, really good coffee. Better than any of the other franchise that exist here.
That’s kind of how I understand that company. Jørgen has done an amazing done training all of those baristas actually.
Jørgen: They put a big amount of resources into training their staff promptly.
Talor: You can really tell. My journey in coffee, I actually started making coffee when I was 13 in high school and I knew even before I started working with coffee that it was something that I wanted to do and something that I wanted to focus on.
In high school, I would take a couple of days in the afternoons and do a placement at a café. When I finished high school I went and started working at the only roastery in my home town. Then I moved to Melbourne and I started working at a place called St. Ali and I went along with Mark Dundon to all of their different business like Brother Baba Budan and Seven Seeds. I helped them open De Clieu as well. Then from there I did a bit of time at Market Lane, and also spent some time in the kitchen at Duchess of Spotswood and ended up managing that café, but that’s when I moved to Paris. I was head hunted to work in Paris for a company called Coutume. And whilst I was working for Coutume that was when I was asked by Tim Wendelboe to work for him. That was when my life changed very drastically for the better.
I worked with Tim for three years and then we launched into starting this project. It’s amazing how time flies, I can’t believe I’ve been living here this long now actually. Crazy.
Alright starting with an online … No wait. When did the idea of Talor and Jørgen first come up and how did you go about make it a reality?
Jørgen: I was working at Steam, we just opened a new flagship store downtown in Oslo at the central station. It’s a beautiful coffee bar. One of the guys working there, he asked me, “Don’t you guys want to roast your own coffee?”
I said, “Sure that would be amazing, but you can’t just buy a coffee roaster and chuck some coffee in there, you need someone who knows how to roast.”
Talor & Jørgen Meet
Jørgen: He said, “What if I know someone who can roast coffee?” He introduced me to Talor and our meeting the first time was about looking at the idea of building a roastery for Steam, so that Steam could roast their own coffee and we would work in that roastery. But when we continued to work on that and the more we continued to discus principals beyond the roaster, what kind of quality, what kind of communication, we both got really enthusiastic about that ideas that were matching up in our conversations.
Talor: I mean, up until that point we were absolute strangers and here I was coming over to his house and we were working on these budgets together and having these early tentative conversations. It’s kind of crazy from that became this. If you think about it, it was very chance that all of that came together the way that it did. I think it’s worth saying the reason why I wanted to approach Steve to talk about the roastery thing is because I was really burnt out from my job and I was try to find a new way to work, a new avenue, a new concept, and new something, Oslo’s coffee industry whilst being quite famous it’s quite small, so it’s really difficult to especially move upwards.
How Talor&Jørgen got started
Jørgen: We were talking about how we came to do the idea. So by the time we had the meeting with the guys from Steam about the budgets and starting the roastery with them, we already had the feeling that we want to do it ourselves.
Talor: We were like, “We think we can do this better if we just do it you and I.”
We were like, “If money is the only thing, we can work money in.” Because we realized that our ethos, our ethics, and our morals, and all of those really important things are exactly in the same place.
The really cool thing when I met Jørgen I was like, “How can you be so good at what you do and have flown so under the radar?”
He wasn’t a part of the Oslo coffee scene, and I think that’s amazing that you managed to avoid that and also be so good at what you do. I don’t get it. I don’t get it.
I just think that’s so incredible. And coming from the fact that I think I’m quite replaceable. It’s an interesting partnership. So the reason why we came together is because I was burnt out. I needed to find something new. Or else I was going to leave the industry.
I think it’s worth mentioning that you where also probably reaching the end of your time in the coffee industry.
Jørgen: Yeah, I came back to work after a longer period on sick leave. I told my boss the week when I got back I told him I need something new. I don’t know what it is. I’m going to be looking for it. When the possibility to start a roastery then I thought it was that, but then I turned out to be it was even more than I thought.
Talor: The rabbit hole went deeper.
Talor: I think that it’s just kind of magical that we met each other when we did. We were both ready to give up on coffee actually. Both of us where just at this crisis point. Then we met each other at this apex in time and it was just like, “Oh, we’re going to save each other kind of.”
Jørgen: The weird thing is when you realize that and then you … Then comes the interesting thing about starting something, because then you’re like, “Okay, let’s start this. Let’s do this thing. So what do we do tomorrow? Who do we call, what’s the thing to do to start something?”
