Brewing in the Mile-High City

I was fortunate enough to bring our Head Roaster, Camilla Yuan, with me to Denver to help out backstage. Once we arrived in Denver, we attended a special cupping hosted by our friends behind Coffee People and She’s The Roaster. The cupping took place at Commonwealth Coffee’s roastery where they provided a space for women competing in the Roasters Championship Qualifier, which would also take place that weekend. Competing roasters were all given a small amount of the same coffee to profile and bring to Denver. They have to give a brief presentation about what roasting choices they make along with flavor descriptors. Their coffees would then be cupped and judged blind. The cupping we attended was where a few competitors were making their final decisions on which profile to submit and nail down flavor descriptors. It was really great to witness competitors supporting each other in a such an open way. Camilla hopes to compete in this competition next year, so it was an excellent opportunity for her to see some of the decision-making involved.

The next morning, I got to practice brewing my coffee backstage at the competition venue and see how it tasted. We made a few small changes, but since my open service wasn’t until the following day, I didn’t change too much. I knew I would likely make more changes right before my presentation. In between practice brews, I had to complete my compulsory round, which was tough! All Brewers Cup competitors are given 38 minutes to dial the coffee in and then 7 minutes to brew three separate brews to serve. The mystery coffee did not taste good at all. You are not allowed to have a coach during this round so you have to trust your own taste buds and make quick decisions. 38 minutes goes by very quickly. I went down to the wire getting my brew right.

After the compulsory round, next was my audience service where I was able to brew my coffee for attendees to taste at a shared booth with other competitors. Although the round isn’t scored, it is mandatory. I really enjoy this part of competition because it is a time where I get to talk about my coffee in a more casual setting. It helps to boost my confidence about what I know. It also serves as some extra practice time.

Once all of the work was done, Camilla and I were able to check out other competitors and watch their routines before heading back to the hotel to do some final run-throughs. I went to bed feeling great about my presentation. I felt prepared to make final tweaks to my brew in the morning.