Barista Competition = Good13/02/2010
Things are heating up at the roast works at the moment, it is competition time again and once more the baristas are putting our coffees through the microscope. I feel like I say this every year but I can’t help but love the competition season. Some people say that if you want to be a great barista then a fast track to refining your craft is to compete, this actually rings true for us the roasters as well.
As the baristas ask us to do micro adjustments to our roast profiles, it gives us a chance to put our years of roasting experience to test. This year already Ryan Wilbur and the rest of the Barista team is in our ear asking for the smallest of adjustments to our end temps and agtron scores. I remember when we all started at Intelligentsia well over 2 years ago, we were asking what if we took the coffee 1 minuet longer and 2 points darker. Now we are asking ourselves lets take the coffee 20 seconds longer and 1/2 an agtron point darker and we are able to deliver and discern.
This just means that as coffee people we are honing our skills together, pushing each other, all the while analyzing coffees with a palate that only time and maturity has provided us.
Excitingly, this year round our customers can come on the journey as well, for every coffee, roast, experiment will be offered at our bars as single origin coffees. Our customer get to experience every twist and turn that we take as we dial in the coffees they want to use for the competition. Right now, the cafe at Silverlake is serving our Burundi Kirundo Muyinga as a single origin espresso, it is a great example of our competition process, it is a heavier, port like coffee with a thick viscus mouthfeel, almost leathery if I may. Is this how we want it to taste for the competition, no, it was our first test, it is a little heavy for what we want, we want more acidity to brighten it up a tad and that is what we have done. The next time it appears on the bar you will be able taste that as well, you will literally be in the passenger seat watching Nicole and myself drive that coffee home, hopefully with the 1st place trophy in the boot of the car as well.
So when asked are the competitions good for the industry, I would have to say yes, everyone has an opportunity to learn and hone their craft, plus now our customers have that same opportunity as well.
Barista Competitions = Good