Starting the Roastery
Talor: In the beginning I was working part-time at a place called Java. He was still doing a lot of trainings, almost full time trainings still with Steam. And slowly, slowly, slowly we weaned off our other jobs until we were able to do this. It’s been a year since I’ve been doing this full time. It’s been like eight months that you’ve stopped doing the trainings?
Talor: Yeah, something like that. We took it really slowly. This company was really, we started out pretty lean, we’ve done everything just as it’s come. We didn’t have an initial investment that was huge. We had enough money to purchase the green coffee and to purchase the packaging and to build a website. That’s it.
You know that the growth has been so organic, it’s been unreal and it’s felt so, I won’t say easy because I get we’ve put a lot of effort into it, but it’s been so natural. It’s never felt forced at all. We’ve been really lucky to have been so well received in the industry. I think we’ve sent coffees to over 50 countries now. All over the world.
Jørgen: And we might get into this at some later questions but I think it’s a good segue into the year we were starting to build of the roastery and starting a business and whatever all that means, and we’re try to figuring it out. Something that also happened was that, we met some guys who were looking for talent. They were looking for people who are great at what they do so that they could partner up with them and enable them to start their own spaces.
Talor: They had opened a wine bar here in Oslo, which has been really, really, well received. If you want to drink wine in Oslo this is the place that you go. It’s beautifully designed bar with great stuff and they have records and really delicious wine.
They wanted to expand upon the success of this concept by finding other people who were just like the people they partnered with to open this wine bar, so like young talented, maybe don’t have the resources to open their own thing.
Jørgen: Enough knowledge to open their own thing at all.
Talor: So they wanted to put us on a pedestal basically, find us a space, and then just let us do what we do best. It’s been honestly, without them I don’t think we could’ve done what we done.
Jørgen: No, no, no. Especially not the space. With that space came the wish for something to eat. With the wish for something to eat came Talor’s idea of we should do doughnuts, no one else does doughnuts.
Talor: I think food scene is Oslo is pretty young. There’s a lot of really high-end fine dinning food here, but there’s not a lot of accessible snacky type food. I lived in Paris before I lived here and I think I was really spoiled especially going through Melbourne and Paris to then here. I was like what the hell is this? What do people eat? What’s going on
I went back to Melbourne, I worked in my friend’s doughnut kitchen and backing up when my experiences as a pastry chef was in Melbourne I learned how to make doughnuts, we came back to Oslo. We started doing pop up doughnut events that have been absolutely mental. We’ve got more people interested in the doughnuts than we have in anything else.
The doughnuts have been this perfect frame for how we want to introduce our coffee to the world.
Jørgen: I think this is the point I started on five minutes ago.
I think the reason for the growth being this organic is that we learned from doing the pop up events that if we tell people what we’re doing, people will want to participate. Then more people will want to participate because we’re telling people about what we’re doing and why we are doing it. So because we were able to see that and it felt really natural to just keep on doing that with the coffee, instead of having to do the job of like … We never feel like we’ve had to sell anything to anyone. Because we’re just telling people what we’re doing and then people are like, “That’s interesting. Can I taste your coffee now?”
I think that’s a real … Looking back at it, that’s a real reason for why it’s been organic and why it felt natural for us the whole time.
Coffee is for Everybody
Talor: I think the thing that sets us apart from what other people are doing especially coffee is there’s never been the intention that we want to create some luxurious special product that is inaccessible. In Norway everybody drinks coffee. It’s part of the cultural glue here. If you invite someone over for a meal and you don’t serve them coffee, it’s often seen as quite offensive and the thing is that coffee is for everybody. There’s been for like the last eight or 10 years it’s been marketed as a luxury product by certain companies is Oslo.
We want to step back a little bit and say, “No, but coffee is for everybody. Everyone’s tastes are subjective.” We as a roastery can actually connect, producers that don’t necessarily have that capacity to produce certain quality coffees with the customers who want to drink those kinds of coffees. We can be a roastery that has all sorts of different levels of quality of coffee and we don’t have to say that they’re something that we’re not. We can have the highest of high specialty coffee that are 90 plus coffees but we can also have 81. coffees and be really proud to have those coffees and be proud to be supporting the people who grow those types of coffees and not be put in a little box.
I feel like especially how the coffee operates inside a space that’s about this big and I think there is so much opportunity to connect with people.
Jørgen: Instead of saying this is the right way of doing it and let me teach you how to drink coffee, we’re saying what do you like? Let us do that really well.
