Picture above: Trygve Klingenberg with Susie Spindler.
By MICK WHEELER with help from TONE LIAVAAG
There are many people, better qualified than I, who can talk about the life of Trygve Klingenberg, but I had the privilege of calling him a friend so I can only hope that I do him the justice he deserves.
He was a tall Viking commanding respect and acknowledgement wherever he went. He was passionate about good quality coffee, becoming one of the first pioneer members of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE); President of the Association in 2003/04, on the Board for many years as well as being made an honorary lifetime member for his contribution to the SCAE.
Trygve understood the value of collaboration and pushing the speciality coffee message forward in a positive manner. To be fair he was not always easy to get along with, he was opinionated, obstinate, loud and used to getting his own way, but these are the very qualities that were needed to get our fledgling speciality coffee movement off the ground. Once you got to know him however, you realised that he was also extremely kind, loyal, thoughtful and supportive.
The measure of the man lies in the fact that everyone who knew him, remembers him with fond memories and his many friends and colleagues love to regale anyone who will listen about the first time they met him, and believe me, all the stories are different and testament to the man himself.
Trygve Klingenberg was born in Oslo on April 27, 1947, and died on November 30, 2019. From all accounts he had a happy childhood and graduated as a business economist in 1973. His first position was in Le Havre, France with a shipping company, but he soon left to pursue his passion with coffee, becoming the CEO of the specialist coffee house Solberg & Hansen AS in 1974.
These were challenging times in the Norwegian coffee business with small players losing ground to the larger commercial houses. But under his leadership the company underwent rapid development, focusing on direct trade, sustainability and speciality coffee. When the first coffee shops arrived in Norway in the beginning of 1990s, he took the new generation of entrepreneurs under his wings. He understood the potential and invested in the new trend, ultimately benefiting the industry as whole. Trygve retired from Solberg & Hansen in 2006, when he sold the company.
He married Danne in 1981, the woman in his life, with whom he had 3 daughters Thea, Nanna, and Katja and more recently he became a grandfather (“Foffa”) much to his delight. He enjoyed sailing, participating in regattas for many years, but he also had a passion for photography with several of his photographs winning both national and international awards.
We have lost a true coffee pioneer, but his contribution will live on.