Ok sorry for an industry type of post on the blog, but I’ve been hit by an idea I want to share, and I know I have at least one industry person who reads this (or is he still alive),but anyway I’m going to share as thats whats blogging is about, so if the coffee industry is not your play ground , sorry.
Will anything come of it? Probably not, but its something I’ve thought about for a long time, and only now really thought of a way it could be be done. I wont be organizing it thats for sure (way too busy and I want tot compete), but I do want to start a debate / discussion about it. Sp please email please leave comments and please tell me if you think I’m a nut (about this topic in particular not general).
We are in the middle of Barista Competition. I love competition, I’ve always been competitive, thats why I love playing sports, thats why I love being involved in barista competition, I like to win at stuff (weird as I have a life of little awards and support Sunderland).
This year I participated in the nordic roasters cup which is the only real competition open to a roaster to pit himself against other coffee roasters, and has only just been opened up to non nordic countries.
But the Nordic competition left me wanting, it left me feeling like it wasn’t so fair (I feel knowing before what I know now would have meant we could have done better) but its one element of roasting that the buttons can be pressed easily. It also looks at one facet of roasting, a tiny element.
To be a great, even good roaster it takes so much more. I know probably 20 great roasters in the world who’s coffee I have enjoyed, but thats because I’m a geek, and I’ll buy coffee that costs more in shipping than the coffee its self. I’d like a chance to see the peoples coffee who are not on my radar. So how could we do this?
I think there needs to be a roaster competition, a competition that pushes the roaster to improve, to try harder to showcase what they can do, and really shows all the facets of coffee. Also give the unknown roaster a chance to break into the scene with not just fluff but credentials.
So what do I propose …..
Firstly the first four elements would be blind, judges / competitors not knowing who the competitor was. This would take away any biased or pre conception. Very easily done with lot numbers etc.
Element 1 Espresso Blend.
A blend, pulled by the same barista maybe a national or international reconsigned barista, maybe even a past champion, who follows the advice of the roaster for dose extraction etc, and serves them to a panel of competition judges. This gives the roaster a chance to showcase a skill that gets so overlooked, the ability to present a rounded well developed blend is never rewarded or is there an industry acknowledgment. This is easily scored as its already done in barista competition. The roaster gives the panel descriptors and aims of the blend for the panel to access.
Element 2 Single Origin Espresso
In the same breath, to find a great single origin, really shows a roasters / green buyers quality and ability. Same as the blend roaster gives extraction and dose and other instructions to get the best out the coffee. A panel of barista competition judges access and score. Descriptors given to the panel of judges to access and evaluate
Element 3 Blended Brewed Coffee
Blended filter coffee is the forgotten child of coffee. It grew up and left home, and the blended brewed coffee has been forgotten. A blended brewed coffee can be as amazing and as interesting as a blended espresso, and a real chance easily and quickly access the roasters skill. Dose and extraction time parameters offered to the roaster to give them control and descriptors given to the server.
Element 4 Single Origin Filter
Again to find a great single origin, really shows a roasters / green buyers quality and ability. Same as the single origin brewed coffee the roaster gives extraction and dose and other instructions to get the best out the coffee. A panel of barista competition judges access and score. Descriptors given to the panel of judges to access and evaluate
Element 5 Presentation about roaster ethics
This is the chance for the performance element of competition. They don’t know from the coffees (all blind) what the roaster in front of them has presented, so this is the time for a little biased to be introduced.
To replicate any competition thats fun and interesting there has to be some influence. A game against Man united and Sunderland always leaves Sunderland at a disadvantage so when they win the victory tastes that little sweeter.
No seriously this is a chance for the roaster to present to the panel of judges (who still don’t know who the coffee presented before) there ethics. It’s also a chance to chance to discuss what the coffees that were presented and why. Not only is this a good opportunity to measure the roaster, but a chance for the organisation running the competition to access the judges, and maybe use this as a tool to find better judges for the barista competition, link against all the other elements.
Would I compete in something like this ? God yes !!!, would we win something like this I think we would make finals, and like any good competition you get to finals its a lottery. But I think it would help the industry to not just be the barista that gets pushed and an opportunity to show what it can do.
Please feel free to steal all of this rambling idea, and make it better mr coffee association, just don’t forget to send me my application form.