Talor: Yeah tell me what you want to drink and we can provide that coffee for you. The way we want to exist in the world. We’re not here to tell you what you like. Were here to just make you delicious things the way you like it.
Q: Starting as an online roastery, how did you go about making the connections with your customers?
Jørgen: It comes back to a lot of what I said earlier. The fact that we had the experience with the doughnut side, we share a lot of what we’re doing, that connects us with people. When we copy that on to the roastery it was really natural. So conscious …
Jørgen: Some of those choices that we made is that we made the choice to make a YouTube channel. We made the choice to publish regularly on social media. There are times were we are like, especially with the doughnuts, there are times where we’re behind schedule. We need to get out the door but we have to stop and take a picture of it because it’s such a big part of what we’re doing so even if that feels like somethings like, “What the picture is not important right now.” It is. It is important right now because our whole communication … Because people can’t come and meet us that easily. It’s that picture and that story and what we’re doing.
Talor: Our lack of a physical presence actually has helped shape our business into one that can communicate really effectively on a lot of platforms. I think not only did that come from the doughnuts but it’s actually just stemmed from how I am as a person. I am inherently an over sharer. I grew up in my mom’s hair dressing salon where just everyone is talking about every thing all the time. I just grew up thinking that’s normal and natural.
So my natural state of being is over sharing. When we were starting the roastery I just thought the more that people know and the more that people can see us as people the more value they’re going to put in what it is that we’re doing. I think so far that has actually worked out really, really well.
You get this great creative outlet in the YouTube channel and I really enjoy posting beautiful pictures on Instagram. So it’s kind of like this beautiful connection between the two of us and we have this excellent way of telling stories and communicating. I love telling stories I think that is also a cultural glue. People love hearing interesting stories of things that they don’t quite understand.
Jørgen: The amazing thing is with that communication we don’t just have to talk about coffee and the concrete stuff that we’re doing, we can make it as broad as we want. One of my main goals with the YouTube films is one thing is if people know more about what we’re doing they feel more connected and therefore they probably like the product we’re making more.
That’s the first level of communication but I think one of the main goals is that if someone in high school sees something from the real world about starting a business and about how things really are, we could maybe inspire them like 2% to understand that the world isn’t just about their grades in high school.
If we can do that through not just talking about what we’re doing inside a meeting but sharing it I think that’s amazing.
Talor: Yeah I mean I think that it goes a little deeper than that even, too. This isn’t necessarily just a business this is mine and Jørgen’s life. That’s the reason why are name is the company’s because we’re two people and these are the things that we do really well and that’s the things that we want to share right now and this whole thing is just about sharing our personal perspective with the rest of the world and I think that’s really fun and exciting.
Jørgen: I hope over time especially now we are hiring new people for our shop that we can share even more perspectives and show you even more people.
Coffee packaging and naming
Jørgen: We discussed this so much. It was one of the things when we were starting up that we just came back to every time we sat down and had a list and we need to deiced on these things. Naming what should we have on the labels and the boxes it was there forever. We discussed this so many times.
Talor: Can I take this one?
Talor: Okay so I’ve been working with coffee a really long time. In and one of the things that I noticed the most is when you have somebody who’s not necessarily very confident when coming into a café they feel really uncomfortable saying the names of producers, the name of farms, because they’re in a foreign language that often these people don’t speak. So when they come into find a coffee or when they come back from buying the coffee after, I would find them using the color of the label to describe it or the country origin because that was a thing that made them more comfortable to explain which coffee they wanted.
Jørgen: Even like to, “The one you had on that shelf.”
Talor: Yeah. Yup. So the thing is I was like, “Okay. We want to connect with people who don’t necessarily see themselves as specialty coffee consumers, so what way can we get people to be able to connect with the coffee and want to buy that coffee again if they liked it?” And I thought okay. So things that people can do is they really like the taste descriptors. “Oh I really like that coffee that tasted like apple.”
So I was like, “Okay. That’s the number one thing,” so the taste of the coffee because that was a word that they could understand and replicate and also the color of the label.
So the SCA tasters wheel came out and I was like, “Oh my God this is beautiful. These colors are amazing. We have to use these colors in these wheels somehow in our packaging.” Then also we realized, “Okay. We can have the producer’s name, the country or origin, the variety, the processing, it can be on the package.” Front and center we realized that most powerful thing is to have two distinct tasting notes, then the color this is reflected from those tasting notes as the label color.
