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On Winning the 4th HB Coffee Roasting Competition

October 23, 2013

2013 marks the third year in a row I’ve won the Home-Barista roasting competition, and as in previous years, I’m capturing the details for posterity here.

The judges from Sweet Marias described my first place entry as: “Full City, great example of a well-developed, darker roast that doesn’t compromise complexity; juicy stone fruits, developed sugar sweetness, pomegranate-like acidity.”

Other commitments kept me from experimenting much with this bean as in past years. I roasted it a couple different ways and shared my findings with the competitors, reproduced below:

Tried it two ways, identical drop temps and time from start of first crack to drop. The only difference being one was finished in 10:40, the other in 11:41. Bean surfaces look identical. Culled maybe 20 beans from each 8oz batch to discard the underdeveloped or misshapened beans.

Great creamy mouth feel in both cups, my favorite characteristic in this coffee. Brightness is restrained (for a Kenya), allowing for faster roasts and times to completion without having a total acid bomb.

Roast 1:









Roast 2:







Initially I had a hard time distinguishing between the two, but then it became more apparent Roast 1 (10:40 total time) was brighter, and roast 2 (11:41) had a bit more allspice notes. In a blind taste-off, Roast 1 was more distinguished. The extra brightness made it stand out and make Roast 2’s spice notes harder to pick off.

Typically I roast closer to Roast 2’s profile, and find it more pleasant as a morning cup. However in a competition situation, as Jim says, you need to separate yourself from the pack somehow, which Roast 1 does with its combination of brightness and mouthfeel. The shorter roast may have left some flavors undeveloped, but I didn’t really miss them (maybe the judges will). My belief is the 3 minutes post start of first is critical to ensuring you don’t end up with a “cupping roast”, even with the fast overall roast time.

I didn’t have the time to try a melange of the two and see if they compliment each other somehow, so I went with 100% Roast 1 as my entry.


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One Comment
  1. Nice job (again)! I really miss the afternoon cups and espressos at the office… good.

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