3rd Annual HB Homeroasters Competition

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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Postby another_jim » May 24, 2012, 10:54 pm

GENERAL INFORMATION: The purpose of this competition is not to find out who is the technically best roaster or cupper; but about making coffee that blows your audience away. Skill and knowledge will help; but to win, you will have to be willing to take some chances too, so that you stand out from the crowd. Dedicated amateurs in all fields can become very good at the technical, backroom aspects of their hobby; but they often fall flat when called on to step into the spotlight and perform. This competition is a chance to see how you fare in the spotlight; and to experience some of the pressures of being a professional roaster

FORMAT The format of last year's competition worked well, and we'll repeat it this year. There are four sections:
  • Espresso Open: Use the best coffee or coffees you can find.
  • Espresso Closed: a single coffee or a blend selected from the seven listed below
  • Brewed Coffee Open: Use the best coffee or coffees you can find.
  • Brewed Coffee Closed: a single coffee or blend selected from the seven listed below

COFFEES In the two closed competition sections for espresso and brewed, you CAN CHOOSE from these seven coffees supplied by Sweet Marias.

Last year, you could order a kit with all the coffees. This turned out to be a poor idea, since different people needed different quantities to accommodate their roasters, and since the list contained choices in which they had no interest. SO NO KIT THIS YEAR; order however much you need, order all the coffees, or just those that appeal. Read Tom's exemplary cupping reports. I will post my far less polished but more espresso-centric cupping and shot reports by June 8. Make your choice based on these reports and your own level of experience with the various origins

DATES Entries must be received no later than Monday, July 9. The judging will be complete and the winner's announced by Saturday July 14th.

Address for Espresso Entries, both open and blends

Address for Brewing Entries, both open and blends

  • Packaging must be ready for the freezer
  • It must be robustly labeled with your name, email or HB handle, and what it is entered for.
  • You can include notes on paper about the blend and roast, or submit these by email/pm

Required Weight
  • We need a minimum 1/4 pound of green roasted (net weight 90 to 95 grams).
  • There is no need to send more than a half pound.


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Postby another_jim » Jul 12, 2012, 5:27 pm

Closed Brewing Competition Final Standings

  1. Rama Roberts - Guatemala AH CP
    Fragrance: sweet spices, dried flowers, bakers chocolate
    Cup: honey, great acidity, cacao finish, very clean roast
  2. Mark Hansen - PNG Tairora Smallholders
    Fragrance: sweet, dark sugar, muscovado, floral
    Cup: honeyed, toasted almond, buttery, clean, nicely developed sugars
  3. Marshall Hance* - Rwanda Jomba Vunga
    Fragrance: very sweet, baking spice, baked brownies
    Cup: good flavor profile, nice acidity, baked out sweetness a bit
  4. Hank Levine Rwanda Jomba Vunga
    Fragrance: honey/floral, nice sweetness, dark choc
    Cup: sweet, tart but clean, chocolate, slight underdeveloped sugars
  5. Alastair "UltramaticOrange" -Java melange and PNG
    Fragrance: cane, honey, butter, spice bread
    Cup: nice sweetness, honeyed, fresh cream
  6. Dave Stephens - PNG Tairora Smallholders
    Fragrance: caramel, vanilla bean, roast hints
    Cup: cherry, mild fruit, baked sweetness, dark roast notes
  7. Andy Thomas - Rwanda Jamba Vunga
    Fragrance: nibs, plum/stone fruit, charcoal, dark roast
    Cup: over-developed, good fruit, but bitterness and peat in the finish
  8. Jim Schulman - 60% Rwanda/40% Java
    Fragrance: dark, heavy roast notes, molasses, ripe plum, burned sugars
    Cup: roasty, bittersweet cacao, with peaty, astringent finish
  9. Todd Werner - Rwanda Jomba Vunga
    Fragrance: turpenny, blackberry
    Cup: mildy fruited, but all sweetness baked out

*Marshall Hance roasts professionally

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Postby another_jim » Jul 12, 2012, 5:34 pm