I think the really fascinating thing has been how that idea has involved over time. So we want people to be able to continue to find new coffees if the one that we had before that they liked isn’t in stock. We can also use the same tasting notes and also really similar colors on the labeling so that people can come to our website and really easily choose a coffee that they enjoyed before without the stress of having to really buy into the concept of specialty coffee and understanding things that really are not really necessary as a consumer of coffee.
Jørgen: It’s been such and amazing experience to talk to people bout it because I have friends who are coffee people who would reference the coffee to me as the name of a farm because they know-
Talor: That’s how we talk specially coffee like that.
Jørgen: They read all that extra information because they’re interested in. That’s cool. The information is there because we also think it’s extremely important.
Talor: We have all of that extra, the really in depth information actually on our website.
Jørgen: Yeah, so you can go and read a lot of stuff about all the coffees but then I also have my grandfather who would sit, we and drink coffee in like a family dinner and he would say, “I can really taste the almonds in this.”
It’s just such an amazing experience that for him to read that it’s supposed to taste like almonds on the box, it gives him more fun when he’s drinking the coffee.
Talor: It’s really just about fun.
Talor: We want to be able to have fun with everything that we do because that would be really boring otherwise.
What was the process of designing this incredibly joyous packaging?
Jørgen: I think the packaging is one of the things that I’m most proud of. Just because we went into the first discussions saying we wanted to be about fun we wanted to be approachable. I was really afraid that it was just going to be something we said in meetings and when the final product came out it was going to be a lot like everything else. Because one thing is like saying it, but different thing is what does it actually mean? How does it translate into practice?
I think we made some bold choices about illustrations being fun, about the shape of the boxes being different, because we went into it like we want to do something different. I’m really proud that we ended up with something that actually is really different and really fun.
Talor: So there was a research study done where they found that the average person rated a coffee higher when there were less taste descriptors and specialty, people who are industry people, which is actually a very small share of the market and then the least likely to actually spend money on coffee, they preferred coffees that had more complex longer taste descriptions with three or more descriptors.
So that’s the reason why we went with two. It can be it’s the duality. Talor, Jørgen, apple, and nuts. It’s the duality thing. That’s what it was. Alright I’m going to stop now.
Jørgen: Cool. I think maybe the box process, how did the boxes came to be in the packaging is a really good example of how things are when you’re starting a business. Because what happens is, okay so we need someone to produce. We want to make some boxes.
Talor: And we want to make something that has never existed before.
Jørgen: Yeah, we want to do something really different.
Talor: I said to Jørgen, “I don’t want to have waited 15 years to start a business and then to do something exactly how it’s been done before. I have to do it differently.” I’m one of those people who are really stubborn.
Jørgen: I really just wanted to do the same thing as everyone else.
Talor: I’m not saying it like that. But yeah we went and we have this brief that we wanted to build something that hasn’t existed before. So the first step was that we went to graphic designers right? We put this pitch out. We said, “We wanted to use the SCA tasting flavor wheel. We want it to be really fun we want it to be able to travel through the mail. We want it to be colorful and for it to have never existed before.”
We put this brief out to a whole bunch of graphic designers all over the world. Like Australia, Finland, Oslo, America everywhere. The really cool thing was that the people who ended up being the most awesome are based right here in Oslo.
Talor: Yeah. So Bielke&Yang. Woop woop.
Jørgen: So Belky and Yang they made this concept of illustrations of the logo of how we can communicate this fun approachable thing that we wanted. But then the next question is, “What’s the box? What’s the actual thing?” Because you can just take that out of thin air also.
So we ended up thinking, “Okay, who do we know that made boxes?” I had this company that I had been working with for a long time with Steam that makes boxes of posters and stuff like that.
I went and had a meeting with them and said, “Okay it needs to go thought the post.” I had measurements for how big maximum it might be.
Talor: Because the Norwegian mail box is a certain size.
Jørgen: Exactly and it needs to fit this amount of coffee and then she just came up with drawings like this is with all of those things this is the box that could work. I think it’s such a fun example of the practical implication of, “Okay wanted something completely different,” and then you see it in a meeting and someone draws up a box and it’s like, “Oh yeah.”
Talor: The way that the packaging ended up being, it’s a collaboration between our ideas and then taken by these various people who have great skill in these different areas and everyone coming together to make this really special thing.
I think there’s also been studies done where they found that consumers make decisions on the shelf based on aesthetics. We can ignore that as much as we like but that’s just how things are.
