Monday, February 22, 2010

SERBC: Mission accomplished, target missed

SERBC (South East Regional Barista Championship)

So I had a few intentions entering the SERBC: 1) Get to know my coffee and how it behaves as espresso 2) Tell my story 3) Spend some time behind the espresso machine. I was able to do all of those. I've had the farm for almost three years now, and only in the last week was I able to try my coffee enough to learn a little about how it responds as espresso.

1) I only had enough green coffee to do one roast. So I did some sample roasts and pulled it as espresso. Then I cupped it with Dave Delchamps from 1000 faces. We tasted it and discussed what we wanted to do with the roast to bring out the coffee's best side. With 3 inches of snow on the ground in Athens GA, we roasted it up. From what it looked like, I think he nailed it. With that one roast I pulled the coffee a few different times as espresso. At first is was really fresh and I could taste a carbonic note (fresh coffee). Then it tasted pretty decent a few days later. Then the day before the comp I was able to taste it. . . only then was I able to decide where I should pull the espresso and decide on flavor notes. Turns out, the Full Natural tastes delicious as espresso, but the window of parameters where it shines is small. After pulling 10 or 15 shots at different doses, times, and volumes, Jamie Pair and Danielle Glasky eyes' lite up when I handed them the shot pulled at 17grams, 28 seconds, 1.8oz. Clean, red fruit bright, wild flower honey sweetness, smooth, round finish. Then I pulled a single shot in a 5oz. capp. and as usual the espresso disappeared and the milk over powered. So I up-dosed to 19 grams on the same grind setting and let it run for 36 seconds. It was out of this world good. Danielle finished the capp! I felt confident that my coffee was good as long as I hit those parameters on Friday.

2) Well I was able to tell my coffee's story to the judges and the audience seemed to like the presentation. The feedback was really positive. And I got my picture and a few words in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

3) Still know how to use a tamper.

So what happened? Well two things: I forgot a timer to dial in my shots for my 15min setup. Hence, when I set the supplied grinder to the same settings from that morning and the shots ran fast. I pulled two shots, which is all I had time, and they didn't taste all that special but I theory-ed that my palate was off because of the stress. When I saw that I didn't make the finals, I had a chance to look at my score sheets. The first shots were at 20 sec and 27 for the capps. It should have been 27 for the espressos and 35 for the capps. . . so the notes I gave didn't coorespond to the flavors they tasted. I should have adjusted the grind finer and upped the time but that would take a few shots to stabilize before I could feel confident I hit the mark.

So yes, it was a success. Considering I didn't serve what I wanted to, I did pretty well.


Anonymous said...

Interesting entry, but all we really want to know is who the cute man with the steaming pitcher is.

The Deuce said...

I'm proud of you sir. You know more about coffee than The Oracle of Omaha knows about the economy. One day you will be rich and famous.