Open brewing Competition Final Standings

  1. Marshall Hance* - Telelu Dembel
    Fragrance: peach tea, crème brulee, baking spice, jasmine, honey
    Cup: great stone fruit notes, brilliant coffee that is still well contained, brown sugar.
    Comments: very clean roast, well developed without compromising starch/sugars, profile of this particular coffee sits perfectly at this roast level
  2. Henry Chang - Ethiopia Worka Natural
    Fragrance: strawberry, very ripe fruit, sweet, some tropical notes, hints of cocoa
    Cup: strawberry, guava, contained fruit, clean finish, nice sweetness
    Comments: our preferred roast for naturals - roast development contains fruit flavors without stripping them from the profile altogether, very clean roast complimenting this particular coffee, nicely developed sugars
  3. Tom Chips "Fruit Bomb Berry"
    Fragrance: strawberry, sweet, jasmine, dark berries
    Cup: dark berries, sweet citrus, baker's chocolate, buttery finish, jammy fruits
    Comments: Nicely developed roast, just a little lighter than we prefer for naturals, but muted "wild" fruitiness without killing the nuances altogether leaving complex flavor profile
  4. Jim Schulman - 60% Rwanda COE #29/Kagimbanyi Margaritte; 40% Pre-ECX Yrgs
    Fragrance: chocolate, toasted nut, showing age
    Cup: sweet, baker's cacao notes, creamy mouth feel and finish, raisin, pectin sweetness
    Comments: the aged coffee benefited from roast level - perceived in aromatics but not so much in cup, roast was all around clean with well developed sugars
  5. Alastair "UltramaticOrange"- Yrgacheffe Chelelektu
    Fragrance: jasmine/honeysuckle, sweet, citrus, caramelized sugar
    Cup: good acidity and sweetness, lots of caramel/dark sugars
    Comments: great acidity but lacking depth of mouth feel. Sweetness is great up front but dissipates slightly in the finish - possibly over-extended drying phase during roast. clean but lacking great top notes.
  6. Mark Hansen - Burundi Prestige Cup #1
    Fragrance: baker's cocoa, cream, malt choc, a little subdued
    Cup: decent sweetness, stone fruit flavors, slightly roasty in the finish but not dramatically so. - baked sugars
    Comments: Drying out phase of roast may have been over-extended, thus baking out starch content
  7. Rama Roberts - Kenya Muranga AA Kangunu 2010
    Fragrance: cacao, cherry, honey
    Cup: bright, showing age, sweetness still there
    Comments: the roast level suited the age of this coffee - i.e. slightly more developed roast to compensate for degradation due to age, "age" characteristic nicely masked by roast level
  8. Dustin Demers - Ethiopia Worka Natural
    Fragrance: fruit, interesting sweetness, darker roast
    Cup: strawberry, sweet, dark roast notes - ashy/charcoal
    Comments: this roast was taken past the point of peak sweetness, sugars compromised, fruit too muted
  9. Dave Stephens - Bolivia Hilari Condori
    Fragrance: baker's cacao, sweet, dark roast
    Cup: sweet coffee, roast notes, fairly dark roast
    Comments: too deep into the roast, very nice background sweetness but lacking high notes up front.
  10. Todd Wermer - Kenya AB Nyeri Tegu
    Fragrance: floral, red fruits, black tea, showing age
    Cup: some sweetness, age comes through, astringency in the finish
    Comments: under-roasting means a lack of proper starch development which equals a lack of sweetness.
  11. Spencer Weber - Ethiopia Chelelektu
    Fragrance: raspberry, honey, brown sugar, jasmine,
    Cup: very bright, ok sweetness but slightly raw roast left for some underdeveloped starches.
    Comments: the coffee is great without a doubt, but this light of roast does not bring out the full potential, underdeveloped starches=lack of sweetness/definition, thin body, and grassy notes
  12. Andy Thomas - Panama Boquete Garrido Estate
    Fragrance: roasty, tobacco, turpenny
    Cup: roasty - peat and raw tobacco notes, not much else
    Comments: this dark of a roast leaves no discernible identifier of the coffee itself

* Marshall Hance roasts professionally

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Postby another_jim » Jul 14, 2012, 9:11 pm

Closed Espresso Results:

The names appear in order of finish. Preliminaries and Jim scores with letter grades, Sherman with a number. Letter grade is body first, then flavor. Flavor takes precedence in ranking winners, body breaks ties. Comments in the preliminary by Jim

Closed Preliminary

1st Aaron Miller B - A perfect balance
2/3 Dave Stephens B - A-/A good balance of fruit, spice and sweet
2/3 Andy Thomas B - A-/A, elegant dark roast with playful acidity
4th Donald Kuo B - A- elegant fruit and spice, slightly unsweet
5th Alistair Ultramticorange A - B+ candied fruit, not enough bass
6th Marshall Hance A- - B+ smooth, but subdued melon acidity, with unbalanced savoriness
7th Denis Basaric B- - B+ salted fruit, one dimensional
8th Marvin Rabinowitz B - B, little malic acidity, but flat overall
9th Hank Levine B - B- Generic dark roast, narrow flavor range
10th Patrick LaPlante B- - B- balanced but somewhat unripe and rough
11th Todd Werner A - C+ Burnt orange peels, a slight misroast
12th Spencer Weber C - D watery and carbonized taste, a roast derailed

Closed Final

1/2 Donald Kuo
Sherman 88; Honey, sandalwood, and alcohol. Creamy finish
Jim B A; Candied fruit cookies; perfect balance of sweets, fruit and spice
1/2 Andy Thomas
Sherman 88; embracing and rich; lingering finish.
Jim B+ A-; Huge taste spread from oranges to deep distillates, and sweet.
3rd Dave Stephens
Sherman 87; roasted nut background, dried orange peel on top
Jim B A-; Sweet and acidic, some caramel and savory depth
4/5 Aaron Miller
Sherman 86; ripe plums and and bitter almonds
Jim B A-; Good balance, but lacking complexity
4/5 Alistair UltramaticOrange
Sherman 86.5 bright and citrusy, astringent finish
Jim B B+; Bright and sweet, no bass

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Postby another_jim » Jul 14, 2012, 9:15 pm

Open Espresso Results

The names appear in order of finish. All scores are letter grades. Letter grade is body first, then flavor. Flavor takes precedence in ranking winners, body breaks ties. Comments in the preliminary by Jim, comments in the final by Sherman and Jim.

Open Preliminary

1/2 Denis Basaric B - A/A+ monster candied desert wine
1/2 Marshall Hance B - A/A+ big bowl of berries and spices, playful hint of tartness.
3/4 Dave Stephens A - A- heavy, highly flavored, balanced, but odd and edgy.
3/4 Todd Werner A- - A- Yrgish, very clean and heavy.
5th Mike Mivanitsky B - A- Ethiopian flavors, nice and candied, with some funk
6th Tom Chips B+ - B+/A- solid bitter sweet dark roast with some good orange
7th Spencer Weber B - B+/A- dried fruit and cloves, slightly subdued
8/9 Pat Campbell B - B+ Yrg style tea and fruit, clean, dryish
8/9 Henry Chang B - B+ Yrgish, very pure, but subdued top, and mostly green tea.
10th Alistair UltramaticOrange A+ - B- treakle body, but salty and rough flavors
11th Andy Thomas B- - B- solid bitter sweet dark roast without distinction

Open Final

1st Denis Basaric
Sherman: A- A; hazelnut crema, good acidity, complete, medium intense
Jim: A A/A-; syrupy, acidic, little off balance, but a monster.
2/3 Marshall Hance
Sherman: B+ A-; big hitter, all spice, incomplete, all strings and woodwind
Jim:B+ A; very refined, Mersault like fusion of tastes into a single whole.
2/3 Dave Stephens
Sherman A- A; complex blood orange, meat and dark chocolate, nice balance
Jim B+ B+; very structured with orange peel and salt notes, complex but angular
4th Todd Werner
Sherman A- B+ Anise and distillates under floral and strawnberry notes
Jim A- A- Nice composition of dried fruit, tea, flowers and umami
5th Mike Mivanitsky
Sherman A- B+; Intense floral nose, but salty finish and subdued acid
Jim A- B+; Flowers over dried fruit, a little flabby.

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