Jørgen: You can even do the study yourself just walking into a super market and feel like which one do you want to buy?
Talor: I think that the specialty industry is really shooting themselves in the foot by not understanding this concept and taking advantage of it. Design, packing, color, all of those things that’s the thing that’s going to influence a consumer the most.
Jørgen: We just wanted to make an awesome experience for the coffee. The thing we knew and the thing we know a lot about to get and roast really great coffee. So the product was like, “Okay cool. We can do that.” But how do we make the experience even more fun? That’s why taking the rest of the package seriously. Say if we wanted the whole thing to be fun, we need to take the box experience there as well.
Talor: Because we don’t exist in the physical world just yet we need that box to communicate every thing that we’re trying to do for us. And you know what? I think it did. It really did.
Jørgen: It’s been crazy.
Talor: We actually just finishing up the first 6,000 boxes, and the new illustration is coming out very soon. We’re using the illustration on the boxes to tell a continuous story about the evolution of our business. It’s really cool.
Jørgen: I’m really looking forward to the next one where we can put more people.
Talor: Yeah and have everyone who’s going to be on our new team on the boxes as well. Alright.
Letting people bring themselves to work
Talor: So I think that this kind of comes back to how we met each other and the space we were in when we decided to do this concept. Right? Because we both felt like we weren’t nurtured and appreciated by our respective work places and we thought about the kind of business that we wanted to make and that business was one that nurtured the people who worked for them.
I feel like the coffee industry, it sees people as disposable. I think that’s why the industry is so young actually is because we take people with a lot of energy that are really young and enthusiastic and passionate and we ring them dry. Then because they feel like there nowhere else for them to go, then they leave and they go to another industry. I feel like that’s really unsustainable. If we want this industry to be seen as professional and we want these jobs to be seen as careers, we need to find a way to make peoples’ lives enjoyable and livable while they’re working inside this industry.
Jørgen: I think as a general culture thing for the industry that’s very true. I also don’t believe that a lot of business owners in this industry think, “Okay how can I dispose of my employees and how can I make it hard for them to live.” I think it’s a culture problem. This is two part answer to how one thing is why we want to change it. The reason we want to change it is not a good culture right now and we both have felt the need for stuff to be different.
The other side of it is, what does that mean and I think this a thing that we encounter a lot that people talk a lot and they use a lot of words some of things that are awesome and cool and we should do it this way and this way. I don’t feel like a lot of people follow through all the time and we put so much effort into following through. So when we say this in this meeting, that means something on Monday. It means that we’re going to change the way we do things.
So for us to say that we want to let people be a complete human in their work life, that means that we are going to act differently we are going to do things differently in the real world. We know that the implications of that is going to be a lot of hard work and we’re not going to be able to cut any corners. It’s the only way we can do it.
Talor: I don’t think I could live with myself as any employee or a business owner unless the people who were part of our team where coming into work and being really happy to be there. I’ve just worked in this industry way too long to build something and not do that.
Jørgen: I think we know that we’re saying this now, even before we have a lot of staff and we know that we don’t have all the answers at all, but we also know that we are willing to ask the questions, we’re willing to be vulnerable and to say that we don’t know the answers but we’re going to try and find them and try to work, and work, and work, until we find them.
Talor: When we were looking for staff we actually, part of the posts that we made for the jobs was saying this exact thing. We said, “We don’t care about your skill or experience we want you to enjoy spending time with people and want to be part of a team but also we want to create a space that’s going to enhance the rest of your life rather than subtracting from it.” You can see that reflected in the candidates we got. Especially in the people that we chose to move forward with in our business, too.
Our team, I think is going to be a really special, an incredible bunch of people. We recently started a Facebook group. We put everybody in together for the first time and we were looking at it being like, “Oh my God.”
Jørgen: People introducing themselves I was like, “Ah.”
Talor: So many feelings. So many feelings.
Jørgen: Yeah it was crazy.
Talor: I think that that thing is the backbone of every thing that we want to do. It’s about people and it’s about connections and it’s about relationships every thing else comes secondary. But also having that taken care of makes every thing easy. I think. Cool.
What do each of you enjoy most about working with the other? What have been your biggest challenges?
Jørgen: Biggest challenges in working with the other?
Talor: You can start with the good stuff Jesus, don’t jump into the negative stuff right away. Oh my God, my feelings.
