What happened in Australian Coffee Roasting Championship? Part 4
...Boom!! A perfect roast again.
The production day
I was rostered on the earliest spot at 8:30. So I arrived at Criteria coffee at 8 am with a little anxiety. On the top of that winters in Melbourne are much colder than in Sydney and I wasn't ready for it.
The competition roaster, a Diedrich IR2.5kg was already on and warming up.
There were already a few competitors at the cupping table, checking their roasts from yesterday.
I handed my roast plans to the head judge Bruno, then started weighing the batches in buckets.
- 2 x 1kg Brazil Pulped Natural
- 2 x 1kg Burundi Washed
- 2 x 1kg Burundi Honey
- 3 x 1kg Kenya PB washed
I had 1hr to complete the blend roast and 30min to complete the single-origin roast. In theory, if your roast lengths is less than 10min, you could roast up to 6 batches for the blend and 3 batches for the single, which give you a bit of margin for errors. But you need to take into account the cooling time, removing the Quakers, and bagging. So you would want to finish the last roast 5-10min earlier to be safe.
First up is Brazil. It went slightly darker than planned. Never mind.
Burundi Washed next. Boom! Perfect roast.
Then Burundi Honey. Boom!! Another perfect roast.
At this stage, I had about 30min to spare. So I decided to roast Brazil again. Boom!!! Nailed it.
I spent the rest of my time removing the Quakers and broken beans and then blended them in a cooling tray. No sweat.
The last one was the Kenya PB single. The first roast went so well, I decided not to roast again and stopped there. Having roasted 5 batches already helped me to control the momentum precisely. I was happy and confident with all my roasts.
I submitted my coffee and left the competition. It felt so good. I knew I couldn't do better and I had no regret not spending more time roasting.
My teammates from Deluca Coffee came to Melbourne to share the moment with me. We came back to the competition site for an open cupping session for the competition roasts. One side of the table was 7 cups of blend, the other was 7 cups of single-origin. All the cups were coded with 3 alphabets, so no one knew who roasted them.
Some were pretty dark roasts, one cup was super light, and a few of them tasted pretty good. As everyone uses the same coffee, they weren't a huge difference in aromas, but some roasts had an amazing sweetness and balance in taste. It was hard to tell which ones were my roasts, but I hoped for the best tasting cups.
Earlier that morning, 5 judges scored all the cups blindly. The highest and lowest scores were eliminated and 3 median scores were added to the roast plan and green bean analysis score.
18:00 Winner announcement
We were at Starward Distillery in south Melbourne. It was a very casual atmosphere compare to other national competition. I liked it. After a few drinks and a quick chat with people, the competitors were called in the center and the winner was about to be announced. I really wanted to be in the top 3!
3rd place is... Daniel Shadbolt from Veneziano Coffee
Runner up is... Pat Connolly from Genovese Coffee
At this point, I really thought I wouldn't make it because the winner from 2018 was still in the run.
But then, they called my name. I couldn't believe it. I can still hear the judge calling "Takumi Sakamoto from Deluca Coffee". What a feeling!
So this is what happened in the Australian Roasting Championship. I really enjoyed the whole journey and I am so grateful for all the support I received from everyone. I learned so much about myself, met passionate people from the industry. I would recommend every roasters out there to challenge themselves and give it a try.
Later on, we all had a chance to review the score sheets and the top 3 were very close. Congratulations to all the competitors! It was an honored to compete against such talented people and I am proud to be representing Australia at the World Coffee Roasting Championship in Taipei on the 15-18 of November and will do my best to bring the trophy home.