This was the first year that the World Coffee Roasting Championship was organized in Sweden and I, Joanna, was proud to take home the prize, considering the many great roasters competing. Among those was my great friend, Christian Gullbrandsson, from daMatteo, who came third and who I brought along as coach to the the world championship.
The world championships were held in Rimini, Italy, and lasted for three days, the first of which was about analysing raw coffee (picking out defects and categorizing these, measure moisture and degree of colour of the green and roasted coffee) and sample roasting the blind competition coffee on another roasting machine than the one used for competition. The second day was about designing a roast curve and stating which characteristics of the coffee one wishes to bring out and which adjustments will performed on the curve in order to bring these out. During the third day, the judges cupped all the competitor's coffees to see which one had the best taste and how well it followed the flavour-description given by the competitor during the second day of competition.
I came in third place after Yu-Chuan Jacky from Taiwan and Jang Moon Kyu from republic of Korea. Cupping the coffees blindly, I found mine easy to recognise. I had focused on getting a clean cup with clear flavours. Tasting it, I realized I could have raised the out temperature by 1.5 degrees but the coffee was still very tasty and a lot it's potential character was presented.
It was a blast to meet the other roasters and share knowledge from our very different experiences and markets. For me, being a good roaster is all about a clear idea of what you wish to accomplish with your roasting and that you use knowledge as your tool to create it, no matter what idea you have or what market you’re involved in. As a professional roaster, you can choose to roast a coffee with defects that impact on it's flavour in a manner that hides these and makes a better cup; and even choose to roast the coffee in certain ways towards crack, as well as looking at where to add energy during the roasting process in order to not bring out as much acidity in a certain coffee or for a certain brew method. Those are different ideas that different roasters have of what they wish to create.
At Drop Coffee, our idea is very clear; we would like to present all of the potential good flavours in the coffee. Therefore we roast in a way where we don’t hide any flavours from the raw coffee at all and from there try to present all of it’s character and always strives for getting more of its potential out. Furthermore, we buy the best raw coffees we can get our hands on and focus on presenting all of the coffees unique characteristics to their max . I.e. our coffee will never be better than the raw coffee that we’re buying.
Our coffee will always have it's character coming entirely from origin and variety. It’s the coffee's natural charachter that you buy in our coffee and not any added touch, it's a trust in the raw coffee that we’re buying and presenting; we’re roasting all of our coffees through fully to get all the flavors coming through but without adding any roast notes. This being said, we all know that a coffee roasted either light or dark can be underdeveloped and a coffee roasted light can be burned. In my eyes a fully developed coffee is not about roast level, it’s about what you’ve done within the curve.
Drop Coffee promise you that you will have a better cup today than the day before. This knowledge is the very best we know today, but our idea of what we wish to present is consistent. Therefor we do a lot of quality control and are always eager to learn more about origin, roasting and brewing. We cup all the roasted batches twice before attempting to roast it again; once as production cupping at the roastery and once with all of the Drop Coffee crew. When cupping, our goal is always to have a clean cup and get the most possible flavour out of a coffee. We stubbornly believe that all coffees can get even better if we learn even more about them, but as a rule we only sell coffee in which all flavours in the cup are clean and positive. Using a roasting logging system called Cropster, all of our cupping protocols are logged and linked back to the curve. Each week we learn a little more about how roasting impacts the flavour. Our retail costumer will get coffee roasted with a maximum difference of two degrees throughout the curve where charge temperature, airflow and any changes in level of energy given in the roasting, as well as crack, development time and out temperature always have to remain as firm constants; every change occurring when the coffee reaches exactly the same temperature as previously. Our own coffee bar is the best place we have for experimenting with the curves in order to find even better ones.
This way we’re always working on creating better cups while still keeping the quality as high and consistent as possible. We ensure our quality and promise that our coffee will taste even better tomorrow than today, 2018 than 2013. And hey, with a third place in the world roasting competition, we're getting the feeling that we have at least already gotten somewhere! Also, a big thanks to the Gold Sponsor Espresso Specialisten and my coach Christian.
This is blog post one out of two to follow up the 2014th World Championships in Rimini, representing Sweden in Brewers Cup and World Coffee Roasting Championship.