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World Roasting Championships.

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.

15 Comments

  1. Would love to see it happen, apart maybe for the ethics part. Competitive ethics is a funny sounding concept.

  2. I think ethics is a part of barista competition and is rolled out all the time, coffee from here (admittedly no points), etc.

    I think its about a chance for the roaster to say what they do, why and how they achieve it. Also to big up the coffees that’s sometimes missed in the whole competition arena. Also to show knowledge of their craft.

    Maybe the title was not so good maybe something like Roasters presentation about the coffees.

  3. Roland Gifford 22 March, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    If you intend rewarding roasters I think that you have missed an element.

    Element 6 (and possibly 7)

    Roaster has to roast a single estate bean, where the green beans are supplied by the competition organizers, and has to roast for the best espresso and the best filter from these beans.

    This separates the skills of the roaster from the skills of the buyer and also removes the risk of someone doing well or badly just because they have chosen a bean which is a particular favourite (or unfavourite) of the judges. Geisha being a good example where you felt that you had done worse in the nordic championship than you could have because of your decision to use geisha.

  4. Also, I think if you want to make this happen, you need people who are gonna wanna watch that. So there need to be something happening on stage other than judges tasting coffee right?
    Other than that, I would say it’s a pretty good idea

  5. Yes I’d be in although I fear by the time this happens I will no longer be spending my days in front of a roaster.
    I think to really test the roaster there does need to be a common bean at some point to be able to judge how well people know their beans all on a level playing field. I’m not sure how you would add this with out having to many sections to your comp, theres a answer in there somewhere.
    The next question would be, roasted on competitors own roasters which makes the most sense in a national competition but if it came to world levels it would be a lot harder for people that have to travel to send their coffee and be confident that it had travelled well.
    I really love the idea I’m just not sure about the logistics of it on a grander scale.

  6. Roland I like the idea of using something you haven’t selected very much, getting the best out of it, although I’d like a few days with it before to get to know it.

    Hey Lex who would think watching some one taste coffee would be fun, I guess some would say its not, but it has a following.

    Jess, I think for the nationals then on your own kit for sure, but international level playing field everyone on the same kit.

    Love that its sparked some thought on it though

  7. Roland Gifford 22 March, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I wasn’t suggesting a ‘here’s a bag of green beans, see you back here in an hour’ type approach. I was thinking of a period longer than a week but don’t know how ‘interference’ with the beans when away from the competition home would be policed.

    I found it interesting that John who is involved with his own roastery used you to produce his blend for the UKBC. I assume that available varieties of bean had something to do with it but it could also have been your ability as a roaster. The two of you presumably have a view on where the balance lies between those two.

  8. Roland much more to do with our long term relationship with John, he is new into his job, and last year the company he worked for were new to roasting. Its more john is a good mate, and he likes what we do than anything else. I think it takes some pressure away from him working with us more than anything else.

    Its an interesting angle you come up with though I like

  9. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by KoffieKop: Great idea! @Hasbean “World Roasting Championships.” – http://is.gd/aSMqg

  10. Keep your eye on this year’s Nordic Roasters Cup… it’s a little updated from previous years.

    …plus i’m sure we can construct an even bigger paper cup tower for you to demolish!

  11. And i absolutely agree with Roland, as an entry fee, you buy a bag of the competition green… the roaster’s interpretation and quality of the roast, for me, are by far the best way to see if a roaster can really roast…

  12. I thought the same as Roland!

  13. Hello my friend!
    You got me 🙂
    I am just working on a competition format with Trish roaster and Q-cupper from http://www.wreckingballcoffee.com/ in US. We will do a test in London and would be great to have you in. This year we will work with prebooked competitors to make a good event. I call you later my friend!

    /Filip from Sweden

  14. Ha! Ask and yeh shall recieve Mr Hasbean ! That’s amazing, you are going to be super busy in London !

  15. heehehheee
    (don’t look at me, Filip started it)

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