Erik Evenson, manager of Tony's Coffee Bar in Seattle, recounts his experience at the Brewer's Cup this last April at the SCAA convention in Seattle.
I’m a firm believer that, if you are working with a great coffee, there is the possibility the next cup you brew could be the best one you’ve ever had. It's this draw that keeps those of us who are into coffee tweaking recipes, trying new methods, questioning what we think we know about brewing.
There isn’t a better way to challenge your brewing prowess, test your skills, preconceptions and nerves, than to compete in the Brewer’s Cup competition. I was lucky enough to be able to compete at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s national expo this last April. And though I didn’t place, I came to appreciate just how much can go into brewing a great cup of coffee.
The competition itself was pretty simple: in ten minutes, brew three cups of coffee, present it to three judges, the best coffee and presentation wins. 18 brewers from all over the country competed. Even as I prepared for my part in the competition, I got to see how everyone else prepped – coffee doses exact, water temperature precise, presentations rehearsed over and over. I watched most of the presentations and, most importantly, got to taste the coffees the competitors were brewing. So many people were doing new and interesting things with brewing, from taping water kettles to their heating element to inventing new brewing methods altogether. It was fun talking with competitors, seeing what they liked and disliked and hearing their reasons.
As for my presentation, I was happy with it. I used Gino Glass Drippers to brew a coffee from the Cerro Azul farm in Colombia and I thought it tasted really good. We now use the Ginos as one of the brewing methods in the Seattle Coffee Bar as a direct result of my experience with them.
I had a great time competing and learned a lot about brewing that I wouldn't otherwise have learned. So now, when I brew coffee at our coffee bar in Seattle, I have all that knowledge in my pocket, a solid base to keep moving forward with brewing coffee. Stop by Tony's Coffee Bar in Seattle. Who knows, maybe that next cup we brew for you will be the best one you've ever had.