Okay I can start. Jørgen is one of those people who when he says he’s going to do something he’s going to do it. Case in point, he said that he’s going to run 2,500 kilometers this year and it’s July and every week he’s run at least 50 kilometers and I think that’s insane.
His dedication and his perseverance is literally unlike anybody I think I’ve ever met before. It kind of transfers into the rest of his life. He’s got the most amazing … You’ve just got so many principles. You’re so, what’s the word that I’m looking for? You live your life very strongly by principles and you can see it in everything that you do. It’s so inspiring for me because I feel like I have very little self control and seeing how you are and the conscious decisions that you make to make positive changes in your life, it’s incredibly inspirational.
Working with this guy is fucking incredible honestly.
Talor: I can’t tell if you’re blushing or whether it’s sunburn.
Jørgen: No I’m just very warm right now.
Talor: You’re wearing a sweater and it’s like 30 degrees what’s up with you? I don’t want to wear a t-shirt on camera.
Jørgen: I have a pink t-shirt that I have on.
Talor: You’re allowed to its fine.
So there’s … I don’t know where to start.
There are … I think one thing is Talor has this crazy work ethic where she says she’s going to deliver something and then she will do anything to deliver it. Even to the point where it’s maybe unhealthy. But that’s just an amazing quality to have especially when you work in service and you’re giving something to customers because the customer is always going to get the thing that they want and probably more.
But the other quality that is extremely fascinating to me and also it makes it extremely fun to work with Talor is that she’s one of those people that says, “I can do this thing.” And then she does it and then she does it a lot better than you thought she would.
Okay so this is a coffee thing but I think most people working in coffee would know this; there’s some baristas who do exactly the same as everyone else but for some reason their coffees just taste better. They just are better. There’s nothing technical you can see. There’s nothing you can say this thing you do, but it’s just better. And that’s the thing and it’s like that with Talor all the time. A really concrete example is in the kitchen. We would do the technical same thing, but you just nail it every time. Especially every time we do stuff we’ve never done before. I just never done it before I’m just eyeballing it and it comes out perfectly every time and it’s like, “What?”
So I think the work ethic thing is one thing but I think that the fascination, and the trust it gives me as well to work with someone when she says, “I’m going to do this and I can do this.”
So you know okay so it’s going to come back even better than I thought it would.
Talor: I don’t know that this has happened all of my life but I had this experience a lot while also doing this project. I think it’s because … I think it’s a double sided thing. It’s because you have the faith in me to do it. I feel confident enough to succeed at it and it’s cool because the more it happens the more confident I get. It’s really cool.
I think the wait … The biggest challenges. So Jørgen really loves to play devils advocate, so whenever we’re having a conversation, which we talk a lot about a lot of things all the time. We’re constantly making decisions and having deep conversations. He sometimes, because he likes to tease out the reasons why I’m doing something that I’m doing, he’ll decide to, even if he agrees with me, take the other option and aggressively fight for it. Sometimes to the point of where I’m almost crying and I’m like, “Why? Why are you doing this to me?”
I think its good but it’s also challenging.
Jørgen: I think the cool thing that comes out of it is a lot of times we have ideas, we have things we want to do but if we don’t get to the bottom of why we want to do them. If the thing is impossible we will lose it but if we understand why we want to do it, if the thing is impossible we can just do something else that has the same why. Then we get to do the thing anyway.
But yeah I can see that’s challenging.
Talor: The other this is while we both exist on different time schedules, which I think is both a positive and a negative. Jørgen does a lot of his best work in the morning, and I do a lot of my best work at night. So I think in action you can see this, Jørgen is always on time and he’s always fresh and ready in the morning. I’m always a little bit late and always a little bit lagging. I think that’s great because as a two person company we can cover almost 24 hours of the day and that’s great but I can also image it’s pretty annoying for you consider how highly you prize punctuality.
I don’t know I hate it. It’s something I’m trying to work on but I’ve always been really bad at it.
Jørgen: You know I think a really challenging thing as well is the … We are both passionate but our passions are expressed in really different ways and we have the same principles but we act really differently. The patience and energy it takes to take a step back, look at what the other person is trying to communicate and try to understand the perspective instead of like, that’s something that challenges me every week. But I think it’s also a really important lesson because it’s going to be like that with every person you work with forever.
Talor: Yeah I agree. The really nice thing, I think that all of the negatives that there are, like any of the challenges that we have they’re actually all positives as well.
