You know the name Bjørg Brend, right? She’s been one of the key organizers and driving forces behind what was among the most innovative coffee events in the world, the Nordic Barista Cup. In her role there, she came into contact with thousands of baristas from around the world. In part because of this exposure to some of the best thinkers in the specialty-coffee community, as well as because of her background in journalism, Bjørg has just launched a podcast. She calls it “Coffee Awesome.”
I had a chance to sit down with Bjørg for a long lunch during the recent Specialty Coffee Association of America show in Seattle, and she was excited to tell me about the podcast, which then was still in the planning stages. Basically, this is an independent project not affiliated with her current work with Supersonic Coffee in the Bay Area, nor with the Nordic Barista Cup.
In fact, the only agenda Bjørg has with the podcast is to showcase awesome things about the specialty-coffee world—the people, the product, agronomy, geography, history, cafe business, brewing, science, taste, etc., she says.
The first episode in Coffee Awesome was released on May 21 and features Rachel Peterson of the famed Hacienda La Esmeralda in Panama talking about her family’s farm and coffee production in Central America. You can access it here.
Bjørg is no stranger to journalism—her first job, in fact, was in radio on the Faroe Islands National Broadcasting network. “I was around 11 years old and [her older sister, who hosted a children's program] had me read the ‘children’s news’ on her program,” Bjørg recalls. “It could be news about a monkey which escaped a zoo in Rio de Janeiro, a juggler who juggled 18 balls at once, or other awesome breaking news.”
Bjørg—who was recently married and has changed her name to Bjørg Brend Laird—says she will post a new podcast at the end of every month moving forward. She says future topics include examining the cafe as a social space, tips for retailers about how to maintain environmental awareness in a coffeehouse, and profiles of leaders in the industry.
“There are so many interesting things in coffee that I want to know more about,” says Bjørg. “During my recent re-location from Europe to USA, I had plenty of time to figure out what I really wanted to do. Radio came up, and what more natural for me than make a podcast about coffee and thereby join both of my professional sides: coffee and journalism. Awesome!”