Jørgen: We learn from them.
Talor: Yeah I think that one thing I really appreciate about you is that you are literally the most patient person I’ve ever meet in my life. I know that I can be chaotic and emotional but you are so patient because you see the positives. You’re just happy to wait it out. I’ve never seen that in anybody else. I think my husband is the same as you maybe that’s the reason why I ended up with the both of you and I’m just this chaotic fucking tornado of a human being and you’re a flat rock on the ground that’s just grounded. You’re the roots of a tree and I’m like the branches just like.
Jørgen: That’s a good illustration.
Talor: Yeah we’re a tree. You’re the roots. I’m the branches.
Jørgen: Roots are boring though. I’m not-
Talor: The roots are so important though.
Jørgen: Yeah but they’re like-
Talor: You’re not boring I promise.
Jørgen: Thank you.
Talor: Next question.
You’re opening in November. What’s it going to be like?
Jørgen: It’s going to be great.
Talor: It’s going to be like something the world has never seen before.
Jørgen: And I think the reason is that where from the ground up in the way we think. We’re on purpose doing something different.
Talor: In Norway there’s this concept called Janteloven which is the law of Jante. It basically translates into something along the lines of tall puppy syndrome.
Jørgen: Don’t believe that you’re worth anything, why should you be special? Sit down shut up. Blend in.
Talor: Yup. This translates a lot into how the hospitality industry in Norway has evolved and expresses itself. So it means that a lot of people do the same thing. A lot of the shops look the same, all the menus look the same, people wear the same kind of uniforms, people serve the same kind of way, it’s all very homogenized I guess I would say.
Jørgen: I think it’s split between that and the fact that most of the businesses are owned by the same kind of dudes that all just want to run a business where they can buy us cheap stuff as possible and sell it for as much as they can. That can really form … Because there’s only one bakery in Norway that will make the cinnamon buns that cheap so everyone buys it from them.
Talor: It’s a kind of a small population as well. Five million total in the whole country. So I can’t have that. I’m just one of those people that have a very specific aesthetic, and I have also this vision about what I think we want to build. We have to do it that way or else I think I’m going to go mental actually.
Jørgen: I think I can say we can’t have that.
Talor: Yeah sorry. We. We can’t have that.
Jørgen: I definitely agree with you. This in not a point where I’ve been disusing.
Talor: No, we don’t disagree on this point. So we want to build something that has a certain feminine energy to it because I think that definitely have been lacking in what people perceive especially coffee places. It’s going to be very clean. It’s going to be very colorful. We’re try to remove the bar between us and the customers as much as possible because we want to make people feel really welcome. It’s going to be very efficient.
Jørgen: The main focus is making people feel great, make awesome products, and great communication.
Talor: So basically I don’t want to do a menu, we don’t want to do a menu that’s going to be black coffee and milky coffee and that’s it and you’re not allowed to have anything else in there.
Jørgen: It’s going to be part of the system.
Talor: I want people to be able to walk in, anybody. I want anybody to walk in; teenagers, older people, men, woman, every thing between I want to be inviting and I want you to tell me the thing that you want and I’m going to make the best version of that thing. The whole purpose of this place is for you to come in and walk out feeling even better than when you walked in the door. That’s the whole entire purpose of this place. We want people to have genuine interactions, and we want people to have relationships with the customers, we want the teams to have relationships with each other, and we want it to be a really beautiful, and we’re on track. We’re on track with that.
Talor: It’s going to be gorgeous and it’s going to be so fun and I cannot wait to be working behind the bar.
Jørgen: I also cannot wait to have everything in one place.
Talor: Yeah. Right now we have the roastery in one place, the kitchen in another, and our office in another, so we are everywhere all the time. I’m just looking forward to having a cinnamon doughnut and a cappuccino for breakfast. That’s just … I have this dream and I’m holding on to this dream.
Get ready for it because it’s going to be so beautiful.
Talor: But basically doughnuts are beautiful and fun and a little bit inherently silly and we want to counteract with the seriousness with, which especially coffee takes itself and meld those two things together so that we can have both people who enjoy specialty coffee and who like have adventurous experiences with coffee with the average Joe who just wants a delicious doughnut and who maybe wants to drink a coffee alongside of it and is pleasantly surprised about how good this coffee tastes. And smooshing it together. That explains it right?
Talor: Cool. Thanks for having us on the podcast.
Jørgen: Yeah. Thank you. Good bye.